Learn all about the First Law of Motion with a Coin Trick

Learn all about the First Law of Motion with a Coin Trick

Inside: This indoor kid activity has an element of unpredictability, a giggle factor, and a lot of science. Science? Yep! Learn all about gravity, inertia, and how to make inertia work for you, while having a load of fun.


All through the long Chicago winter, we keep the cabin fever at bay with a ton of fun indoor activities. We do a lot of kitchen science (like soap making and ice experiments) and sensory activities (like playdough and baking soda eruptions), but some of our absolute favorites are old-fashioned games. They keep my kids engaged and happy for a long time.

 

This activity has many different names — coin snatching, the Chinese elbow trick, coin teleportation, and coin illusion. It was a favorite of my husband when he was a kid. They didn’t stop at one coin, though, but added a second, third, and fourth, etc. Once you get the hang of this trick, you can keep adding coins. In fact, the world record is catching 328 coins. But if you have small children, then one coin is enough, so everyone can have fun and enjoy it.

 

All you need for Coin Snatching is a coin. However, if your kids are older, then add a piece of paper and a pen to keep score. I’ll explain below the different ways my kids like to play and score this game. And for your convenience, I’ve included our printable score cards.

 

This indoor kid activity has an element of unpredictability, a giggle factor, and a lot of science. Science? Yep! Learn all about gravity, inertia, and how to make inertia work for you, while having a load of fun. #kidsactivities #funlearningforkids #formoms #indooractivities #handsonlearning #scienceforkids #laughingkidslearn #kidminds #learningwell #keepingkidshappy #ideasforfamily #boredombusters #gravity #inertia #cabinfever

What you need

A coin

Paper and pen for scoring (or print our score cards)

 

What to do

This indoor kid activity has an element of unpredictability, a giggle factor, and a lot of science. Science? Yep! Learn all about gravity, inertia, and how to make inertia work for you, while having a load of fun. #kidsactivities #funlearningforkids #formoms #indooractivities #handsonlearning #scienceforkids #laughingkidslearn #kidminds #learningwell #keepingkidshappy #ideasforfamily #boredombusters #gravity #inertia #cabinfever

  • Bend your arm so that it rests on your shoulder and place a coin on your elbow. Notice on the photo that your arm is parallel to the floor. Makes sense since you don’t want the coin to fall off.

 

  • Without using your other hand, you are going to catch this coin in the hand of the same arm. (What? Don’t worry! You can do it. We haven’t met anyone yet who couldn’t learn it.)

This indoor kid activity has an element of unpredictability, a giggle factor, and a lot of science. Science? Yep! Learn all about gravity, inertia, and how to make inertia work for you, while having a load of fun. #kidsactivities #funlearningforkids #formoms #indooractivities #handsonlearning #scienceforkids #laughingkidslearn #kidminds #learningwell #keepingkidshappy #ideasforfamily #boredombusters #gravity #inertia #cabinfever

  • Drop your arm, and as your elbow moves from under the coin, your arm will be in the right spot to grab it before it falls. See the direction of an arrow on the photo above!

This indoor kid activity has an element of unpredictability, a giggle factor, and a lot of science. Science? Yep! Learn all about gravity, inertia, and how to make inertia work for you, while having a load of fun. #kidsactivities #funlearningforkids #formoms #indooractivities #handsonlearning #scienceforkids #laughingkidslearn #kidminds #learningwell #keepingkidshappy #ideasforfamily #boredombusters #gravity #inertia #cabinfever

The coin is in the hand!

This indoor kid activity has an element of unpredictability, a giggle factor, and a lot of science. Science? Yep! Learn all about gravity, inertia, and how to make inertia work for you, while having a load of fun. #kidsactivities #funlearningforkids #formoms #indooractivities #handsonlearning #scienceforkids #laughingkidslearn #kidminds #learningwell #keepingkidshappy #ideasforfamily #boredombusters #gravity #inertia #cabinfever

Video

What makes this work? Magic? Illusion?The Science of Coin Snatching

No.

Inertia.

