Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Fun, stimulates creativity and develops motor skills. The yo-yo is that kind of toy and for centuries has entertained children all over the world, from Greece to China, from Brazil to the Philippines. Over the years the yo-yo has changed and evolved. And if you are looking for a model, the Wellness Guide is here to help you in your search.


  • The yo-yo is one of the oldest toys on the planet, with records of its existence going back 2,500 years.
  • They can be made of various materials such as wood, plastic and steel.
  • There are traditional, automatic models and others focused on those who practice more advanced maneuvers.

The best Yo-Yo: Our Picks

Buying Guide

In the next few paragraphs we will take you on a journey of knowledge about the yo-yo, a toy that has several origins, a working system based on the laws of physics, and is made of several different materials. Come and find out more about this toy.

 Um homem faz manobras com um ioiô vermelho do lado de fora de uma casa de tijolos à vista.

The yo-yo that we know today was made in the Philippines. (Source: Disclosure / Yomega / Amazon)

What is the origin of the yo-yo?

It is not known exactly who invented the yo-yo first, but the toy was found in various corners of the planet for over two centuries. Types of rustic clay and metal yo-yo were recorded in Greek ruins of approximately 2,500 years. In China, similar toys were in use even before this period.
The yo-yo became successful in Europe at the end of the 17th century

At the end of the Middle Ages, in the last years of the 17th century, the yo-yo started to be successful in Europe, especially in England and France. According to historical accounts, the toy was used by the nobility to relax, leaving the day to day tasks a little aside.

Reports say that Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops used to have fun with yo-yos before going into battle. The modern yo-yo originated in the Philippines, where it is still a very popular toy. This model was brought to the United States by Filipino Pedro Flores in 1928, already with the name yo-yo, which in the native language was translated as “come, come”. Already the following year, with the popularization of the toy on U.S. soil, Flores sold his factory to the yo-yo entrepreneur Donald F. Duncan Sr., who started making the toy on a large scale, spreading worldwide.

The yo-yo factory of entrepreneur Donald F. Duncan Sr., called Duncan Company, sold 45 million copies of the toy in the U.S. in 1962. The curious thing is that in that year, the population of children in the country was only 40 million

How does the yo-yo work?

Gravity is an essential part of how the yo-yo works. It is its force that makes the toy go up and down. Another phenomenon that explains the use, especially for different manoeuvres with the yo-yo, is the law or principle of conservation of energy. It states that the total energy of in an isolated system always remains constant. Let us explain it better, rest assured. When the yo-yo is in your hand, it has a certain amount of potential energy, but on the way down, when it is released, the force of gravity pulls the toy down.

During the descent, the energy, previously potential, is converted to kinetic energy. With the yo-yo reaching the end of the string, it suffers a force upward and remains spinning at the same point for a few seconds, having at that moment only rotational kinetic energy and, due to inertia, tends to remain spinning until it is pulled back. When it is pulled and the toy goes up the string, it starts to contain kinetic energy of translation, which decreases until it returns to potential energy of translation until it finally reaches the owner’s hands.

How to play with the yo-yo?

There are some basic steps to learn to handle a yo-yo correctly. The first is to pass the middle finger inside the toy’s string. Leave it in the middle of the finger, between the first and second joint. To start the game, put the palm of your hand facing up, place the yo-yo in it and hold it. Stretch your arm down and release the yo-yo by opening your fingers. As you release the toy downward, rotate your palm to the ground to pull the yo-yo back into your palm. You can also choose to do the movement with the palm facing down, which is simpler, but results in less speed. When the yo-yo string is fully extended, give a strong pull to bring it back to your hand.

One of the most well-known – and basic – yo-yo tricks is the sleeper trick. To perform it, hold the toy with the palm of your hand upwards, as we have just taught you. Bring your hand to shoulder height and bend your arm. Throw it downwards, slowly turning the palm of your hand downwards, letting the yo-yo stand still for a while. After that make a slight movement with your finger up, holding the yo-yo. The intention is to keep the toy spinning at the end of the string as long as possible. Focus on strength and speed, but try to keep your hand and wrist stable. And when you want to bring the yo-yo back up, simply rotate your palm downwards and give it a tug upwards.

What material is the yo-yo made of?

In over two thousand years of history, the yo-yo has changed a lot. Among the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of yo-yo options on the market, there are four main types, which we will detail in the table below. In terms of materials used, the yo-yos have models made of wood, plastic, metal, steel, aluminum and polycarbonate. Some also more technological features, such as lights, sounds, even cords that retract automatically.

Model Features
Imperial Yo-yo Circular classic format, good for spinning maneuvers, in which the yo-yo returns to his hand as he performs turns and circles with the cord
Butterfly Yo-yo Larger on the outside, smaller on the inside. Recommended for maneuvers with the cord in which the player uses it to make braided webs and complex
Yo-yo separate from the cord / rope It may have similar format to the imperial and the butterfly, with the difference that its cord is separated. Used by competitive and advanced players
Automatic yo-yo Can stay at the end of the string turning and returns to your hand alone. Not recommended if you want to make your own manoeuvres

Is yo-yoing recommended for all ages?

Unfortunately, the yo-yo is not recommended for all ages. Depending on the product (accessories, material, etc.), it differs in its age classification. However, the minimum age a child should have before being able to handle a yo-yo is three full years, according to the main models available on the market today.

Um ioiô borboleta colorido está em cima de uma superfície que parece um tronco de árvore.

The butterfly and cordless yo-yos are more recommended for those seeking more radical maneuvers. (Source: luginbuhlta

Buying Criteria: what you need to consider before buying a yo-yo

Something unclear or in doubt? No problem. We will answer any unanswered questions below based on the points raised.

Given these points, we will now explain them individually in the next few lines of the article. Continue with us.

Um homem está sentado de pernas cruzadas em uma cadeira dentro do cômodo de uma casa ou apartamento enquanto segura um ioiô amarelo.

The current yo-yos are quite varied, having themes, accessories and variety of colours and prints. (Source: Mick Haupt/


Themed yo-yos are quite common and help to please the kids. As usual, there are several theme options, ranging from superhero like Spiderman, through children’s shows like Miraculous: The Adventures of Ladybug, to video games like Resident Evil and Street Fighter.


Yo-yo may be a mere toy for kids, but there are collectors who take yo-yoing quite seriously. For them, there are special collectible options, many limited edition, even with numbered pieces. Very popular, especially in the 1990s, Coca-Cola yo-yos, for example, are quite expensive today. They can be found on internet auction sites. Some of them go for more than GBP£ 300.

Colours and accessories

There is a wide range of colours in yo-yo models, especially because the intention is to please and draw the attention of children, who love bright and flashy colors. You will find golden yo-yos with glitter, red, multiple colours, and so on. There are also accessories that can accompany the yo-yos, as a place to store the toy, lights, sounds, among other mechanisms.

Um ioiô borboleta roxo com detalhes em preto está equilibrado em cima de uma tábua de madeira.

BIC crayons come in boxes of 12 to 36 colours (Source: piviso/


The type of material can be decisive when buying. As already mentioned, today the yo-yo has various materials, from wood to steel, which tend to be more durable. The material with which the yo-yo is made can change the weight of the product, as well as add a differentiated design. For example, some handcrafted wooden models may be more attractive. Still, nothing prevents you from finding a decent and efficient plastic one for the proposed use.

(Featured Image Source: Disclosure / Yomega / Amazon)