Frisbee Turns 60! 10 Reasons It's the Best Piece of Plastic Around

From the streets of NYC to the mountains of Myanmar, nothing compares to the wondrous whirl and graceful coast of an airborne Frisbee. On its 60th birthday, I vote it the best piece of plastic around - and I'm no fan of plastic!

Inspired by popcorn-can tops and cake tins, Fred Morrison designed the perfectly round plastic Frisbee, first marketed by Wham-O (Hula Hoop maker) in January, 1957. Though the original instructions read "play catch," Frisbees can be repurposed in countless ways.

Mandalay, Myanmar
Mandalay, Myanmar

Here are my top ten reasons for always having a Frisbee in my bag, especially when traveling the world:

1) Playing! “When a ball dreams, it dreams it's a Frisbee," remarked Stancil Johnson, International Frisbee Hall of Famer. No other object offers endless fun and serious exercise for both kids and adults; can be played in water and any weather; is great solo or with any number of people; and has special courses (disc golf) and team tournaments around the globe (Ultimate). And have you seen how beautifully the Frisbee interacts with nature, gliding smoothly through the air, whirring, in a joyful dance with the wind?

Plus, if you carry a Frisbee with you, no more boredom waiting for people or standing in long lines. From parking lots to parties, outdoors and even inside, a Frisbee toss always brings joy and smiles.

Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India
Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India

2) Protective Seating and Shade! Ever find yourself at a picnic, an outdoor concert or on a hike in the woods but the ground is too wet or dirty to sit on? Well, if you have your Frisbee with you, use it to protect your bag or go ahead and sit on it! Hot sun beating down on you and hurting your eyes? Caught in an unexpected rainstorm? Hold your Frisbee above your head and you'll have protective shade.

3) Fan for the Campfire or Yourself! For outdoorsy folks, getting that campfire going sometimes requires a little helpful wind. Fan it with a Frisbee! When it's way too hot outside, wave your disc in the air. You'll create some cool breeze and make everyone happier.

4) Sledding and other winter fun! Snow coming down and you don't have your sled? Are nearby stores only selling cheap plastic ones that shred to shards and you know better than to partake in Sledageddon plastic pollution? Fear not, you can shimmy down the greatest hills using your Frisbee as a sleigh. Plus, a Frisbee toss in the snow is super fun too. It's also a useful all-weather toy and tool. Brush the snow off your car, shovel your walkway, or use it to build an igloo or snowman.

5) Kitchen on the Go! Everything tastes better outdoors, I’ve learned, and Frisbees makes outdoor feasting easy. Only have flimsy paper plates but plan to eat some heavy drippy grub? Use your Frisbee as a plate holder, or skip the disposables and just use the Frisbee. Are you the chef on your camping trip and need to do lots of chopping? Use it as a cutting board, fabulous salad bowl or serving tray too.

If you or your dog are thirsty, fill your Frisbee with water and you've got a bowl or cup. I always think a little dirt keeps you healthy, but feel free to give it a quick wash. I've even left it in the rain to collect fresh rainwater, and it sure comes in handy when sampling mineral waters from springs. Having drinks and don't want them to topple over on an uneven bumpy lawn? Frisbees are great coasters. Even if your drink spills, your Frisbee is there to catch it!

6) Vessel for Foraging and Collecting! Ever on a walk in the woods and discover dozens of wild blueberry bushes or edible mushrooms? Gather them in your Frisbee! At the beach, lake or riverside and mesmerized by the beautiful shells and rocks? Use your Frisbee to gather and collect the best of nature's wonders and then use it to display your great finds.

collecting Dead Sea mud, Jordan
collecting Dead Sea mud, Jordan

7) Organizing! Frisbees transform into utility trays for keeping all sorts of things contained. When you need to empty your bag or pockets, have lots of random things to temporarily store, or want to keep supplies handy while fixing your bicycle or doing a craft project, your Frisbee can come to the rescue.

Black Sea, Romania
Black Sea, Romania

8) Writing Surface! Have some great ideas, still believe in pen and paper and want to write things down? Find yourself in a long line of people and realize you have a petition in your bag and need to get signatures? A Frisbee’s hard surface is perfect for writing on, and can be an attention-grabbing clipboard for your activism.

9) It Floats! Running around in the sand, splashing in shallow waves or working your core while playing in ocean or lake waters can be absolutely incredible. Even if you miss a catch, your beloved Frisbee floats on top of the water, waiting for you. Not a strong swimmer? Use it as your kick board. Short an oar or paddle? Use it to help you row. Need to bale water out of your boat? Frisbee to the rescue. On vacation and didn't bring bath toys for your little one? Toss the Frisbee in the tub.

Brighton Beach, New York
Brighton Beach, New York

And most importantly.....

10) Connection and Community! The very nature of catch and throw games is people connection. Whether you simply carry your Frisbee in a visible way to connect with disc-loving strangers or bring it to a foreign country and introduce it to newbies, the Frisbee is a powerful and playful way for engaging our environment and each other. Common spoken language isn't necessary and worldview, age, gender and religion are irrelevant. I've learned that lesson well as I tote my Frisbee around the globe, forging friendships and connections while sending a disc full of fun, positive energy in circles around the world. Impressive projects like Ultimate Peace build friendship, trust and youth leadership for teens from across religious groups and political backgrounds, using the Frisbee for education and fun, not politics.

Kerala Frisbee Club, Alleppey, India
Kerala Frisbee Club, Alleppey, India

If a Frisbee can help the idea of peace take flight around the world, remind us of how we are all connected, and be put to endless other good uses, I say it's the best piece of plastic around. Are you carrying yours today?

Thar Desert, Jaisalmer, India
Thar Desert, Jaisalmer, India
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