Clothespin Bridge: Discovery at Home

What you need:

  • Clothespins.
  • Bucket or bowl.


  1. Test different ways the clothespins can connect to each other.
  2. Test how the clothespins can connect to the bucket.
  3. Connect the clothespins together so that they connect on each side of the bucket creating a bridge from one side to the other.
  4. Experiment with the strength of your creation. Does it hold a small toy?
  5. Add layers or redesign the bridge so that it holds more weight.
  6. Run tests and improve your bridge each time.

Ways to Expand the Activity:

  • Add a time constraint. Can you create a bridge that holds weight in seven minutes?
  • Add one other material. What happens when popsicle sticks are added? Or straws? Does it make it easier or more difficult to create?

What Kids Learn:

  • Density is what decides whether an object sinks or floats in water. If something is less dense than water, it floats. If something is more dense than water, it sinks.
  • Basic engineering skills. Engineers solve problems with constraints. They learn to solve problems by using the engineering design process: asking questions, coming up with solutions, building, testing and improving.
  • Fine motor skills. Kids practice using the small muscles in their hands later used for writing.
  • Experimentation! When kids experiment, they're learning how to learn. Failure is an important part of experimenting, so let kids try things that won’t work. It’s how they figure things out!