teaching yoyo to kids/ group workshops?


Hi guys, I’m looking for some advice from anyone that’s done kids parties or has run yoyo workshops at all.

basically I’m going to spend January-May travelling around india as part of Performers Without Borders  (http://performerswithoutborders.org.uk/) working with local organisations teaching various circus skills to kids from areas of poverty. we will teach workshops as well as putting on shows and help the kids to put together their own performances.

Ive never taught to a group before, what kind of workshop plans have you found worked? what have you found that really doesnt work?

age range will probably be about 5-15,

not sure what kind of yoyos to take either (theyve said i can put together an order of a couple of dozen), def. want tug response but I want the option of teaching slightly more complex string tricks too, any suggestiions?

also to raise money for this Ive got a new Tshirt design out, see my post in the BST for more info:




If you want to go all one brand:
YoYoFactory offers the Loop 808 and ONE for decent prices. But, I’ve found the ONE can get pretty unresponsive even with the slim bearing. Another option might be to swap out the ONE for the YYJ Classic as it has better weight and even with a clean slim bearing, it still stays tug responsive.

I am pleasantly pleased with the performance of the Loop808 but it is a bit light. I bought a pair at Nationals for $10 each($20 total). I bought a pair for my kid as well. I do like the Unleashed more though. But, the Loop808 is “assemble, tighten down, done”, so no “adjustable gap”, which for you makes it more ideal.

Now we gotta think transport. YYF boxes are bulkier due to the vertical aspect. YYJ boxes are better for cramming more in less space. Of course, no boxes can be arranged!

Other good items might be the Duncan ProZ, but it has “lots of parts”. But with one standardized yoyo, you can go from looping to string tricks, and replace the stickers in the mod spacers with Duncan silicone stickers and you’re set. These can be had for under $10. I have 5. 2 set as loopers, 2 as responsive string tricks, and one I popped a CenterTrac in and it plays really nice and is very unresponsive. Heck, if it was a bit heavier, it would be ideal for 5A too.

Another low cost option is the Duncan Butteryfly XT. I warn you, DO NOT clean that grease packed bearing or it will go dead unresponsive. It lacks the weight to be anything but a beginner throw. I packed some o-rings in there to bring it over 62 grams, and believe it or not it’s fairly smooth, but still too light. Stock, it’s fine. YYE is selling these for a fair price at I think under $7.

I was teaching a kid at Nationals. I let him use an Unleashed because those were the only responsive throws I had on me. For starters, it works great. Once you get past the sleeper, gravity pull, walk the dog, rock the baby and some picture tricks, unless you want to stick with looping, you gotta move to a string trick yoyo.

I also know a source of good, low-cost bearings designed for yoyos. They are C-sized. If you go with Classics, this would be the bearing to stock up on because you can get 5 for under $20.

You never know, some of these kids might take to this fast.

Any thoughts towards juggling? You can get sets for under $8 for doing 3 ball cascades. Diabolo might be too cost prohibitive as they just plain cost more. Spin tops are load of fun too but I’m not sure if they are good for “circus trick” work, but they are a serious skill toy. You can always bring stuff for showing and minimal teaching to reduce costs. An ideal one would be diabolo, maybe have just one kid learning that since it’s not economically feasible(or space-wise feasible) to carry a load of those around. You may also want to carry some 4A throws just for the option.

I would also present a business plan and submit it to companies. You may be able to get a sponsorship, endorsement or special direct pricing on product. I do strongly recommend standardizing as much as possible, thinking maintenance and minimizing parts. Tons of strings are a must. I’m also sure you’re planning to leave gear as you go, correct?

Be warned, I’ve heard import duties to India can be abusive. I was on a tour and we were going to go do India, and when they tried to slap those fees on us(60% of the cost of the gear, which at over $10Million in hardware since we were carrying everything), we simply said “**** it” and cancelled those dates on the spot and took the next flight home for 2 weeks of rest.


For tricks, start with the real basics:

How to string
How to wind
How to hold
How to throw

You could probably get quite a bit done and have a great session with just a few basics (eg. a Sleeper contest).

Basic tricks:
Rock the Baby
Walk the Dog
Around the World (be careful they don’t smack each other)

If anyone is still keen and you still have time - then yo could start on something such as Braintwister, Breakaway and Trapeze.


studio42: coool stuff thanks for the run down, YYJ classsic definitely looks like the best option for this, 0 rings are minimal maintanance, no spacers to loose etc
thanks for the heads up about import duties, it shouldnt be a problem as these guys have been before/have proof of being a registered charity .

and yeah we will be teaching juggling, poi, staff, hoop, diabolo, unicycle, acrobalance and whatever else we can think of too haha, some of the kids are apparently pretty good at fire already (scary!)

frodoslair:yes, good call on keeping simple to start with, sleeper contest is deffo something that could get them engaged right from the start, around the world contest as a stepup from that (how many black eyes heheh)


Teach devil sticks! Those are loads of fun and super easy to learn basic tricks on.

(⛷ Noisy Lurker) #6

I’m going outside of the box on this one. I’m not going to recommend anything new or flash just a great solid, all ability yoyo with no parts to lose. YYF Spinstar is awesome for teaching various levels. Five year olds are kindergarten or first grade, the Spinstar bearing is attatched to the axle so if these little ones take the yo apart you wont be searching for the bearing. The Spinstar also has an adjustable gap that works well for groups with a variety of abilities. The Spinstar can take a lot of abuse. I’ll add more to this later, gotta get to work!