Most kids have seen boomerangs thrown into the sky only to return right back to the person who threw it. In fact, for most of us, that is the essence of the boomerang: it comes back to you.

Believe it or not, though, not all boomerangs come back. So what do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back? A stick! OK, that may be an old joke, but there’s certainly some truth to it.

Not all boomerangs are designed to come back. Boomerangs were first invented thousands of years ago as weapons. As throwing sticks, they were designed to use to hunt animals for food. They were meant to bring down game, not to fly through the air and return to the thrower.

The oldest Australian boomerangs used by native peoples are over 10,000 years old. Even older hunting sticks have been found in Europe, though. A mammoth’s tusk used as a hunting stick was found in the mountains of Poland, and it dates back about 30,000 years.

Returning boomerangs developed from throwing sticks used for hunting. Like the Frisbee, their main purpose has always been mainly for sport or leisure — just the sheer pleasure of throwing the boomerang the right way so that it returns to the thrower.

However, returning boomerangs can be used for hunting, too. For example, a returning boomerang can be used as a bird decoy. Thrown over areas of long grass where game birds nest, returning boomerangs can frighten these birds into taking flight, thus making them easier to hunt.

Returning boomerangs have a special curved shape and two or more wings that will spin to create unbalanced aerodynamic forces. These forces — sometimes called “lift” — cause the boomerang’s path to curve in an elliptical shape, so that it will return to the thrower when thrown correctly.

Boomerangs have often been made of wood. There is evidence, though, that the first boomerangs may have been made of bone. Today, boomerangs can be made from a wide variety of materials, including wood, plastic and space-age composite materials.

Most modern boomerangs are returning boomerangs. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Most of them are used for sport. There are many boomerang competitions around the world every year.

Throwers compete in all sorts of skill areas, such as farthest throw, accuracy of return and longest time aloft. David Schummy of Australia holds the Guinness World Record for longest boomerang throw at an incredible 1,401.5 feet!

 

112 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (25 votes, avg. 3.72 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
    • Way to go, Rahul! We’ll all have to return (like a boomerang…ha!) to Wonderopolis tomorrow to see what awesome things we’ll be learning about! We can’t wait! :-)

  1. I think that boomerangs are so cool. I’ve tried to throw a boomerang, but I ended up hitting the house. Better luck next time maybe. Thank you!!

    • Thanks for sharing about your boomerang experience, Cassidy! We thought it might be easy to learn to throw, but after seeing the video for today’s Wonder, and hearing about your experience, we know it’s going to take some practice and patience! We’re up for the challenge, though, and we hope you are, too! :-)

    • Hi, Drake! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about boomerangs! We thought it was AWESOME to learn some ways boomerangs can be used or have been used in the past! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion about today’s Wonder, Devan! We appreciate your comment and hope you have fun learning in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  2. They don’t really come back to you, so that is my answer to the question. They never comeback ever unless you hit a tree or something like that.. and you know your math…

    • Happy Thursday, Sydney! We appreciate your comment today! Thanks so much for sharing what you think about boomerangs! :-)

    • We’re sure it will be WONDERful, Kamryn! Thanks so much for leaving us a comment today and letting us know you thought today’s Wonder was cool! :-)

    • It makes us super happy to know that you thought today’s Wonder of the Day® was COOL, Emma! Thanks for sharing your comment with us today! :-)

    • Did you like the funny joke that a “stick” is what you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back, Kassy? It made us laugh! Thanks for sharing something you learned by exploring today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We think that’s an AWESOME guess, Stefani and KD! We’re proud of you guys for always trying to guess what the next Wonder will be…it’s FUN to WONDER! :-)

    • What a neat way to think about throwing boomerangs, Monkey! It is a little like math (we think math is super fun, too, by the way)! We appreciate your comment today! :-)

    • We think YOU are an AWESOME Wonder Friend for leaving us a comment today and sharing how much you like boomerangs and learning in Wonderopolis, Gloria! Have a WONDERful day! :-)

    • Hello, “I AM LEGEND!” We’re glad you liked today’s Wonder! Thanks for leaving us this “LEGENDARY” comment today to let us know! :-)

  3. 6 students in our class have a boomerang. Is tomorrow’s wonder about why we call the wrong number sometimes? We like watching a channel called Boomerang. The video was neat to watch. We liked your stick joke : ) Have an awesome day!

