This activity is entered in the Summer Camp Contest as a simple and attractive way to keep kids healthy, active and maybe learn a bit of science.
I was inspired by a fire performance at the Crucible and got my first set of poi made from a sock and tennis ball. I was constantly afraid of the tennis ball smacking my in the face and the ball hurts when I tried to go fast. I wanted to make something soft and individualized so I created this simple treasure. Later, I had a neck injury and used poi to regain my range of motion.
Step 1: Make Your Poi
Materials : A pair of shoelaces and a soft toy that can attach to the shoelace.
Thread your toy through the shoelace and bring the two ends of a shoelace together and make a knot.
Step 2: Basic Poi
First begin with one poi.
Hold the knotted end of the shoelaces and swing in circular motions. You can swing in any direction: above your head, to the left, right or behind the back. Try different motions and see what happens. What happens if you use only your wrist vs using your whole arm?
Next try to cross the poi from left to right and right to left by moving in a figure eight motion. Does your body have to move when you change direction?
Now try the other hand and then try with both hands.
For more advanced lessons check YouTube or find someone to show you.
Variation: Try changing the length of the string.
Variation: Try changing the shape or weight of the object on the string. Add ribbons or other decorations.
Do these changes give you more or less control and as it moves faster or slower how is your reaction time?
Variation: How far can you toss the poi in an open space? What factors make it go farther or slower? Angle of release, weight, shape (drag), speed or twirl / do you need to twirl it?
Step 3: Additional Notes Since the Original Publication
Since the original publication I have made additional explorations and decided to include these notes.
The concept of poi is a length of string with a weight on one end.
To make infinite variations:
1) Use soft objects as the weight such as stuffed animals or shower sponges, rolled up socks
2) Make sure it is securely tied to the cord / ribbon.
Variation: What would happen if you attached a weight on both sides of the string? You may want to use both hands.
https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-EASY-R... shows how to attach items such as a ribbon for a more artistic perspective both in the decoration as well as the pleasing site of the flow of the ribbon ballet. I'm not sure but the ribbon may be a way to visualize the path of fire used in fire poi without the hazard of playing with fire.
Variation:Hold the weight in your hand and just move the ribbon. Great for pre-schoolers that have trouble swinging the rope in circles.
Variation: Use a solid such as a stick instead of the rope / cord = Ribbon Twirling
Variation: Jerk the string mid-turn. meaning instead of a smooth circular motion, pull in a different direction before the poi completes the revolution.
Great Now GO get Moving - Run, DANCE, skip, hop, play...Go Have FUN!!!
Step 4: Spin Off
I was just playing around with a long sleeved T-shirt and I noticed that you can grab it at any spot and spin it around in circles. You can also wad it up into different irregular shapes.
Challenge: Explore none symmetric poi. Meaning the shape of the weight is different from one another, the lengths are mismatched, the material is different...etc