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Traditional plastic or wooden toy

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    5 Reviews
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      19.10.2012 14:07
      Very helpful



      An interest toy for older kids and adults

      I bought my diabolo in Berlin when we went about 3 years ago.  I had always wanted one but they are quite expensive, I have seem them in shops for sound £20.  My diabolo cost only about £5, it is the real thing, made out of hard rubber and is quite a fun thing to play with.

      I'm not very good at it.  I can keep it spinning for a long time and throw it up a little into the air, perhaps 10cm or so and then catch up apart from this haven't managed to learn anymore tricks.  We also live in a flat so it's not all the practical to be throwing it around inside although in the summer we sometimes take it out to play on the grass outside.

      ~What is it made from?~
      My diabolo, or rather the part of it that is technically called the spool is made from rigid rubber.  Essentially it looks a bit like two bathroom plungers joined together by a metal ring in the middle.  There is a separate string which has two wooden handles, one at each end.

      ~How it works~
      The spool is balanced and spun around on the string.  To keep the spool balanced, ie. stop it from tipping off the string it needs to be spinning quite quickly, so the player needs to move his/her hands up and down to given momentum to the string and thus the spool.

      The first thing to learn is to keep the diabolo balanced and spinning on the starting.  It is important that from the start the diabolo is spinning. Fast as possible.  To start the spool in motion the player has to roll the spool on the string quickly along the floor.  If you don't get a good start then it is unlikely you can recover and the spool will loose its balance.

      If the spool does start to tilt the player can counterbalance this by moving one handle either in toward them or away from them, depending on each way the spool is leaning.  However, once the spool looses motion is is going very slowly it is usually impossible to recover. The play systematically moves their hands up and down, one at a time to creation motion on the string for the spool to spin.

      I have mastered the basics of keeping the spool spinning for a long time on the spool, this is the first thing to learn and if you can't do this then you can't learn any further tricks. 

      My diabolo came with a printed list of tricks.  After mastering keeping the spool spinning one can start to learn tricks - be warned its not easy!

      ~My First (and only) Trick~
      The only trick I have managed to learn is "the toss", sometimes called "the high toss" however mine isn't very high!  Basically the player need to through the diabolo into the air and off the string and then catch it again.  

      Here are a few other tricks:
      Trapeze/stopover - The right stick hits the left string making the diabolo swing over the right stick and land on the string.

      Cats cradle - In this trick, you start with the trapeze, then put your left stick in between the first and third string. Then throw the diabolo in the air, and while you do that the string will form an X. Then you catch the diabolo on the X and then throw it in the air again and catch it on the string.

      Around the leg - Leg is put over strings and diabolo, diabolo is swung under and over the leg.

      ~History of the Diabolo~
      The diabolo (often mis-spelled diablo) evolved from the Chinese yo-yo and invented by a Frenchman called Gustave Phillippart in the early twentieth century.  Diabolo is derived from Greek, meaning across throw.  Nowadays it is used as a juggling art and is often seen in circus performances.

      ~Buying a Diabolo~
      They do seem to be generally quite expensive in the UK and it was luck I managed to get mine for £5.  When looking for a diabolo bear in mind that heavier spools work better than light ones.  There used to be a shop in Camden town which had a vast stock of diabolos, but I am sure they are available in gadget-like stores or on Amazon.  Mine is just a boring dark red colours but you can get them in loads of colours and the multi-coloured spools do look prettiest when spinning.  

      I think really for me my diabolo is a bit of a gimmick, however its fun Nd my kids like to watch me (try and) us it.  It will also be something my kids can play with when they are older.


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      • More +
        18.09.2010 19:16
        Very helpful



        Learn a new skill, I dare you!

        The Diablo is a toy that is the latest craze at my children's school at the moment. It started towards the end of term last year. As it wasn't very expensive to buy I decided my daughter could have one. They are available at the £1 shop or 99p store so a very cheap toy to keep your children amused for hours.

        What is it?

        Well to describe it, it's like an egg or ball shape that has been cut in half and then stuck back to back. This means that the middle bit is thin and this is where the string sits. The other part of the toy is a piece of rope/string attached to two pieces of wood/plastic which you hold to control the rope and the Diablo. It is designed so that it can be turned, spinned and thrown and caught as well as all the other tricks and skills that could be mastered along the way.

