Yoyo is a toy that has been around for many years, long before it was even named “yoyo”.
The Flores Company, owned by a Filipino named Pedro Flores, developed the modern yoyo. The company was later bought by an entrepreneur named Donald Duncan. But they are not the ones who invented it. This toy already existed in ancient times. It is considered the second oldest toy in history after the doll. While there was no recorded evidence that it existed in China, there was proof that it was in Greece since 500 BC.
The Chinese and the Greeks were believed to have invented this toy. However, it is more plausible that it was developed by both cultures unknowingly. It was called “diabolo” in China. Street entertainers mainly used them.
The yoyo travelled from the Orient to Europe and then to other parts of the world. This is how it slowly became a popular toy for all children.
Back in the days, the yoyo meant different things for different social classes. The rich thought it was a fashionable thing to own. It was made from all sorts of nice materials. As it was regarded as a fashionable toy, it was meant for noble people. In countries all over Europe, kings and queens used it to relax and to display that they had it. For the poor, the yoyo was a means for stress relief, a way to loosen up when they faced difficult times.
Were yoyos used as weapons?
While they are believed to have been originated from China, they were first mentioned in Greece. The toy was called a “disk”. They date back to 400 – 500 BC when the Greeks used them for entertainment purposes.
The disks were initially made of terra cotta, a kind of clay. As the clay was rather fragile, they were offered to gods when the child turned of age. If a child wanted to play with them, the mother had to buy one every day. It seemed impractical so people starting looking for other materials to use like wood and metal. The terra cotta version remained but only as offering to the gods as a rite of passage.
Some accounts in the early 16th century Philippines noted that hunters used this as a weapon. A rock and a 20 feet long cord would be thrown at their prey as the hunters hid up in the tree. This gave rise to the idea of the true purpose of the yoyo. However, there was no real basis for it.
But it can be true that from ancient China, it travelled to Greece and the Philippines, where people used it as a means of entertainment. Playing with the yoyo is called yoyoing. Though this toy was mainly developed for entertainment, it has other benefits. It helps develop a better eye and hand coordination. Good for socializing, you can participate in competitions and meet other yoyo enthusiasts. Playing the yoyo challenges you to improve your skills.
What are yoyos good for?
There are many reasons people choose to purchase a yoyo these days. Some of them are childish while some of them are quite serious. The truth is, it has been used as a stress reliever toy since early times. It was not only meant for children but also for people that were stressed, or gearing up for battle. Napoleon and his army were said to have been relaxing with the yo-yo before the Battle of Waterloo started.
Playing with a yoyo will give you and your children these benefits:
– It can boost confidence in learning new things.
– It can help children socialize.
– It helps build hand-eye coordination.
– It keeps kids away from the TV and outdoors more.
– It enhances you and your child’s need for perfection.
Best yoyo brand
According to Ranker, the best yoyo brand right now is the Yoyo Factory. A rather young company founded in 2004, it aims to improve the playing experience with its functional technology through thorough research. The result is a durable and reliable toy for every user.
Best yoyo string
While the main body of the yoyo has been made out of different materials, the string, since the first yoyo factory appeared, has been made of pure Egyptian cotton.
Some use synthetic strings, but they tend to be a bit harder to use and more difficult to perform.
Choosing a yoyo as a beginner
As a beginner, what does a yo-yo feels like in your hand? Choosing plastic or a wooden one makes no difference as you haven’t tried any of them yet. You will get acquainted with whatever you choose.
You most likely wouldn’t want to spend too much on a yoyo if you are still a beginner. A plastic one will suffice as it is handier.
Another difference between the yo-yos is their responsiveness. Some are more responsive—it comes back to your hand on its own, while others are unresponsive—you’d need more tricks to make it come back to your hand. It is best to choose a responsive yo-yo for beginners. You won’t need to learn tricks yet on getting back the string but just focus mainly on the basics.
5 Best yoyos for beginners
- Fizz Yoyo
What makes this the ideal yo-yo for the beginners? It has a F.A.S.T. (Fully Active Starburst Technology) response system. This technology enables the yo-yo to be durable, needing no replacements nor requiring maintenance. You only need to change the string occasionally.
