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How to Make a Clothespin Airplane Using Clothespins and Popsicle Sticks

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If your kids love STEM activities and engineering activities for kids, they will love this clothespin airplane building challenge. What kind of  airplane can you make?

For this engineering activity, I challenged my kids to see what sort of airplane they could create using clothespins and popsicle sticks.

I really couldn’t believe how well the airplanes turned out!

If you want to make your own wooden airplanes, you can’t go wrong with these materials!

Learn how to build a wooden airplane with just clothespins and popsicle sticks! Clothespin airplanes are a fun engineering challenge for kids!

How to Make a Plane Out of Popsicle Sticks

This activity is simple, but there is so much to learn! We did this engineering challenge as part of a STEM unit around the Wright Brothers, the math and science of flight, and the history of aviation.

Supplies for the Clothespin Airplane Craft

How to Make Airplanes out of Wooden Clothespins

First, we discussed airplanes and the history of flight before beginning our clothespin airplane challenge. We learned how older planes flew and how planes fly today.

Monkey decided she wanted to make a modern plane and we made the WWI plane together.

The challenge was to build a realistic airplane using clothespins and popsicle sticks. Additionally, Monkey wanted her airplane to be able to fly.

If your kids love STEM activities and engineering challenges, they will love this clothespin airplane building challenge. What kind of airplane can you make?

Airplane Science for Kids

For inspiration, we read the airplane page of How Things Work, and we also looked at pictures of old WWI planes and the original Wright Flyer.

The Sopwith Triplane was the inspiration for our joint design. Here is a bit more about the science behind why airplanes can fly.

First, we assembled our supplies. We ended up cutting our popsicle sticks with scissors. That worked well to create the angles we needed. We only used wood from the popsicle sticks and clothespins.

Use our designs as inspiration for your own clothespin airplane creations.

elementary stem challenge cards

How to Make Modern Clothespin Airplanes

  • 2 popsicle sticks
  • 1 clothespin (spring removed)
If your kids love STEM activities and engineering challenges, they will love this clothespin airplane building challenge. What kind of airplane can you make?

We assembled our planes with hot glue. When the glue dried, we painted our planes with acrylic paints.

Monkey wanted her plane to look fast, so she chose red and yellow.

How to Make a Wooden Airplane: Sopwith Triplane

  • 5 popsicle sticks
  • 1 clothespin
  • 5 pony beads
If your kids love STEM activities and engineering challenges, they will love this clothespin airplane building challenge. What kind of airplane can you make?

We decided to go with the precise colors of the Sopwith Triplane to stick with tradition.

How to Fly a Clothespin Airplane

After the planes dried, we launched them into the air like you would a paper airplane.

Put something soft under the landing area to prevent a fatal crash for your plane that you won’t be able to recover from!

As expected, Monkey’s plane flew much better than the historical design.

Her plane actually flew quite well for how heavy it was. The pointed nose and the wide wingspan kept it aloft longer than I thought it would.

The other plane, I guess, would need a motor to keep it in the air.

elementary stem challenge cards

More Engineering Activities for Kids

Egg Crate Airplane Engineering Project

How to Design a Paper Airplane Engineering Challenge

The Ultimate Egg Drop Engineering Project

Cardboard Glider

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