Cool Stuff

You don't need glue, string, or even tape to make or play any of the stuff on this page. That's partly why they're so cool - you can do them almost anywhere.

Straw Flute

It's more like a straw honker, actually. You need a plastic straw and scissors.

1. Flatten one end of the straw. It won't stay flat, but it will be easier to cut.

2. Snip off a triangle of plastic from both sides.

3. Put the snipped-off end between your lips and blow!

When you cut the straw, you made two small pieces of plastic that vibrate (wiggle back and forth) when air blows past them. The vibrations make the noise. What happens if you make the straw shorter? Try it!

Dollar-bill Ring

The newer the bill, the better. A sharp straightedge, such as a metal ruler, will help you make the initial folds.

1. Place a $1 bill in front of you so that George Washington is standing on his head. Fold UP the bottom edge of the bill. The fold should be just as high as the white border on the back of the bill.

2. Fold UP the bottom edge again. This fold should start just below the numeral 1 (with ONE written across it) on the upper back of the bill. Make all the folds sharp: Run your fingernail along them a few times.

3. Now fold the rest of the bill any way you like so that it fits behind the numeral 1s and makes a wide narrow strip as shown. Be sure the numeral 1s are still facing you when you've completed this step.

4. Rotate the strip 90 degrees, so the left-hand 1 is now at the top. Fold the strip into an L as shown. Make the angled fold just after the F in "OF AMERICA."

5. Curve up the leg of the L so that line AB touches line CD, just below the E in ONE.

6. Wrap the leg of the L behind and through the loop you created. It will pass through the loop 1-1/2 times.

7. Secure the ring by tucking the white-border edge of the 1 under the looped paper.

8. Fold down the top and bottom edges of the band to finish the ring.

Flying Cylinder

It's easy to make, but it takes some practice to fly. You need an 8-1/2-by-11-inch sheet of paper and a stapler.

1. Fold the paper as shown.

2. Fold up the bottom edge about half an inch. Fold it up again. Fold it again.

3. Bend the paper around, with the folds inside, to make a cylinder. Overlap one fold inside the other by four inches or so. The cylinder should be about three inches in diameter. Put one staple in the fold where the cylinder wall is shortest.

4. Throw it with the folded part facing forward and the longest part on the bottom. Try holding the back of it between your index and middle finger and flicking it forward. Or flip it straight up in the air and let it float down.

How does it fly? The folds create an airfoil, like that of an airplane's wing. Air moving over the folds creates lift.

Penny Hockey

You need a friend, three pennies, and a table.

1. Player No. 1 arranges three pennies in a triangle a designated distance from the edge of the table. The pennies should touch one another.

2. Player No. 1 flicks penny A with his finger. All three pennies will slide forward. Player No. 1 can advance only by flicking one penny so that it passes between the other two pennies. (The pennies are never airborne. They must slide along the tabletop.)

3. Meanwhile, Player No. 2 has formed a "goal" at the other end of the table by putting his index and pinky fingers on the table while folding down his middle and ring fingers. He cannot move the goal.

4. When Player No. 1 cannot advance the penny "puck" any farther, or makes a goal, or shoots the penny off the table, it's the second player's turn. Player No. 2 then arranges the three pennies in a triangle at his end of the table. Player No. 1 forms a goal with his fingers, and play begins again.

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