    • Thanks for letting us know you liked the video for today’s Wonder and that some of you even have boomerangs of your very own, Mr. Draper’s Class! That is SO NEAT! We’re glad you liked the stick joke, too! It made us “LOL!” :-)

  4. Hi WONDER friends. How are you? I loved learning about boomerangs. :-) I have a boomerang but I threw it in the house so now it is behind the tv. I never threw it so that it came back. But now I learned from you guys you must throw it a secret way. Have fun WONDERing, good bye.

    • We are having a WONDERful day, Cameron! Thanks so much for asking! We really enjoyed hearing about your boomerang story! Maybe you can practice learning to throw it outside sometime soon? :-)

  5. We liked the boomerang video!

    We think tomorrow’s wonder might be about solicitors calling or prank calls.

    • That’s a GREAT guess about tomorrow’s Wonder, Miss Kirsten’s Kindergarten GT Class! Thanks for sharing it with us today, and thanks for letting us know you liked the boomerang video! We did, too! :-)

  6. Hi wonderopolis. I hope you have a great day. Who invented boomerangs? How was a designer on a boomerangs? How do they make boomerangs? They are really fun to play with. What was the fist boomerang? I think boomerangs really come back to you if you throw it right. I wonder how many kinds of boomerangs they make. I Wonder do boomerangs go around the tree all the time? I think yes, because the would make go around the tree a lot of times. I wonder how do they come back to you in the right angle to make to come bake to you? I wonder how high do they go?

    • WOW, Taylor! You sure did a LOT of WONDERing about boomerangs today! We’re not sure about the answers to your questions…we’ll both have to do some more AWESOME WONDERing about them! Thank you so much for sharing such a GREAT comment with us today! We really liked reading it! :-)

  7. Hi wonderopolis. I never knew that boomerangs used to be a weapon. Is there going to be a wonder about something like this How long do boomerangs stay in the air?

    • Thanks for sharing a cool fact you learned about boomerangs today, Emily! We think that ROCKS! We invite you to go on a Wonder Journey of your own to find the answer to your question about how long boomerangs stay in the air! We know there is a record for the world’s longest boomerang throw, maybe there is one about the time a boomerang stayed in the air, too? :-)

  8. Boomerangs are really cool! I am looking at this website with some students. We want to make some and see if they come back to us!

    • That sounds like so much FUN, Ms. B.! Please let us know how your boomerangs fly and if they come back! We think you guys ROCK for trying something new and learning more about how boomerangs work today! :-)

  9. Hi Wonderopolis. Two new vocabulary words I learned are Guinness World record. Also I learned the word Wings. Two new facts I learned are boomerangs don’t always come back to you. I also learned that they were made 30,000 years ago. A question I have is If there is still a Boomerang that is 30,000 years ago how much money is it worth?

    Team unger 6

    • We think it would be AWESOME to find a boomerang that old, Team Unger 6! It would probably be worth a lot of money to a museum, but the cultural and historical value for society would be worth even MORE! Thanks for sharing your comment with us. We liked the facts and vocab words you picked to share! :-)

  10. Returning boomerangs have a special curved shape and two or more wings that will spin to create unbalanced aerodynamic forces. These forces — sometimes called “lift” — cause the boomerang’s path to curve in an elliptical shape, so that it will return to the thrower when thrown correctly.

    • We think it’s great that you shared a part of today’s Wonder you thought was interesting, Borshay! Thanks so much for WONDERing with us about boomerangs! :-)

    • We’re super glad to hear that you thought today’s Wonder was great, Sara! We hope you learned LOTS of cool new facts about boomerangs! :-)

    • That’s a really super guess, Lima Bean Machine! We’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s Wonder to see if your guess was correct! :-)

    • You’re right, E.B.! We think the expert in the video for today’s Wonder could probably get his boomerang to return more than the average person, though! He was super skilled at throwing a boomerang! :-)

    • It looks like you and Wonder Friend, Alyssa, sure like ponies, Jenna! We think that’s AWESOME! We’re not sure what tomorrow’s Wonder will be about…the surprise of discovering each new Wonder is so much FUN! :-)

  11. I once had a boomerang and and it did not come back, but I did not have much practice. So, if you see a boomerang clap so the boomerang can come back, I think. HAVE A HAPPY thursday keep on wondering.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your boomerang story with us, Kelly! We really DID have a happy Thursday! Do you know why? It’s because we got to hear from WONDERful Wonder Friends like YOU today! That ALWAYS helps us have a GREAT day! :-)

  12. I like that video. (Emily)

    Boomerangs are really cool! I want to have a boomerang! (Evan)

    We are sending you a big boomerang high-five so that it comes back to us!

