How to make exploding popsicle sticks

Exploding popsicle sticks are way fun! Your kids will love it. But, first, you gotta figure out how to do it. As a cub scout leader, making a chain of exploding popsicle sticks is one of the requirements for the “Make it Move” adventure. I admittedly wasn’t very excited about it, until I realized it wasn’t as hard as I thought.

popsicle sticks
Chain of exploding popsicle sticks

Watch the popsicle sticks in action

Before you make your own exploding popsicle sticks, check out this video of what our looked like. My boys loved it!

Get started in six steps

All you will need to get started is a package of jumbo colored wood craft sticks.  Then, follow the six easy steps outlined below. Here’s a FREE PRINTABLE – Exploding Popsicle Sticks instructions if you want to print them out.

After you complete step six, just keep placing the popsicle sticks under and over as you make the chain. The key is to ALWAYS apply pressure on the most recent stick that you place on the chain otherwise it will explode. Here’s a great video that shows these steps as well.

exploding popsicle sticks, cub scouts
Several boys in my cub scout troop watching our exploding popsicle sticks in action.

Tips and tricks

  • Only use JUMBO craft sticks. The regular-sized popsicle sticks are aren’t as flexible.
  • Colored popsicle sticks make it easier to follow the steps, but you can use plain popsicle sticks if you’re in a pinch.
  • Continually adjust the popsicle sticks as you go so they are aligned correctly.
  • Try setting up your exploding popsicle sticks on carpet. It makes it easier to place the sticks.
  • If you need to step away from your popsicle stick chain, use another popsicle stick to hold down the end sticks where you were applying pressure. Then, just pull that stick out when you’re ready and watch it explode.
Two of our cub scouts working together to make exploding popsicle sticks.

Let me know how you liked these exploding popsicle sticks in the comments below.

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