For the final day of our Craft Closet Boredom Busters series, here are four fun tricks to do with a penny and just a few other household supplies.  One is a magic trick, one is a brain bender, and two are neat science demonstrations.  All of them are fun to try, and kids will enjoy impressing their siblings and friends!

4 Awesome Tricks to do with a Penny

Trick #1:  Penny Drop

Fill a glass halfway with water.  Place an index card over the top of the glass and stack up 4-5 pennies.
Five Tricks to Do with a Penny

Give the card a good flick, and the card will fly away while the pennies drop straight down into the glass!

Tricks to do with a Penny

How it Works:  The card flies away from the force of your finger when you flick it, but inertia keeps the pennies in place.  This is Newton’s first law of motion – an object at rest tends to stay at rest.  While the card is taking off, the pennies stay where they are and drop into the glass.

The boys were so impressed with this, and it wasn’t difficult to do.  My 6 year old was able to do the trick successfully by himself. Each of the boys had to have several turns making the pennies fall!  We just dried them off between turns.

Trick #2:  Make a Penny Disappear!

See this penny?

penny disappear 1 - Edited

First,  cover it up…

Tricks to do with a Penny

Then uncover it… And the penny is gone!

Tricks to do with a Penny

How it Works:  

To set up the trick, trace the mouth of a glass on white paper and cut it out.  Carefully glue the paper circle to the top of the glass. If you use something like Elmer’s glue (PVA glue for my UK friends), it will wash off when you’re done.

Tricks to do with a Penny

Then when you place the glass on top of a piece of white paper, the paper circle on the glass is not noticeable.  When you cover the penny with the glass, you also move the glass over to cover the penny.

The penny is hidden under the glass! Clever, huh?

Tricks to do with a Penny

Younger kids will be pretty obvious with this trick, but siblings will still be entertained!  Older kids can work on perfecting their moves to hide the trick a little better.  Creating some type of a distraction would be a good tactic here.

Trick #3:  How many pennies will fit in a full glass of water?

Tricks to do with a Penny

Fill up a glass of water to the top.  I filled it full, but not so full that the water would rise above the rim of the glass because of surface tension.

Then start adding pennies, one at a time.

We were already past everyone’s guess and still going!

Tricks to do with a Penny

We made it to a mind blowing 74 pennies before the water spilled over the side.

Tricks to do with a Penny

How it Works:  Surface tension!

Trick #4:  Penny Mind Benders

Can you go from this configuration…

Tricks to do with a Penny

To this configuration in only 3 moves?  A move consists of moving two adjacent coins (coins that are next to each other) to a new location in the row.  You may not rotate the coins.

Tricks to do with a Penny

Want the solution?

Try it out first!

Okay, here it is…

First move these two coins:

Tricks to do with a PennyTo here:

Tricks to do with a Penny

Then move these two:

Tricks to do with a Penny

To this position.

Tricks to do with a Penny

The final move is to move the two pennies on the left side over to the right side.  Ta-da!

You can find several more coin puzzles here:  Coin Mind Benders  The boys (and Dad!) had a great time working through several of these.

Be sure to stop by the rest of the Craft Closet Boredom Buster posts!


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  1. Michelle Jun 27, 2015

    Man, I'm a sucker for stuff like this. I've always thought magic tricks and mind benders were so much fun. I can't wait to try these ideas with my preschooler and kindergartner. If I hadn't become an engineer, I think I would have wanted to be a magician.

    1. Sarah Jul 1, 2015

      LOL, I know! I had a great time with these too! That's why it's fun to have kids. Without them, I'd be stuck doing boring things!


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