Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Kid Crafts: Make a Tumblewing Glider

Tumblewing GlidersThis craft isn't really so much of a craft as a science project. Don't let that scare you though, it's a fun thing to do and is a great activity for older children in the pre-teen and teen years.

A tumblewing is a light-weight glider made from phone book paper that, through the miracle of aerodynamics, stays in the air by the power of the air currents flowing over it. As the name would suggest it tumbles over and over through the air much like a wheel.

This site has great video instructions on how to make the tumblewings, with extra videos for help fine-tuning your launching and gliding techniques. I was able to get mine to fly fairly quickly but the boys took a bit longer. Here's what you need:

phone book paper
ball-point pen
large piece of cardboard
tumblewing PDF pattern

As for pointers, here are a few things we've learned (and you can see our flight here):

1. Fly it indoors, in a place with few air currents. A large gym worked well for us.

2. Use a big piece of cardboard--bigger is typically better--and hold it at the top, thumbs on the backside, knuckles up high. When you glide it well it feels as if you're almost pushing it forward with the back of your hand and your knuckles.

3. The launch is important so check out their tips on properly launching. It's not hard, just important.

4. The middle-sized tumblewing seemed to work best for us.

5. Make sure your side flaps are at 90 degree angles--otherwise they'll bank left or right.

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Roo said...

Now I know what to do with the phone books I get and don't want! ;) This looks fun. Might have to try it with the nephew.

Suzie B. said...

It looks like magic!

Library Information said...

it looks good :) :)

Kristina said...

okay, this is mega cool.