One great thing about this yoyo is the design. It is slim, perfect for kids and beginners. Performing basic yoyo tricks come easy with this yo-yo.
- Sage Yoyo
The Sage Yoyo is another great yoyo for beginners. It is inexpensive and durable. This yoyo plays great and easy to use without modifications. However, it can also be modified to perform difficult tricks.
It comes with a thin bearing for responsive plays. It can sleep for 30 to 45 seconds with a good throw. Though this yoyo was conceived after its predecessor, the Luminator, it was made better because it was patterned after the Protostar—considered one of the best yoyos ever made.
- YYF Replay – Responsive
This yoyo had a good reception when it first came out of the market. It has maintained its status as one of the most responsive yoyos there is. The specs are suitable for beginners but the total look and package is that of a professional. It is one of the top-performing plastic yo-yos out there.
It promises long spin times, which will make beginners enjoy their time to practise some techniques. It does not require much maintenance.
- First Base Yoyo
This is another great yoyo choice for beginners. The first thing you will notice is the shape—it’s perfectly round, giving a very comfortable feeling when you hold it in your hand. While it’s not the lightest, it is just perfect for one to learn new tricks.
It comes with a slim bearing to help the beginners have confidence in their tricks. It also promises to give you a long sleep time. It also comes with an unresponsive bearing, which makes it great for advanced users as well.
- Yomega Brain XP Transaxle Yoyo
This yoyo boasts of being a great choice for young children. It gives them the chance to learn tricks without getting too frustrated if they don’t turn out the way they expected it to. It comes with a manual and auto return clip that allows one to test the trick he learned.
It’s transparent plastic design allows one to see the inside and makes it very appealing to children. They are very light and very small, perfect for children to hold them easily with one hand.
5 World’s best yoyos
- Yoyo King Green Merlin Professional Responsive Yoyo
This is a great yoyo as it is rather light and small-sized. It offers you the possibility to easily perform various tricks like Trapeze, Split the Atom, Braintwister, or the Double or Nothing. Its silicone response system and the narrow C sized bearing helps you get the responsiveness you need for your tricks.
- Yoyo King Merlin Pro Yoyo with Ball Bearing Axle
Same weight as the above one, it is also light and easy to handle. Made of durable plastic, it comes with a silicone response system and a ball bearing axle for super long spin times. It also has the narrow string size C bearing to be able to offer you the experience of the nonresponsive yoyoing.
- Yomega Spectrum – Light up Fireball Transaxle YoYo
This is a great choice for intermediate and advanced play. Made from durable polycarbonate, this yoyo is light. It can do long smooth spins due to its transaxle, plastic sleeve placed over the axle. However, the transaxle yoyos will not return automatically. They rely on the experience of yoyoing of the player to make it return by moving the wrist. It comes with LED lights that help you play any time of day and night. It activates the lights when you move your wrist.
- MAGICYOYO K1 Responsive Yoyo
While it is heavier than before, it is a perfect toy for kid and families. It comes with the free glove and 5 different strings which makes it worth buying.
It is an all-plastic yoyo and plays rather fast. However, it is an unresponsive yoyo. You will have to bind to wake it up. It is a great yoyo to develop your motor skills.
- The Sidekick Pro Unresponsive
Another great unresponsive yoyo is the Sidekick Pro Yoyo. Made of aluminium alloy body, it uses a C track ball bearing. It is for sure recommended for the most advanced players, as it requires practice and knowledge beforehand to be able to use it. Perfect for learning new tricks all the time due to the wide ball-bearing axle.
Even if it’s pricier compared to the other brands, this toy will remain in the long run.
What is the most expensive yoyo in the world?
Anglam TiSS Black
Though Duncan has its most expensive yo-yo from the collection, the newest and currently most expensive is the black Anglam TiSS. This bi-metal yoyo was released in 2015 during the World Yoyo Contest.
It is manufactured by sOMEThING by YoYoAddict. It is made of titanium with stainless steel weight rings. This black version is polished by the professionals for a smooth and luxurious finish. It costs $900.
