17 Fun Popsicle Stick Activities that Move!

So much engineering can happen with cheap popsicle sticks!

This page has all the basic moves you need to get started with popsicle stick activities that teach engineering! The videos below are the most basic moves.

You might also want to see the intermediate and advanced projects! This is a fun rabbit hole to fall into!

Teaching TinkerCAD

TinkerCAD is easy to learn and has powerful tools! I use it to extend this lesson.

Here is how I teach it to my students:

This resource also contains:

Safely Drilling a Popsicle Stick

The video on the right will explain how a 1/8th inch drill bit will make the perfect hole for a standard sized skewer as a pin.

Both skewers and popsicle sticks can be easily cut with a tin snips. Cardboard scissors also work.

The Basic Movements and Configurations

We do extensive brainstorming I before students start this popsicle stick project. If you have a 3d printer available, I recommend having students augment their projects with 3D printed TinkerCAD projects. You can learn how I help students learn how to use TinkerCAD.

The ‘Slide’ uses skewers and popsicle sticks to make a project slide!
The “Flapper” is held in both hands and will flap left and right.
This flipping project just has a hinge made from a skewer and a cut up straw!
The ‘Tipper’ will fall back and forth and are simple to make.
This simple slide project will help students to make a strong connection with cardboard.
The ‘Jump’ is a fun project that uses similar popsicle sticks! Easy and impressive!
This popsicle stick activity is simple but highly customizable!
The fidget is a more challenging than it looks. Watch (and listen) for a few key tips.
Watch this popsicle stick activity will wave up and down!

Intermediate popsicle stick activities

After students finish their first popsicle stick activity, students can move on to the intermediate popsicle stick activities. These are simple once you have some experience!

Intermediate Popsicle stick activities
This is a simple and powerful popsicle stick activity!
https://youtu.be/0G9fjWbqlMM
https://youtu.be/N74GzEsP3BU
https://youtu.be/XNjku23aGOg

Advanced popsicle stick activities

Advanced students can move on to the advanced popsicle stick activities. These are impressive projects, let’s make something awesome!

https://youtu.be/RcZj_dhxOok
This is a simple and powerful popsicle stick activity!
https://youtu.be/eCTiU6DX9Z0

About teaching these popsicle stick activities!

Puzzle Shift Create is all about helping students gain experiences that will help them be more creative, develop a resilient mindset, and engage in their own learning.

General advice for teaching projects in a middle school classroom:

It is difficult to get started doing projects like these. As much as I love fun, fast, and easy projects, I recommend talking to students about how difficult projects become easier and easier as you gain experience. Students are often reluctant to start a second project after their first project was a struggle, so be sure to let them start with a simple first project, have a positive experience, and grow from there. Patience is the key!

These projects are fantastic additions to ‘designer’ projects on this site. Once students realize that their projects can move, the sky is the limit! Be sure to encourage them to take their time and not rush. Students are much more likely to give up or lose interest if they start too fast and do not give their projects the time that they need.

As a teacher, you will get better at teaching these topics as the years go by. Be patient with yourself and model your own learning to your students!