        There are many different designs of these from the cheap makes that we have to the more expensive ones for the more experienced and serious spinners. They can be made from plastic, rubber and wood. Some of the dearer ones are obviously made better and so work better but we have a plastic one which is fine for my daughter to fiddle with. They also come in many colours. There is even an LED one and a glow in the dark to name another few types.

        What do you do with it?

        Well to start my daughter would have the spool upright (with the flat end on the floor) wrap the string around the middle and pull it up so it is balancing on the string. She would then pull up one side of the string continuously to get the Diablo spinning. There are quite a few tricks that she likes to 'try' and do, the basic is to throw it up into the air and then catch it back on the string again. Obviously trying to go higher the more experienced or braver you get. There is also the throw around the leg or throw round in the air in a circular movement. Also similar to how we do yoyo tricks there are many quite similar to them. There are just absolutely hundreds of tricks you could learn. I found youtube and other video sites a great asset to show her what could be done.

        Do we like it?

        For just a pound you cannot go wrong. I know what it's like at school to try and fit in with the latest craze and it was good for my daughter to have something to focus on and learn new things. She was quite determined to learn new tricks so she could 'show them off' at school the next day in the playground. It is quite addictive when you are trying to get the hang of a new trick but very rewarding when you do. It can only enhance her hand/eye coordination.

        You can literally have hours of fun with this toy but as with most toys you can get bored if you play with it too much.



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        • More +
          25.06.2009 21:35
          Very helpful



          a good pocket money type toy

          The title says this item is a Diablo this common spelling mistake for this toy the correct spelling is DIABOLO.

          What is a Diabolo?
          A Diabolo is two sticks with a length of string between them and this comes with a spool.

          Diabolos come from the Chinese yo-yo, a Chinese you yos have long thin axles with a disc shaped wheels where as Diabolo is more cone shaped and comes in different colours, sizes and weights.

          The basic use of a Diabolo is to hold one stick in one hand and the spool is balanced on the string and by moving your hand you get the spool to move then it can be thrown up in the air and caught again on the string. There are many, many tricks to do with a diabolo but they would be very complicated to try and explain but if you ate interested try having a look on you tube there are loads of videos on there.

          So what do I think of these?
          I think these can be loads of fun and a great form of hand eye coordination, exercise and learning a new talent. I first came across diabolo when my mum dragged me shopping in Courts at 11 yrs old and there was a man with one inside doing loads of tricks and me being 11 thought yeh that looks good I would be able to do all them. Lucky my mum was easy to get round and the man was selling them at the time so I got one and I did spend hours with it trying to get good but all I every managed before I got really bored of it was getting the spool moving and throwing it a little in the air and catching it.

          I think if you did but the time in with this toy and got good at it them it would be some thing you would keep up but if like me you where never very good at it after a month or so you would bore of it.

          I will be buying one of these for my little ones when they get older just so I can have a play you never know I might be really good at it now I older and wiser.


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          • More +
            15.01.2008 12:58
            Very helpful



            ...not just for kids but by all means go buy them one..

            The 'Diablo' or 'Diabolo' if you want to get picky about the spelling...If you want to be REALLY picky was originally named "Diaballo" when it first made its way over to Europe.

            What is it then?

            It is a fun juggling 'toy' that has been around for a loooong time, dates way back and historians are pretty much agreed it comes from ancient China. The Chinese versions were and are different to the ones we have the original ones had sticks made from bamboo which whistled while spinning. The Chinese version of Diablo also has flat sides rather than the European version we have now with 'cup' shape sides which dates back to 1906.

            It becomes popular every now and then as these things will - remember the yoyo craze a while back? Same kind of thing. There's loads of juggling 'toys' Poi are quite funky too...especially when set on fire... so are the 'Devil Sticks' (sets of three sticks you can juggle around) But my favourite will always be the Diablo. I got my first Diablo whilst still at junior school and I remember it cost me £8 because I saved up and bought it myself (mean parents).

            I soon mastered the art of spinning it and pulling tricks and throws and still have one in use today, it's another thing I'm yet to grow out of I guess...though can't see it happening myself I think my parents still live in ignorant hope one day I'll change.
            Diablo's come in MANY different shapes, sizes and materials, my first was a soft flexible rubber one with thick plastic sticks and black cord string, and ideal starter Diablo and I wish I could find another like it alas it's long dead and gone.

            You may well have seen one at the circus I know I have or if you've got them around your way 'street performers' Basically a Diablo is made up of the Diablo 'spool' itself and 2 sticks with string between them....excited yet ?

            What do you do with it?

