We went to a local manufacturing museum recently. The boys loved it. One of the hands-on exhibits had them pulling weights attached to a pulley to simulate horsepower. They roamed the museum but kept coming back to pull those ropes.
That moment precipitated this one.
We made our own pulley with supplies we had at home.
empty ribbon spool
empty, clean small plastic bowl (e.g. empty fruit cup, etc.)
pencil or small wooden dowel rod
small objects to put in the bowl
Punch three holes around the edge of the bowl, making an invisible triangle between them.
Tie short lengths of yarn onto each hole. Gather them about 4 inches above the bowl and tie together. Make sure the bowl is level. Snip the excess yarn.
Tie a long length of yarn onto the knot binding the three yarn lengths. Wind the yarn around the empty ribbon spool.
Add something to the bucket (e.g. LEGOs, erasers, etc.).
Thread the pencil through the spool hole and place between two stair spindles.
Use tape to secure the ends of the pencil, if desired. (This was especially helpful for my 5-year-old.)
Regulate the speed with which you lower the bowl by holding the end of the yarn and slowly releasing it, making the spool spin.
Listen to your kids exclaim how cool this is!
This idea came from Kids Activities Blog.