Spaghetti Box Kids

Strategies, Tips and Activities for Learning

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Penny Games

September 13th, 2009 · 13 Comments

Ever wonder what games to play with pennies? Here’s some old fashioned penny games that are easy to set up and easy to play. The games use a penny launcher that you assemble with your child. The launcher only takes a minute to make and requires nothing more than things you already have around the house.


-empty wrapping paper tube

What to Do:penny games

Step on half of a wrapping paper tube so that it flattens out. (It will partially return to it’s original position.) Place a piece of tape over the very end to keep it flat. Be sure to leave room for the penny to roll out.

Now lift the the tube several feet in the air and deposit a penny. The slot-end should be on the floor in the 6:00 position. As the penny slides down the tube it will begin to straighten up until it is completely upright by the time it leaves the tube.

Fidget #1 –In no time at all you will see your child develop a strong desire to roll the perfect penny every time. Here’s something helpful you can do together: tape the top end of the tube to a chair or stack of books. This will steady the bottom of the tube in the 6:00 position.

Fidget #2 –Periodically re-flatten the bottom half of the tube to keep it in tip-top condition. In other words, if your tube is four feet long, flatten the bottom two feet (by stepping on it). This will allow the penny to gradually stand up as it approaches the bottom of the tube.

around the house kids activitiesFidget #3Tape two pencils in an X position. The pencils should be the same length and have good erasers. (New ones work best.) Now prop the X under the tube with the erasers on the floor. This will help to steady the tube in its optimal position. It also just looks cool.

Games to Play with Pennies

During the course of tinkering with the penny launcher, here are some games to play:

  • See who can roll the furthest penny. Mark the spot with a piece of tape so you can show mom or dad later.
  • Pennies vs dimes. Roll ten pennies then ten dimes. See which coins roll the furthest.
  • Knock down targets. Simple card houses work great.
  • Two people sit on opposite sides of the room, each with a penny launcher. See who can be the first to roll a penny through a central tunnel. Make tunnel out of two stacks of books with a ruler on top.

. . .

Once you’ve got the hang of rolling the pennies, here are some things you can do to jazz up the games:

how to make a penny launcher1) Place a roll of masking tape under the bottom end of the tube. To do this, simply peel back a bit of tape and roll it onto itself. This gives you a sticky lump on top. Now place the end of the tube on top of the sticky lump. Be sure the end of the tube is in the 6:00 position. (Top of tube must be secured to stationary object–chair, stack of books, etc.) Result: penny bounces into action.

2) Make a ramp. To do this, simply tape one end of an envelope to the floor. Now place a book (or rolled up tube of paper) under the envelope so that it slants upward. Place the ramp a foot or so from the bottom of the penny launcher. Result: penny jumps over the ramp and continues rolling upright in most cases.

3) Make bumps. One way to do this is to tape spaghetti sticks onto the floor. Position sticks perpendicular to the launcher. Space them however you see fit. Result: bumps challenge the efficiency of the penny roll.

There’s no end to the variations of penny games to play once you have your launcher ready to go. The games are wholesome in nature, simple to play, and hold your child’s full attention from beginning to end. Best of all, your child will love tinkering with the mechanics of the penny launcher in an effort to bring about perfect results every time.

Tags: Kids’ Activities

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Deborah // Sep 13, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    My grand kids are going to love this. I really like the fact that the materials are things that I don’t have to run to the store to pick up. Thanks!

  • 2 Spaghetti Box Kids // Sep 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Hope they have fun. Forgot to mention–if you have pets, it’s a good idea to put them in a different part of the house. They go crazy chasing the pennies!

  • 3 Christie // Sep 15, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    These look like fun penny games, and of course the kids will think of endless variations. It’s also the kind of thing an adult will really enjoy playing with children, as we try to make pennies do what we want them to do.

  • 4 Spaghetti Box Kids // Sep 16, 2009 at 1:24 am

    You’re right, these are fun games with tons of variations. Thanks for the feedback. All the Best –AV

  • 5 celticmusicfan // Sep 22, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I remember playing this game as a child but your instruction is more detailed. And with a lot of variations.Great post.

  • 6 Spaghetti Box Kids // Sep 22, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. I tried to make the instructions simple yet detailed, and to provide some fun variations. Once you get going with this activity–inventing new variations soon becomes the central focus.

  • 7 Taylor // Apr 12, 2012 at 2:08 am

    this thing really works thanks

  • 8 Spaghetti Box Kids // Apr 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Taylor, Thanks for weighing in. I appreciate the feedback. Good luck. –AV

  • 9 Taj // Dec 27, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Hello it is a very fun game to play.

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  • 11 Spaghetti Box Kids // Apr 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm


    Your site loads quickly in both Firefox and IE.

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  • 12 Jasmin // Jan 2, 2014 at 1:54 am

    I recommend this blog frequently. Your games and activities are an inspiration that have helped fill the hours in our household. Thanks!

  • 13 Penny Games - DeepFUN — DeepFUN // Aug 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    […] then there’s this little collection of penny games for kids, and another if you click on the penny […]

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