            What you do is put your Diablo on the string, balance it (easier than it sounds) roll along floor to get it started and jerk one stick continuously to set it spinning on the string. Left or right handed doesn't matter, unless your playing tennis...more on that later.

            I managed to teach a neighbor's 7 year old to do this in 10 minutes, but her mum wasn't impressed because she just couldn't do it and had a right good sulk. It's just getting a steady rhythm going pulling your string with one stick to keep it spinning, you can do it from a 'standing start' without rolling. Once you get the hang of that then threes a million and one tricks waiting to be mastered! The first of course being to throw in the air and catch it back on your string...harder than it looks when thrown very high...and it WILL hit you on the head sooner or later....which brings me nicely to 'types' of Diablo...


            The larger more solid and heavy Diablo's tend to hold their momentum longer, meaning once set spinning they keep going without constantly pulling string to speed them up - medium heavy ones are very good for ' on string ' tricks but not so good for throwing. Light weight Diablo's can be thrown very high and are easier to get spinning at high speeds, but if outdoors they will catch the wind making landing on string a hard task !
            Rubber Diablo's like my first one are bendable and hard to break, I'd say is the best to start with as easy size and right weight for trying out your first throws and tricks with. Plus it doesn't hurt so bad if it lands on you or you whack yourself with it...The standard plastic ones sold in cheap sets are solid and hard you've been warned.

            The Diablo I've got now is a hard plastic Glow-in-the-dark one, looks pretty amazing in the dark whizzing around it does too. You can get cheap Diablo's but there's much more fun stuff out there once you get into it...on my wish list is the Fire Diablo which has wicks around the edges for Fun with Fire...plus flame-proof string obviously not that I'd recommend this for a child...but I'm a grown-up and want one so NER ! But at around £40.00 for the Diablo new and more for your string and bits...it's going to be a while...

            Funky 'safe' ones with LED lights are pretty nice too though and create nice flashy effects. There's so many different Diablo's its unbelievable. Then you've got your different strings / cord, plus different sticks...from bog-standard wooden ones to carbon fibre pretty light-weight things and all available in every colour of the rainbow and then some.

            If I were braver I'd video review this over on you know where as it's so hard to describe the tricks, I've been doing it that long I just 'do' it without thinking about it. Once you've got the hang of keeping your Diablo balanced on the string you can experiment with jumping it around over feet and legs, throwing up and catching then bouncing it up again. Tricks on the string like looping your string around and holding your sticks so the string is vertical and making the Diablo climb or fall and appear 'stuck' to the string as if by magic. So much fun and I find it very stress relieving too.

            If you go buy a set you'll probably get the wooden sticks, standard string and a hard plastic Diablo...that's all I have at the minute as can't justify spending cash on toys for me. But tricks are possible with a basic set and you'll probably get a leaflet with some of the easier ones on. Don't get stressed if you come across a trick named 'Cat's Cradle' give up....it's nigh on impossible!! But if you're rally determined keep at it and you'll mange one day.

            There's even 'clubs' dedicated to these things, well not just Diablo but other 'circus-type' and juggling skills and fun stuff, not that I've visited though I remember they visited my secondary school.....and I blew them away.... "Can I have a go...?" My friend also had one for many years and lived close by, but he was left-handed -not a problem just means his Diablo spun the opposite way to me because I'm right handed which made 'tennis' alot more fun. You get two people and basically throw the Diablo to each other...if you want to make it harder...use more than one Diablo. You can also use more than one on your own, the small 'micro' ones are best for that but is not one of my strong points.

            Something I still enjoy doing, even though I got rid / lost alot of my Diablo stuff over the years....being a parent gives you less time to play with your own stuff. These things are not just for kids but by all means go buy them one will make a great gift if you think your kid will stick with it, better than being a zombie and honing their computer skills. Good old-fashioned co-ordination skills and throwing stuff...they might even run away to join the circus...what more do you want?? :o)

            Useful links:

            www.jugglingdb.com juggling database

            Sites that sell stuff: (though am sure you can find one 'in-the-real-world' easy enough from the bigger toy stores)

            Obvious places to start include EBay and Amazon, but for more specialized stuff check out the ones below...there's plenty more to choose from if you have a search yourself. Prices from around a fiver up to silly money.



            (I'd like the ..."Fyrefli Comet Fire Diabolo"...if anyones offering..lol)

            Very difficult thing to write about when you actually sit down and try to explain it all.... I hope it was helpful and if I can help with anything then give me shout and I'll be happy to.
            Thanks for reading my ramblings.

