Did you know that you can build an exploding chain reaction by weaving together popsicle sticks or craft sticks? I saw this post on Pinterest from Mom Trusted, and I knew that the boys would want to try this!
(Update: Colored sticks make it even more fun!)
The chain stays together as long as you hold down the end that you are building onto. Release the end and…
There is a video of our chain reaction in action at the end of the post!
The post on Mom Trusted said that the chain was pretty easy to build. We found that it was actually kind of tricky to get started. I didn’t want to be defeated by this silly project, so I was determined to get it right! We put it aside for awhile, and when we came back to it, Aidan and I figured out the chain right away. Getting started is the hard part – once you master that, the chain is not so bad.
This chain reaction is usually called the cobra weave. Here’s how to build one:
We found that wide craft sticks work better than the skinny sticks.
Step 1: Arrange 4 craft sticks into this pattern. Make them look exactly like this.
Step 2: Add another stick to the top to secure the end. This stick must go diagonally across to hold down the ends of the top horizontal stick and the right vertical stick. If it won’t hold them both down, slide those two sticks out farther until they are successfully held down by the stick you added.
This next photo also shows the first chain stick added.
Step 3: Build the chain by adding craft sticks, one at a time to each side. Each stick should go over one stick, and under one stick.
If a video would help, you can check out the post at Mom Trusted. They have a great instructional video posted as well as a video of some kids who built a chain reaction with 1,000 sticks! That one is totally worth watching.
Our longest chain so far was only about 200 sticks. We must get to the store and buy more sticks!
I would recommend this project for ages 8 and up, depending on the kid. Aidan is 9, turning 10 in July, and he was able to figure out the process. If you’re willing to do the building yourself, any age would love watching it explode! You can be the coolest mom on the block this summer with this project!
And now, here’s a video of our largest chain in action:
Update: We have added a new post with two more chain reactions! One with rubber bands that adds even more power, and one that is perfect for younger kids. You can find them here –> Simple Chain Reactions