Balancing Activities for Kids: Balance the Popsicle Sticks

In this homemade balancing activity, kids try to stack popsicle sticks on a wobbly platform without it tipping over. It’s super easy to make and was an absolute hit with both my kids. Such a fun way to explore physics and perfect for a rainy day!

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Homemade Game: Balance the Popsicle Sticks~ Buggy and Buddy

Lucy and Theo had so much fun with our last balancing activity (our free balancing robot printable) that I just had to come up with another fun balancing game! I took a trip to my local craft store for some inspiration, and once I spotted a half foam ball, I knew just what I’d make!

For this game you’ll be creating a platform for building and stacking that’s attached to a half sphere so it wobbles. Children will stack popsicle sticks on top while trying to keep the platform balanced so it doesn’t tip and knock them all off (which was actually Theo’s favorite part)!

 

Homemade Game: Balance the Popsicle Sticks~ Buggy and Buddy

The activity lends itself to all kinds of learning! At the end of the post you’ll find a list of different learning activities you can use with the balancing platform and popsicle sticks. (This post contains affiliate links.)

Materials for Making Balancing Game

How to Make the Balancing Game

1. You’ll start by attaching your half sphere to the bottom of your cardboard circle. This is actually the trickiest part because you want to try to get it balanced perfectly. (What worked for me was first lightly taping the half sphere to the circle and testing it out on the table. If it wasn’t quite balanced, I’d make small adjustments and test it out again. Once I found the perfect spot to attach the half sphere, I traced around it on the cardboard so I’d know where to attach it permanently.)

create your wobbling platform

 

2. After tracing the half sphere, remove it from the cardboard circle. Add glue around the top edge of the sphere and then glue it onto the cardboard circle being sure to line it up perfectly inside your traced circle. If you want to use it immediately, you might attach it with glue dots or tape. Otherwise, you can use liquid glue and wait for it to dry.

make sure it's balanced

Playing the Balance the Popsicle Sticks Game

This was seriously so much fun! I placed the wobbly platform onto the floor and scattered some popsicle sticks around it. (We started out just using regular craft sticks.) Then I let the kids explore!

exploring balance with a homemade toy and popsicle sticks

 

Lucy and Theo started by taking turns adding one popsicle stick at a time to the platform. They loved seeing how many they could get onto the platform before it tipped over.

Then they decided to try to see how high they could stack their popsicle sticks.

Seeing how high they can stack the popsicle sticks before the platform tumbles over

 

Later I added some jumbo craft sticks and mini craft sticks. It added a whole new dimension to the game. Now they had to consider not just the placement of the sticks for balance, but also he weight of each stick. They also used the different sticks to create designs!

trying balancing with a variety of craft sticks

Learning Activities Using the Balancing Game

1. How many popsicle sticks can you stack onto the platform without it tipping over? This homemade game lends itself perfectly to counting practice. Often when Theo was placing his popsicle sticks onto the platform I’d hear him counting- such a great way to practice one-to-one correspondence! Theo is still working on counting to 5 so having him do the activity with Lucy was a great learning experience for him since they’d often count together.

2. How high can you stack the popsicle sticks? Children can estimate how high they think they’ll be able to stack the sticks and then try it out. It’s fun to see them brainstorm different formations to try to see which is most successful!

how high can you stack the popsicle sticks before they become unbalanced

 

3. Can you use the popsicle sticks to create any letters of the alphabet? Which are the hardest to make without tipping? Lucy and Theo both enjoyed trying to create different letters. Some are harder to make balance than you think!

Build letters of the alphabet with popsicle sticks.

 

4. Use the popsicle sticks to create shapes. A fun way to practice shapes is by make them with popsicle sticks, and it’s even more fun trying to make them on a wobbly platform!

 

5. Create designs with your popsicle sticks. This balancing game allows for all kinds of creativity. The kids loved making a variety of pictures and designs with the different craft sticks.

 

6. Can you create a design that will balance? Hold the platform with one hand so that it doesn’t move. Use your free hand to create a design with the popsicle sticks on the platform. Predict if the design you created will balance. Then let go and see what happens!

Homemade Game: Balance the Popsicle Sticks~ Buggy and Buddy

 

7. What other materials can you use on the balancing platform? Later in the day I noticed Lucy trying other objects on the wobbling platform to see if she could get them to balance!

 

8. Can you make your own balancing platform? Older children might enjoy actually creating their own homemade balancing game. After decorating their cardboard circle, they can explore balance by attaching the half sphere to the circle themselves.

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Comments

  1. I’m sure my kids are going to enjoy this activity! Thanks for sharing your idea!

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  1. […] Balancing Popsicle Stick Game from Buggy and Buddy […]

  2. […] If you would like to know how to make your own Balance the Popsicle Sticks Game, visit this tutorial on the Buggy and Buddy blog. […]

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