Inertia is a scientific concept that means a body at rest will remain at rest. This is the first law of motion. Common sense tells you that when your elbow moves from under the coin, gravity pulls on the coin, and the coin should fall right away. However, inertia likes to keep motionless things where they are, which means the coin hangs in the air for a brief moment before it starts its downward descent. Since your hand is already moving (you started the motion when you moved the elbow from under the coin), it grabs the coin before it can fall.

We find inertia fascinating! How about you?

This indoor kid activity has an element of unpredictability, a giggle factor, and a lot of science. Science? Yep! Learn all about gravity, inertia, and how to make inertia work for you, while having a load of fun. #kidsactivities #funlearningforkids #formoms #indooractivities #handsonlearning #scienceforkids #laughingkidslearn #kidminds #learningwell #keepingkidshappy #ideasforfamily #boredombusters #gravity #inertia #cabinfeverScoring

This game can be played for hours. It’s not so much the age but the speed of reflexes that mean the difference between winning and losing. Grab a pen and paper and sketch a simple grid for scoring, or print our score cards. I print four cards per A4 page and keep a stack handy for our kids for when the inspiration will hit them.

Download: I keep all our printables in a Subscribers-Only Library of Resources. Drop your email HERE, and I will get the password to you right away. 

 

This indoor kid activity has an element of unpredictability, a giggle factor, and a lot of science. Science? Yep! Learn all about gravity, inertia, and how to make inertia work for you, while having a load of fun. #kidsactivities #funlearningforkids #formoms #indooractivities #handsonlearning #scienceforkids #laughingkidslearn #kidminds #learningwell #keepingkidshappy #ideasforfamily #boredombusters #gravity #inertia #cabinfever

Version A

Each player takes a turn catching the coin and keeps going until the coin falls. Write down the number of times the coin was caught next to the name of the player and move on to the next player.

When each player in a group has had a turn, it’s one round.

The player with the largest score wins the first round.

Finish all the rounds in the same manner.

The winner of the game is whoever wins the most rounds.

If you get a tie, just add a tie-breaker round.

This indoor kid activity has an element of unpredictability, a giggle factor, and a lot of science. Science? Yep! Learn all about gravity, inertia, and how to make inertia work for you, while having a load of fun. #kidsactivities #funlearningforkids #formoms #indooractivities #handsonlearning #scienceforkids #laughingkidslearn #kidminds #learningwell #keepingkidshappy #ideasforfamily #boredombusters #gravity #inertia #cabinfever

Version B

Each player gets only one chance to catch a coin. If the coin was caught, jot down a checkmark or a plus sign next to that person’s name. If the coin was not caught, add a cross or minus sign.

When each player in a group has had a turn, it’s one round.

Keep going. In my family, one game is ten rounds.

After ten rounds, count +s. The highest score = winner.

If you have a tie, add an extra round.

This indoor kid activity has an element of unpredictability, a giggle factor, and a lot of science. Science? Yep! Learn all about gravity, inertia, and how to make inertia work for you, while having a load of fun. #kidsactivities #funlearningforkids #formoms #indooractivities #handsonlearning #scienceforkids #laughingkidslearn #kidminds #learningwell #keepingkidshappy #ideasforfamily #boredombusters #gravity #inertia #cabinfever


Related

Are you looking for more gravity experiments? If your kids love Star Wars, they will enjoy using magnets to defy gravity.

 


Are You Looking for More Indoor Activities?

All you need to do is gather a few household items and you can have dozens of meaningful activities each month. #boredombusters #laughingkidslearn #kidminds #keepingkidshappy #handsonlearning #creativelearning #creativekids #kidsactivities #formoms #funlearningwithkids #ideasforfamily

This year I’m joining a fantastic team of bloggers to share imaginative activities for kids  – from LEGO to dinosaurs, STAR WARS to fun with nature. All you need to do is gather a few household items and you can have dozens of creative activities each month.

 

This month we are bringing you exciting indoor activities. Check them out:

Indoor Activities for Kids of All Ages from Valerie Fowler Writes

A Super Simple Kids’ Craft Activity for Bad Weather Days from As We Walk Along the Road

Winter Sensory Activities That Will Warm Your Little One from Homeschooling in Progress

Indoor Fun That Never Gets Old- Learn & Play with Cranium Games from Curiosity Encouraged

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