A few months ago, the kids and I ran across something intriguing—stick bombs. Made from woven popsicle sticks, they were a blend of art, math, science and just enough of the mischievous element to make the whole premise fascinating.
Like dominos, kids can spend hours setting up sticks to cause a chain reaction. But whereas dominos rely on one domino falling into the next, stick bombs are powered by tension. You create the tension by weaving the sticks together. When released, the sticks fly up into the air. It’s an engineering feat of awesomeness.
- Large craft sticks – tongue depressor size
- A large flat surface area like the floor or a cleared table
Essentially you’re weaving three vertical lines and multiple horizontal lines as demonstrated in the steps above. Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it quick!
A couple notes about this activity
1. The kids will need a little help with this one. I found an extra pair of hands necessary as we built our structure.
2. Get the tongue depressor size craft sticks at the craft store. They work best.
3. The key thing to remember is that the vertical sticks run in an over/under pattern as seen in the photos above. Whenever the outside vertical sticks are on top, you’ll run a horizontal stick under them and over the center vertical line.
4. Weave sticks until you’ve reached the desired length. End by placing a horizontal stick across the vertical ones to hold the stick bomb in place until you’re ready to release. When you’re ready, simply remove the last piece.