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Leaping Dolphins

A perfect project for lovers of these nautical mammals

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Step-by-step planning and concentration turn an ordinary tissue box and an old CD into a toy that spins into action. Future engineers, step right up!
A perfect project for lovers of these nautical mammals
What You’ll Need
  • empty tissue box
  • cardstock
  • glue
  • old CD
  • sheet of paper
  • 4-foot cord 
  • 2 plastic water-bottle caps
  • tape
What to Do
  1. Decorate an empty tissue box with cardstock.
  2. Cut dolphins from cardstock. Glue the dolphins to an old CD.
  3. For the axle, fold a sheet of paper in half lengthwise and roll it up. Slide it through the hole in the CD. Let the paper unroll until the CD no longer spins freely. Secure the roll with tape.
  4. Tie a 4-foot piece of cord onto the axle, behind the CD. Wind the cord around the axle.
  5. Cover the ends of the axle with plastic water-bottle caps. Place the axle, as shown, with the CD in the box opening. Cover the caps with a strip of cardstock. Tape the cardstock to the box, as shown.
  6. To make the dolphins leap, gently pull on the cord.
Extend the Fun

For younger kids: Glue wavy strips of paper to the CD for a wiggly pinwheel effect when the CD spins. Cut out numbers or the letters of the alphabet from a newspaper and glue them on the CD (or write on the CD with a permanent marker); recite them out loud as they flash by in order. (Littlest folks can use their hand to spin the CD if the cord is too complicated.)

For older kids: Foxes, sheep, and tigers leap, too. Decorate the tissue box accordingly, with woods, a meadow, or a jungle scene. Or glue family photos on the CD so it looks as if people are jumping into a swimming pool. Glue wallet-size school photos of yourself in order of age and watch yourself grow up as you gently pull the cord.