Tumble Bunnies

I made an Easter version of an old tumbling toy for Disney FamilyFun Magazine. The toy uses marbles to propel itself. Usually, it’s a tumbling acrobat. It used to be popular in China, then in the nineteenth century it made it’s way to Europe and became a popular folk toy. It’s pretty clever, and really fun to watch. It works best on a surface that’s not too slick, like couch cushions, or blankets. Watch the video below to see it in action and learn how to make it. There’s a template at the bottom of this post, so give it a try! If your kids do some nice coloring on their bunnies, it would be great to see them. Feel free to post photos or videos on the Made by Joel Facebook page! Happy Tumbling!

Click on the image below, then print.

73 Comments

  1. Flo
    March 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I love the culbuto (in french)... So much fun ! I do that when I was younger and I always find so incredable that small and "old" game are always in the top of the game... So when my little girl was younger, I create two pieces and the first arrived was the winner ! Pfff... I lost often... ;-)
    (sorry for my little english)
    Have a good week and thanks for all your ideas ! Flo

  2. Joel Henriques
    March 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks Flo! Good idea to make two and have races! Each template has two bunnies, so that's perfect. Nice one!

  3. I Live in an Antbed
    March 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Simplicity + Beauty + Function= Brilliance
    My kids are excited!!!! Thank you, again, for sharing such incredible things with us!

  4. Tricia Orchard
    March 29, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    How cool is that! Thanks for the template!

  5. Rose Fern
    March 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Wow!
    Amazing!
    Great for Easter, when I'm expecting my best friend and her kids. There'll be some bunny racing in the garden ,indeed!
    Thank you so much for sharing your creativity with us!
    Greetings from Greece!

  6. Marine
    March 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    That's excellent...!!! Thank you very much...!!!

  7. nanannwoogies
    March 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I think my kids will love these!

    Question though: should we print these out on cardstock I presume? I would think regular paper would be too thin. Thanks!

  8. Clementine-Illustration
    March 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Simple et super !

  9. minttu
    March 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm
  10. Joel Henriques
    March 29, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks everyone!

    nanannwoogies - Actually, regular paper will work fine too. I made one from cardstock, and one from regular, and for some reason the thin paper one was a bit faster! Might have been something other than the paper though. Or maybe the thin paper is more bendable, and creates less friction? So yeah, try them both out. The thick paper, I think, will last longer at least.

  11. Nathalie
    March 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    So funny! Thanks for the template :o)

  12. EllenQ
    March 29, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Adorable and simple - a winning combo!

  13. Caron
    March 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I tried this at lunchtime with my 2.5 year-old and it works perfectly! So cute! Thank you!

  14. Julianna
    March 29, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    I LOVE this Joel! My kids will find these in their baskets this year... THANK YOU for sharing!

  15. Jenn Girl
    March 29, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Cute! Love the Paul Klee book!

  16. cg
    March 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Fantastic! Can't wait to try it.

  17. Meine grüne Wiese
    March 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks from Bavaria!
    Melanie

  18. Lia
    March 29, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Very cool.

  19. Patti
    March 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    How fun! My 7 yr. old is sitting here hollering "print them out, print them out!" LOL I guess we're playing Tumble Bunnies this afternoon. :)

  20. Lori
    March 29, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    I love all of your toy ideas. I think I need to print this one out for a bunch of nephews & nieces!

  21. Cari
    March 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I am in charge of an Easter themed craft at my sons preschool in a few weeks and these will be PERFECTION! Thanks so much.

  22. nanannwoogies
    March 30, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Thanks so much for answering -- now I can try right away!

  23. amomwithalessonplan.com
    March 30, 2011 at 3:12 am

    I can't decide whether to let my little ones put these together on their own or to make them for the easter basket!

  24. pa[u]
    March 30, 2011 at 3:17 am

    it's great! my son (3 years old) wanted to watch the video again and again ...
    we will test very soon! Thank you!!!

  25. Helmi
    March 30, 2011 at 7:12 am

    So cute, thanks for sharing.

  26. Umatji
    March 30, 2011 at 9:35 am

    a great chocolate free easter present! great. I have made tumbling men out of felt before with an inner card section. I wonder if you could do the same for bunnies!

  27. Patricia
    March 30, 2011 at 9:49 am

    This is soooo fun, Joel! I love it :)
    It'll be great also if we print out a few of them in different colored papers... or much better if each kid (if they're several) paints its own... as to distinguish each one in the "Bunnies Race"!

  28. Ludo braille
    March 30, 2011 at 11:17 am

    J'adore !!!
    Bravo
    Nadia

  29. singlemama
    March 31, 2011 at 11:49 am

    wow! just like my mrs. somersoult but much more easier to do!

    :-)

    http://singlemamafranny.blogspot.com/2011/02/il-signor-capitombolo-mr-somersault.html

  30. Jackie
    April 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Oh this is sooo perfect. I've been playing bunny races with my almost three year old all day! Thank you so very much.

  31. sherbear
    April 3, 2011 at 4:28 am

    I have printed out 2 and my girls will make them when they get up :) Cute!

  32. le banc moussu
    April 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    One more beautiful idea!
    thanks Joel.
    christian

  33. Staci
    April 4, 2011 at 1:04 am

    So clever, like all your toys! I'm including this in my Friday Favorites this week!

  34. Pancakes For Recess (Pawan)
    April 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Oh my, this is the cutest thing ever! I'm going to have my class make them with their big buddies in 7th grade. Thank you!

