Twist, pull and whizz! Τhe so-called iynx!

Make an ancient Greek toy with a special sound

What will you need:

-a large button

-string οr cord

Twist, pull and whizz! Τhe so called iynx!

Spin it, stretch it, and then let it go! That’s how you play the so-called iynx, a kid’s game with a curious history that was particularly popular in ancient Athens. 

You can make it with things that are easy to find at home!



Toy, nymph or bird? The iynx is all three! How? Well…. the iynx was a children's toy in ancient Greece. It usually comprised a wooden or ceramic wheel with two holes through which the string would pass to make a double strand (see the instructions). The player would twist the string winding it so that when they pulled it at both ends, it would unwind, and the wheel would spin making a unique sound like the voice of a bird called an ...iynx, or as we know it today, a wag tail or wryneck. An ancient Greek myth tells us however that the iynx was not always a bird: it was once a beautiful nymph of which the goddess Hera was so jealous that she turned into a bird!.

Are you curious to hear this bird-like sounding wheel? Well here are the instructions so you can make your own!

Make your iynx or more than one with your friends or family. Take a photo and send it to our Gallery!

Print the activity

Collect your materials: your button and thick string. Use as big a button as possible for a better result!


Pass the string through two of the button holes.


Take the two loose ends of the string and tie a knot. Your iynx is ready.


Time to play! Twist the string as tightly as you can.


Alternate between stretching and relaxing the tension of the string with your hands, and hear the strange sound of the iynx!


You can also use clay to make your iynx like the ancient Greeks did. In that case you will need a tool of some kind, such as a straw to make the two holes in the clay disc you will make .


How about coloring your clay iynx with paint and/or decorating it with a design?