You put a nail into a piece of wood to make a top. A round piece of wood. You need it to be a little circle. And then use a piece of thread to kind of… circle… around the wood. Then you twist, and twist and then do this throwing thing [mimes a light toss] so it would unspin and shoot off so it would spin away. I didn’t get to make tops though, boys did that kind of thing.
The informant watched the boys in her poor neighborhood in Taiwan make these tops and play with them. The older boys would teach the younger ones to keep the activity going. The girls would watch or play other games instead.
This story was shared when the informant was asked what they used to do as children by the informant’s grandchildren looking for something to do or play.
This toy reminded me of Beyblades, small, customizable plastic tops that you could attach to a little launcher which, when pulled, would set the top spinning extremely quickly into a “stadium”. I have seen a number of young boys do battle to see who’s tops would keep spinning the longest. The informant’s description of how boys in her childhood town would use string to create the same effect amazes me as it is a much cheaper method!
Chinese Children’s-Made Tops