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Our family recently visited a farm where my the kids watched how sheep’s wool is turned into yarn on a spinning wheel. They were so fascinated by the process I decided to make them their own drop spindle.

A drop spindle is a handheld spinner that’s simply made of a weight (the whorl) on stick with a little hook.

You can make a top or bottom whorl, but we made a bottom one since that seemed to be the easier process for little hands to handle. You can buy drop spindles online, but I wanted to make a “mini” one that would be easy for young children to hold. Plus they’re super easy to make and require just a few items.

Mini Drop Spindle – Materials:

– 6″ dowel stick (1/4″ diameter)

– 1.5″ wooden discs (at least 4, found in many craft stores)

– wood or craft glue

– small cup hook

– wool roving (found in most yarn stores or online)

– drill with 1/4″ bit


Step 1. Drill a hole in the center of each wooden disc. Add a dab of glue on the inside of one and and insert the dowel stick a little over a quarter way up from the bottom of the stick. Glue on the 3 remaining discs to each other.

Step 2. Attach your cup hook over the top of the stick. You’re done!

To spin yarn, take a bit of the roving, fluff it up with your fingers, and hook it onto the cup hook. Now ask your child to spin (in the same direction) and pull along the roving at the same time. This takes lots of practice and isn’t easy to get the hang of right away. A good tip is to help them out by one person doing the spinning and the other pulling to give a sense of how much to pull.

Another tip is to give them just a little bit of roving to start. As the spindle is spinning, it’s turning that roving into threads of yarn which you can wrap around the stick and continue to spindle. Here is my 3 year old son spinning for example.

You can combine the roving to make your own colorful blend of yarn.

This is a fun little activity that helps young children practice their fine motor skills. It’s fun to see the yarn forming and watch them spin spin spin. It’s easy to make and affordable too (total cost was just a few dollars). It would make a wonderful handmade gift for kids!

What are some of your favorite gifts to make for kids? Take a look at more creative DIY gifts here.