Spinning tops have been played with by kids of all ages for centuries. The earliest tops were dreidels spun by Jews while in Greek captivity, around 165 B.C. Spinning tops regained popularity in early America, and were one of the first toy patents granted in the country. Spinning top games can be exciting, and may just make kids interested in their spinning tops again.
"How long?" is a game that you can play by yourself or with a group. When you play by yourself, make sure that you have a stopwatch handy. Clear a flat place where your top can spin freely, and then use your thumb and forefinger to start a spin. Once the spin has started, quickly start your stopwatch and time the length of your spin. When the top falls over, stop the stopwatch and note on a piece of paper how long it was before the top fell over. Try it again, looking to beat your previous time. If you are playing with a friend, you simply need to start spinning at the same time, and whoever has the longest spin wins the round.
A "top duel" is played when two tops are placed in an arena while spinning, and the first top to be knocked out of the arena is the loser. You can make your own top arena by taping off a small circle with masking tape. You can make the circle as large or as small as you want, but a smaller one will be more challenging. On the count of three, each player releases his top, spinning into the arena. Watch the boundary lines carefully, as the first top to spin outside of the lines is the loser. This is a good game to play with a larger group of people, as the winner can go on to challenge another to be the ultimate champion.
If you want to learn how to use your spinning top in different ways, learn some interesting tricks with it. You can release it by winding a string around the pin at the bottom and pulling the string taut to release it in a spinning motion. You could also learn how to flip your spinning top, especially those that have pins on both the bottom and the top. Take some time with your friends to see who can make up the most difficult or inventive tricks.