When you grasp the two beads at the bottom of the string, one in each hand, and pull down on the strings in turn, the two people slowly climb up the string. As soon as the tension in the string is released, the people drop back down. This is a traditional toy that still gives great pleasure.

When you turn the parrot head over tail several times, the perch on which it sits winds up as the parrot rises higher up its supporting strings. When you then let the parrot go, it rolls over and over, dropping all the time on its strings until it gets to the bottom, and then it starts winding up the strings again. Think yoyo and you will understand the movement.

These are two very strong magnets. One dramatic trick you can do is as follows. Separate the two magnets in your hand by about 25mm (holding them firmly otherwise they will just lock together) and then throw them in the air together. Initially they will rattle in the air before they join together. The rattling sound is amazing – something like a demented cicada. At one time these were advertised on www.grand-illusions.com.

These shapes, turned by David Springett, are examples of what can be achieved by mixing and matching different turned shapes using a turn-split-twist-rejoin technique. For details see David Springett’s book ‘Woodturning Full Circle’ published in 2008 by Guild of Master Craftman Publications Ltd, Lewis, BN7 1XU, England.

This was a gift from expert woodturner David Springett of Rugby in 2003. When rolled down a slope, the shape takes a drunken path. At first sight it is hard to see how such a shape could be turned. The answer is that a double cone is turned, split into two halves, and then one half twisted by 90 degrees before being re-joined. The key is to make sure that the section through the double cone is square. The piece is made out of Msaraka wood and finished in Carnauba wax (which comes from the Carnauba palm). For more amazing examples of what can be achieved by this turn-split-twist-rejoin technique, see Ref. no. N2272 and David’s book ‘Woodturning Full Circle’ published in 2008 by Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd, Lewis, BN7 1XU, England.

The photographs show how these loosely jointed pieces of plastic are able to flex. In one configuration the orange discs are in the middle and the green discs on the outside. In the other configuration the discs have changed positions – the orange ones are now on the outside and the green ones are in the middle. The third photograph shows the half way stage. This unusual behaviour explains how a Switch Pitch! ball (for details see Ref. no. N1614) manages to change its colour when it is thrown up into the air. The effect is distinctly magical.

This is a well presented product which includes clear folding instructions. A photograph of one of the folded models is included as an example. Copyright Accord Publishing, Denver, Colorado. Patent No. 6,925,739.

This mysterious UFO can only be made to fly by the person in the know. Made in China. Badged Science Museum UK and Wow! Stuff.

The novel design, which takes advantage of the flexibility of the bamboo, allows the bowl to be folded flat for easy storage. Produced under the Adorn brand for Solus Garden and Leisure Ltd. Solus are no longer trading.

Purchased new in 2013 at the shop of the Museum of Arts and Crafts, Hamburg. This is a modern example of a traditional toy, made from the bark of palm trees. When the stick is twisted between your fingers, the tiger throws out its arms and legs in an animated dance.