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The concept is simple – a disc with a slit cut into the edges with a string wrapped around it. What could be easier? But while the idea is rather basic, learning to master playing with a yo-yo can be quite the adventure. It’s so very easy to get all tied up in knots!

Far more than just twirling it up and down, a wide array of tricks can be learned and performed with a yo-yo. National Yo-Yo Day is here to show appreciation for this incredible toy and those who are new to it, those who have been learning it for years, and those who have mastered it!

History of National Yo-Yo Day

Historians believe that yo-yos have been around for at least 2,000 years and were known under different names, such as “quizzes “or “bandalores”. It is believed that the origin of the yo-yo got its start from the Philippines and the earliest entry of the word appears in a Filipino dictionary in the early 1860s.

In the 1920s, Pedro Flores (a man with Filipino roots) began constructing yo-yos in the United States. Flores was stunned and delighted with how American youngsters and adolescents took to the toy, so he started mass producing the product. Today, yo-yos are firmly embedded into toy culture across the globe!

National Yo-Yo Day is celebrated annually in June, and it is no coincidence that this corresponds with the birthday of famous entrepreneur Donald Duncan Sr, who got into the yo-yo business in the 1930s and founded the Duncan Toy Company.

The first National Yo-Yo Day was founded in 1990 in Arcade, New York, by an avid yo-yo-er named Daniel Volk. Volk had been an employee for Duncan Toy Company in the 1970s, working as a demonstrator of yo-yos.

How to Celebrate National Yo-Yo Day

Show some appreciation for this classic and simple toy by sharing in the fun of celebrating National Yo-Yo Day! Come up with some interesting plans of your own for the day, or participate with some of these ideas to play off of:

Throw a Yo-Yo Themed Party

Celebrating National Yo-Yo Day may involve throwing a Yo-Yo based party, whereby all those attending must bring a completely unique yo-yo. Decorate using yo-yo themed decor, cutting out colored circles, attaching them with string and hanging them about the room. And, of course, cookies, cupcakes and other snacks can certainly be creatively made into yo-yo themes!

During the party, it might be fun to have a competition, a sort of a Yo-Yo Olympics, where designated events have specific yo-yo based prizes.

Learn Some New Yo-Yo Tricks

One of the best ways to celebrate National Yo-Yo Day might be to pick up that old yo-yo and learn some new tricks. While a book from the library used to be the way to learn, today’s access to YouTube, TikTok and other video sources on the internet mean that it’s even easier to watch someone else teaching tricks with a video tutorial.

Have tons of fun learning a new trick or two from a tutorial. Or, even better, grab one of your kids and teach them how to do some different activities and tricks using a yo-yo. Try Walk the Dog, Split the Atom, Barrel Rolls, Halley’s Comet and so many others!

Attend a National Yo-Yo Competition

Those who are serious fans of the yo-yo might want to consider making plans to gather with a bunch of other talented yo-yo artists at the National Yo-Yo Contest. This annual competition of the National Yo-Yo League (NYYL) is typically held toward the end of June or in early July, so there’s still time to plan.

The location for this event changes, but sometimes it is held in Chico, California, which is convenient because that’s also where the National Yo-Yo Museum happens to be located. Another fun activity to attend in celebration of National Yo-Yo Day! 

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