  35. Judy Jowers
    April 6, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Instead of felt on a board, I used shelf liner ("grip liner") on a flattened cardboard box:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/judyjowers/5587913429/

  36. Joel Henriques
    April 7, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Thanks everyone!

    Judy Jowers - Great idea with the shelf liner! I've got to try that! I have a roll of that somewhere. Cool!

  37. M u s s
    April 10, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Such a GREAT idea, thanks so much for sharing!

  38. Lisa
    April 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm
  39. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 6:00 am

    I loved the video but when I tried to make it with regular xerox paper, the bunny only slides, it doesn't not tumble. Do I need a heavier paper like a construction paper?
    Thanks,

  40. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 6:19 am

    followup:
    I made two changes that did work:
    1)used construction paper,
    And
    2)used a felt, or a blanket as the path, either one worked fine.

    I had used a guitar case, which was too slippery. Xerox paper doesn't work on felt or blanket either. Has to be construction paper on felt or blanket.

    Great toy. Thanks, Joel.

  41. Anonymous
    April 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    hard to cut out for younger hands but worked TOGETHER.. we used card stock and GUMBALLS
    what fun!Taking a stack all ready cut out for Easter for the little kids at family dinner.
    barb and boys

  42. Joel Henriques
    April 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks everyone! And yes, I like Judy's idea (above) about using the grip shelf liner stuff for a bunny tumbling surface, if felt or blankets aren't working! Maybe even an up-side-down bath mat would work nicely.

  43. cristina
    April 15, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    WooHoo! Just printed up 3 sheets of
    Tumble Bunnies!
    Adán is going to put them together
    for his cousin Ruby (2yrs. old) and
    we're gonna watch those bunnies
    tumble and r-r-roll :* )

  44. SANDRA MARIA
    April 19, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Adorei a ideia do coelho,tenho um saci com o mesmo principio, não sei se vc conhece este personagem pois faz parte do folclore brasileiro ele é um menino negro muito traquina que só tem uma perna daí o nome do brinquedo saci saltador. Coloquei a lenda e o brinquedo no meu blog pega lá...http://epubliquese.blogspot.com/

  45. Sofia
    April 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    We used to do the same, but with real egg instead.

  46. Pancakes For Recess (Pawan)
    April 21, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Another wonderful idea! I'm going to try this with my first graders tomorrow - they're going to love it! And congrats on the news of your new little girl. Best wishes to you!

  47. Anonymous
    April 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Mine is printing small rather than the full width of the paper. any ideas?
    so cute!!

  48. Joel Henriques
    April 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Thanks everyone!

    Anonymous - It's probably a setting in your printing software. Look for something that says "scale 50%" or similar, and either uncheck that box, or turn the scale to 100%. That's my guess anyway. Good luck!

  49. May 3, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Super cute! Thanks so much!!

  50. jmcdo
    May 9, 2011 at 8:53 am

    We will be making these for our Vacation Bible School this summer. I used regular printer paper and substituted a picture of our VBS character instead of the bunny. The kids will color them too. I found the bunnies roll MUCH better if you put two rubber bands around them lenghthwise - the rubber bands should be not be too tight or the toy will bunch up and not move. The added traction is all the tumbler needs to race down a tilted cookie sheet.

  51. May 9, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Thanks so much everyone! jmcdo - Cool! I was always wondering if rubber bands would work in this way, but I never got around to trying it. I saw some rubber bands once on the wheels of a wooden toy car, that gave me the idea. Now I'll have to try this for sure! I'd love to see photos if you get any. Feel free to upload them on www.facebook.com/madebyjoel Very nice!

  52. May 23, 2011 at 3:24 am

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  58. Sally Nicholas (@SallyGNicholas)
    March 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Today as pert of book week we read the book The Magic Rabbit by Annette LeBlanc Cate and then made your tumble bunnies. Thank you for your generosity. Miss Sally - Sinarmas World Academy, Jakarta, Indonesia

    1. March 9, 2012 at 10:59 am

      Great idea! My kids would love that combo too. I've got to look for that book! Thanks!

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  60. May 9, 2012 at 4:23 am

    Hey Joel, thanks for this great activity! Is there an alternative to marbles? We do not have any at the house right now. Thanks!

    1. May 9, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      Hmmm, not sure. Anything small, heavy and round. Maybe something cylindrical would work. Let me know if you come up with anything that works! It would be handy for lots of people I'm sure!

    2. Katy
      January 29, 2013 at 7:51 am

      Hi Just wanted to say thanks for these. I scaled them up using golf balls and cereal box card for my toddler class and they go down a cushion slope really well! :)

    3. February 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Wow, cool idea Katy! I'll have to try that!!

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  63. March 29, 2013 at 10:07 am

    I found your page some months ago and I´ve enjoyed all your projects with my children. Thank you very much for sharing your work and ideas... Please, Never stop!!! (A spanish mom)

  64. October 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm

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  65. Virva Elma Ilona
    December 4, 2013 at 12:05 am

    <3 <3 <3

  66. Berthild Lorenz
    December 5, 2013 at 1:29 am

    Danke! Das ist ja sooooo schön! Herzliche Grüße aus Berlin! Berthild

    1. December 5, 2013 at 7:38 am

      Thanks Berthild!

  67. Marci
    April 28, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks for making the template available!

    1. April 29, 2014 at 8:55 am

      You're welcome!!

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