Basic yoyo tricks
There will be no problem making some yoyo tricks like basic throw, sleeper, winding the string or even walking the dog.
- Basic throw
This may not seem as easy as it sounds. The first thing to learn to be able to make a basic throw is to know how to hold the yoyo correctly. If the palm is up, the correct position of the string should be going over the yoyo. The string should come over the top of the yoyo.
When learning yoyo playing, you should adjust the string to your height. If you won’t, you will have problems like the yoyo may hitting the ground. You will have to keep raising your hand higher and higher every time.
When the string is adjusted, you throw it out and turn the hand over to catch it as it comes up.
- Wind the string
Winding the string like a pro means knowing some three more principles to tackle with—the spin, slack and straight. This trick is important for all the rest of the tricks one can do with a yo-yo because it helps the string wind after it was let loose.
If the yoyo does not spin, it will not wind up. The string should have a slack bigger than the distance between your hand and the yoyo. You have to keep the yoyo’s staring straight in perfect alignment with the yoyo.
If you have the throw in place, then you are ready for the next trick—making the yoyo sleep. The sleeper position is when the yoyo just spins at the bottom.
When trying to make it sleep, the harder you throw the yo-yo, the bigger the tendency for it to bounce back. It ends up getting loose in the string again. The only thing it will do is come back up. Making the sleeping position means you have to control the yoyo’s movements with your hand. You have to do an up and down motion with the hand when throwing it.
- Walk the Dog
Though it seems quite easy, you still need the steps above to be able to do this trick.
When leaving the string off from the yoyo, it is important to swing it a little bit to make sure it will have some direction to walk in and spin. The yoyo must be in front of you, leading you as this is the right move. Other variations of this are walking the cat—it walks in the opposite direction, the creeper—you will kneel at the level of the yoyo and it will come straight back to you, and the walk the dog around the park, where you begin like walk the dog and continue with the yoyo moving around you.
Intermediate yoyo tricks
- Thread the needle
You have to throw a sleeper then place the finger of the free hand under the string and lift it. Then slide the string through the channel from the behind to the front. Holding the free hand’s forefinger between the strings, move it outward and upward. You pull the yoyo hand backwards to make the yoyo walk until it reaches the forefinger of your free hand, then let the yoyo wind back up.
- Hop the Fence
This is a rather simple trick but you still need to have some knowledge of yoyoing.
You have to throw down the yoyo. As it returns, let it “hop” over your hand. Then send it back to the floor and “hop” again.
- Loop the Loop
Though it seems easy, it really isn’t. You need to have good wrist coordination.
The first pass is forward. As it comes back to you, do not catch it. Let it pass over your hand on the inside arm. Make a circular wrist motion and then send it out again. Repeat this. You may not get it the first few times, but practice makes gold.
Advanced yoyo tricks
- Through the Tunnel
This allows you to send the yoyo through the tunnel instead of the one known as “walking the dog”.
You should throw the yoyo down and swing it back. It should come in front of you. When it gets in front of you, swing it through your legs and let it slowly land on the floor. Walk it along the floor and in the end, bring it back to your hand.
- Shoot the Moon
As this is a rather difficult yoyo trick, it should be done with a yoyo you have complete control over.
You first have to throw the yoyo up like in a forward pass. As it returns, send the yoyo straight up by doing a semicircular motion. This will bring it rather close to your face, so be careful. When it comes down, you have to move your wrist to send it out in front of you.
It is best performed when wearing loose pants. It starts by throwing a sleeper with a sideways gesture. You do not have to pick the y-yo up, but let it spin on the side.
If you move the leg and the string touches your pants, it should make a “rattling” sound.
In the past, things were simpler as you did not have that many options to choose from. Various options are available now as many yoyo manufacturers try their best to come up with a new and improved yoyos for all playing levels.
Yoyos are a great way to develop your skills and to spend your free time in a more useful manner. If you and your kid think of trying it, do not think twice. While there are many games out there, this is one worth playing and investing your time in.