    We love you Wonderopolis…you’re cool!

    KF Dragons

    • Are you guys ready, KF Dragons? We’re sending back the BIG BOOMERANG HIGH-FIVE…here it comes…did you catch it? That was FUN! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about today’s Wonder, Emily and Evan! We think you and all the WONDERful KF Dragons are AWESOME! :-)

  13. Hi Wonderopolis! I have boomerangs at my church. We played a game with them. I did not know that boomerangs were used as weapons. I did not know that they are from 10,000 years ago. Once I threw a boomerang and it did not come back.

    • You sure learned some cool new facts about boomerangs today, Molly! That’s really AWESOME! Thank you for sharing them with us today, and thanks for letting us know about your own boomerang experience! :-)

  14. Hi wonderopolis,

    That was a great wonder about boomerangs!
    New vocabulary words I learned are aerodynamic and elliptical. I never knew that the longest boomerang throw is 1,401.5 feet. I wonder why not all boomerangs come back? I would like to have more wonders like this one.

    • Hello, Team McNeil 13! We appreciate hearing that you enjoyed this Wonder and that you would like to explore more Wonders like this in the future! We think it takes a LOT of practice to learn to throw a boomerang the correct way in order for it to come back. It is definitely a skill that has to be learned! Thanks so much for sharing the cool vocab words and facts you learned today, too! :-)

    • We can’t wait to find out what tomorrow’s Wonder will be, Alice! We like your guess for what it might be about, too! :-)

    • We think boomerangs are really neat, too, Annie! Thank you for saying you thought today’s Wonder was AWESOME! We really appreciate hearing that! :-)

    • That’s OK, Halei! Join us in Wonderopolis tomorrow and we’ll discover what the new Wonder of the Day® is together! :-)

    • You’re right about that, Saad! Thanks for visiting this Wonder of the Day® and leaving us another AWESOME comment! :-)

  15. Hey there Wonderopolis! :)
    This is an awesome wonder about boomerangs! I learned two new words. They are “elliptical” and “sheer”. (This was a really cool video, by the way.) I never knew that a boomerang could be used as a hunting stick. I also never knew that a boomerang was over 30,000 years old. Do you know if there is more than one way to throw a boomerang and still have it come back to you? Anyways, this is a WONDERful wonder.
    Wonderopolis fills me with WONDER!! :)

    • It makes us SUPER happy to hear that Wonderopolis fills you with WONDER, Team Unger 7! We agree that it was AWESOME to learn about boomerangs, too! We think there are probably some different ways to throw boomerangs and still have them come back you you, but we don’t know what those different ways might be. We are WONDERing about that now, too! We liked learning about all the interesting uses for boomerangs, and we hope you did, too! :-)

    • That’s a fun guess about tomorrow’s Wonder, Mrs. Wilbanks! Thanks for sharing it with everyone in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  16. Hi Wonderopolis,

    I think that the video is AWESOME. In the video, I learned how to throw a boomerang.
    I’ve thrown a boomerang before but it never returned. I was happy to learn that not all boomerangs return and people used to use boomerangs as a decoy long time ago. And I like to make a boomerang that can return very well.
    I wonder if people still use boomerangs to hunt. Then I want to TRY!

    Team McNeil #19

    • Do you know what, Team McNeil #19? We WONDER if people still use boomerangs to hunt, too! Thanks so much for visiting this Wonder today and for leaving us this cool comment to share some of the facts you learned about boomerangs! :-)

  17. Hi Wonderopolis,

    I learned 2 new words from the article
    1:aerodynamic 2:leisure. Did you know boomerangs don’t always come back! Also boomerangs originated from Australia! Can boomerangs be metal? Are they always wood?

    Thank you for listening, Wonderopolis.

