School Demonstrations

Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of assisting Tyler Severence of Recess Intl in a school demonstration. We did two different demonstrations which took place during gym class.

Our first class was with 1st graders. Tyler explained to them how to hold the yoyo without hitting their classmates, put the yoyo on your finger, and throw the yoyo correctly. Once we had handed out all of their yoyos, all of the kids were complaining that they either couldn’t put the yoyo on their finger or bring it back up. Eventually we had to take one kid’s yoyo away from because he was swinging it above his head in a way that could injure the other children. What I took away from this is that 1st grade is not a good age to introduce yoyoing to a kid unless he or she expresses interest.

The next day we had the entire 4th grade class to teach, which was around fifty kids. The majority of these kids had too much energy to have the patience to learn yoyo, and complained to me that they would not be able to play “real sports” today. We started the lesson the same way we did the day before, but when it was time to give the kids their yoyos, they all were fighting for the clear first bases. All of the kids that were begging for a certain color, I gave them a different one and gave the kids that could handle themselves best the color of their choice. Once everyone had their yoyos, they did a better job of throwing and putting the string on their fingers. Most of the kids needed some motivation, so I decided to show them some of my own tricks. I showed them fingerspins, behind the back, and speed combos, However they just thought I was a showoff. Even though most of the kids had no interest in throwing, there were a handful of kids that were having a great time, since they were following instructions so well, we taught them rock the baby, and trapeze. It was great seeing kids pick up throwing around the same age as I did.

Overall what I took away from these demonstrations, is that most kids of this age, do not have the attention span to learn at a young age, but I you have the patience, you can learn easily. Teaching kids what I love to do was an excellent experience and I look forward to teaching again this upcoming school year.


My take on this is that the groups were too large. Based on my experience with cub scouts and boy scouts a better size would be 5-10, but preferably in the lower end of the range. Larger groups are difficult to control.

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Hey thanks for posting this, super helpful to hear others experiences when exposing kids to the awesomeness that is yo-yo! :clap:

I’m with @jhb8426, this is a big group!

Based on teaching my own kids yo-yo I’d also agree that first grade is simply too young , the kids won’t have the necessary attention span… except for a rare few.

Fourth graders should do fine, my son picked up yo-yo in third grade. :smiley:

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I totally agree - the group size is the problem. Try and get 50 kids to do anything and you will have a hard time - let alone something that requires a fairly steep learning curve and some patience.

I did a demonstration for my daughter’s pre-school class once. Just me and their teacher as the adult help.

I opened the demo with a 3-minute long “routine” that was more of a audience-participation story while I tried desperately to be good at yo-yoing after starting unresponsive only a couple weeks earlier. I think it set the mood perfectly since they’re used to story time, they got to participate, and there was a free toy waiting for them at the end.

After I finally got the yo-yo back to my hand, I passed out Duncan Butterflies to each of the 12 students, and spent the next half hour winding up strings over and over again. They were really having fun even though not a single one of them could even get it to come back up half-way. The class signed a thank-you card for me that I keep posted in my office.

I don’t think any of them actually learned how to yo-yo but now there’s a yo-yo in each of their houses somewhere.

I think if I were actually trying to teach tricks I’d want a lot of helpers. Getting it to go up and down the first time ever takes some real conviction! Also, don’t overpay for Duncan Butterflies. $6 a piece adds up really fast.

If any of you get an opportunity to do this, take the chance!

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A lot of companies will also donate or discount yoyos for people doing school demonstrations. So, if you are working with older kids you can have them start with a pretty great yoyo - which is awesome.

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Wow! That’s really cool! I wish I could have something like that. But I don’t think they would do that stuff school. I’m not certain that those people who do assembly stuff DONT go to my school school but we haven’t had an assembly for like two years. Idk? Maybe it will happen ƪ(˘⌣˘)ʃ