Tops have a near-universal fascination that's hard to explain – there's something magical about watching them balance. Everyone who's seen this set of traditional wooden tops couldn't resist giving them a spin.
The long-stemmed top is turned and painted to look like a person with a comically tall hat, and is easy to start – you just twirl the stem between your palms. The pull-string top has an integral spool instead of a stem. Giving the string a swift tug while you hold the spool produces a high-speed spin; the rotation of the top even rewinds the string for the next go. The smallest top has a surprising trick: instead of coming to halt when it starts to wobble, it flips end over end and spins on its stem until its momentum is used up.
All are made from hornbeam in the Jura, a region of France famed for its woodturning. The two large tops are 2" in diameter and the small top is 3/4".
Colors of the two large tops may vary. Suitable for ages 3 and up.