History at Home

While everyone is safe at home, Historical Commission member Hillary Fotino has put together some fun history activities to do at home. We'll be adding more, but are starting with some papercraft projects. See one of the projects below, and visit pages or download a PDF for all of the fun.  

Coloring and Crafts

Some of the crafts contained within include scissors or glue, so be sure to ask an adult for help.

Whirl-i-gig (Buzzsaw)

This toy was popular with kids in Colonial times and even later. Originally, this toy would have been made from small pieces of wood and might even have been shaped like a circular saw with teeth and everything. To play with it, you hold the two ends of the loop of string and spin the disc. Then you pull tight. This makes the disc spin and if you get it going fast enough, it makes a buzzing noise.

What you're going to need
  • A thick piece of cardboard 
  • 24 inches of String or yarn 
  • Scissors
  • Some round to trace
  • Supplies to decorate with
  • Something to punch holes in the cardboard

First, trace a circle onto your cardboard.

Next, cut out the circle.

Whirlygig - traced onto cardboard
Cut out whirlygig pieces

Mark two spots an even distance apart from the center of the circle. They should be closer to the center than to the outer edge, but it doesn’t have to be precise. Punch your holes in those spots. It should look like a big button.

Before you add the string, go ahead and decorate it. Don’t glue anything to it though, since we don’t want to change the balance of the circle.

Once that’s done, you can thread the yarn or string through the holes in your circle. Tie the ends together to make a continuous loop and then slide it so you have equal amounts on each side of the circle. Hold the two ends of the string and spin until the string is wound up. Hold the two ends and let it unspin. Iit will begin to vibrate and make noise. 

ready to decorate
Finished whirlygig
More activities to come, and check out the other options for papercrafts, recipes and more above in the PDF download links.