            (Those who made it to the end)

            Manda :o)

            You can find me and my efforts elsewhere under same name


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            • More +
              02.01.2008 17:04
              Very helpful



              Try it if you haven't yet....

              ~~~What is a Diabolo?~~~
              The Diabolo (note the spelling - it is incorrectly shown as 'diablo' on this web site) is a juggling toy for which there is a major craze at my son's school. It is made up of two parts: a spool in the shape of an egg-timer and a pair of sticks with a string between them. The basic principle of it is that you get the spool to spin on the string by constantly moving the sticks and once it is spinning you can do lots of tricks (throw, catch, turn).

              ~~~Where has it come from?~~~
              The Diabolo appears to have been around for some time, first found in China where they were (and still are) made of bamboo with insert cut into them so that they make a noise as they spin. Apparently they were used by merchants to attract customers to their stalls. They were brought over to Europe where they gained in popularity through the 19th Century, particularly in France where they gained the name 'le diable' from whence it gets it current name.

              There seems to have been a sudden increase in interest in the Diabolo in recent years, perhaps because it is one of the easier circus tricks for children to master. Kites and juggling seem to be quite a thing in Brighton - I'm not sure if this is shared across the UK (but would be interested to know, should anyone care to comment on this review).

              ~~~What's the Point?~~~
              Well, I'm sure that different people will get different things from the Diabolo, but from a child's perspective, they are quite an attractive prospect because:
              1. It is not too difficult to get the hang of the basics, which makes it accessible to all, from the age of 5 or so up, I would say.
              2. Mastering tricks will earn you playground kudos and there is plenty of opportunity for swapping tips and new tricks, so it's a discussion point.
              3. There are lots of different colours, styles and variations which means you can get something that suits you and makes you different from the others.
              4. There are quite easy to get hold of and don't cost much. This means that parents don't mind buying them for you and if they do, then you can get a basic set for £5, so you could get one with your pocket money.
              5. They are portable, which means that you can take them with you to school, the park, you nana's...

              From a parent's perspective, I think they are quite an attractive prospect:
              1. They are relatively inexpensive
              2. They encourage hand-eye co-ordination
              3. They encourage persistence and determination, as this will be needed in order to master tricks

              ~~~What can you do with it?~~~
              There are lots of tricks for you to master. You can see some of these on the web sites that I've listed at the end of the review, but some examples are:

              ~The Toss: throw the Diabolo in the air and catch it on the string

              ~ The Grind: once the Diabolo is spinning, balance it on one of the sticks, it'll make a great noise

              ~ The Cat's Cradle: toss the Diabolo, move/twist the sticks so that the string forms a cat's cradle shape, catch the Diabolo in the 'cradle'

              ~ The Elevator: whip the string around the Diabolo once it is spinning very fast and pull tight - the Diabolo appears to climb the string

              ~ Multiple Diabolo Tricks: there is a whole host of tricks that involve more than one Diabolo on the one string in case you manage to master the one Diabolo tricks and are looking for a further challenge.

              ~~~Find out More~~~
              Whilst Diabolos are available in many toy shops, the best place I've found to get hold of a Diabolo is Oddballs - they have shops in Brighton and London, but they also have a great website - www.oddballs.co.uk. Here you will see the range and variety available. You can buy a simple small Diabolo for £2.99 and sticks + string for £2.00, alternatively, you could find yourself spending more and more to get the larger, brighter, smarter sets. We bought our son some new kit for Christmas to replace the basic set he had previously and spent nearly £40 on it.

              By far, the best place to learn new tricks is in the playground/park off your friends, that's what makes this toy fun. However, there are also quite a few websites that will help you to learn tricks, with helpful videos. Try out www.diabolotricks.com and www.yoyoguy.com.

              I've listed the pros of this toy in the section above headed 'What's the Point?', I'm struggling to think of any negatives. I guess it might turn out to be a craze that drops by the way side, and if this is the case then at least the investment you make up front is very small.

              In this modern world of Nintendo, XBox, Wii mania, I find it quite refreshing that there is toy like this that is so simple, cheap and accessible that is grabbing the attention of the kids. I like the way that it brings them together in the playground, that they admire the tricks that the older kids can do, that they will spend long amounts of time working to perfect their technique.
              It's cheap, safe and fun - what more can one ask?


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            • Product Details

              Traditional plastic or wooden toy

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