    • Those are really GREAT words to add to your vocabulary, Team McNeil 10! We liked your questions about boomerangs, so we did some extra WONDERing about them! We found that boomerangs can be made out of more materials than just wood! There are metal boomerangs and high-tech plastic boomerangs, too! Thanks for checking out this Wonder and leaving us another AWESOME comment! :-)

  18. Wow!!!! This site is so cool. Thank you for the information, it really helped me a lot because my dad bought me one and it never came back!!!!!

    • Hello there, Saraya! We’re glad you think Wonderopolis is cool…thanks for letting us know that! We think it takes a lot of practice to learn to throw a boomerang in such a way that it will always come back to you. We encourage you to keep practicing with your boomerang! Have a WONDERful day! :-)

  19. I really love boomerangs. I learned in this article that boomerangs don’t always come back. I thought that boomerangs always did come back. I also learned that the first boomerangs were made thousands of years ago. I learned 2 words. We learned the word elliptical in science. Another word I learned was aerodynamic. It sounds cool. I still have one question even after reading this article. The question is…
    Which countries used the first boomerangs invented? Thank you.

    • Hello, Team Unger 3! There have been historical records of ancient boomerangs being found in different places all over the world, like Europe, Egypt and Australia! We think it’s interesting to WONDER about the origins of the boomerang, and we’re glad you do, too! Thanks for sharing your comment with us today! :-)

    • It makes us really happy to hear that you learned something cool about boomerangs by exploring this Wonder of the Day® about them, Jasmine! Thanks so much for letting us know! :-)

    • Hi, Seeses Thanks so much for visiting Wonderopolis today! We’re not sure if boomerangs were the only weapon used, but we bet there were some others! We’ll both have to do a bit more WONDERing about that one! :-)

    • We’re glad you think so, Jarmarius! Thank you for being an AWESOME Wonder Friend and visiting today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • Hi there, Dallas! Thanks so much for sharing what you think about this Wonder of the Day® on boomerangs! We appreciate your comment and hope you have an AWESOME day! :-)

    • HOORAY, our friend Ryan is joining us today! We’re glad you learned something new about the boomerang today, Ryan! Have a WONDERful Tuesday! :)

  20. I have a boomerang that my dad got for me when he went to Australia for a trip. It is really cool and it’s actually made of wood.

    • WOW, how cool, Ryk! That sounds like a great present to receive from such a cool trip! We bet your dad was excited to present that awesome boomerang to you! :)

  21. Hello wonderopolis I was looking and you guys don’t seem to have that many visitors so I decided that I would come on every few days and keep in touch.

    • That’s so thoughtful of you, Ryk! Thanks! It’s great to Wonder with our friends– we are so glad you shared your comment! We Wonder if you have tested your boomerang… does it come back? :)

    • Hey Wonder Friend! Boomerangs are pretty neat, especially if you have one that comes back! Did you try to make a new boomerang after your dog chewed it up? :)

    • That’s why we’re here, Wonder Friend Ryk! We encourage you to Wonder– take your time! What’s your favorite topic to Wonder about? :)

  22. We really liked the boomerang joke and the movie was really cool and awesome. We really liked the way you speak, your accent is fun! Why didn’t the boomerang come directly back to the person who threw it? We want to have our own boomerangs now to throw around here. How come you have to throw the boomerang at a certain angle? Thanks for sharing the wonder!

    • Thanks for sharing your comments today, Ms. Weyhrauch’s Class! It’s so much fun to listen to other’s accents and compare them to our own! It seems like the second boomerang didn’t work out like the first one– perhaps it takes more practice than we thought! We hope you get some boomerangs of your own, or you can do some more WONDERing about them to learn how to perfectly throw them! Keep up the great work, Wonder Friends! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Share

  • Wonderopolis on Facebook
  • Wonderopolis on Pinterest
  • Print

Have you ever wondered…

  • Do boomerangs always come back?
  • What are boomerangs used for?
  • How old are boomerangs?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to make your own boomerang? If you have woodworking tools and an adult to help you, you might be able to make a real wooden boomerang.

But don’t worry if you don’t have those tools, you can make your own boomerang out of simpler materials. Check out the links below for instructions on how to make a boomerang out of a variety of common materials:

 

Still Wondering

Check out EDSITEment!’s Australian Aboriginal Art and Storytelling lesson to learn about the Aboriginal storytelling tradition through the spoken word and through visual culture.

 

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day will definitely make you think twice the next time you pick up the phone!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.