Science Play: Make a Hanger Balance

by Amy on February 28, 2012

make a hanger balance

Here’s a quick and easy balance you can rig up with your kids. Gather a few supplies, and you, too, can answer the burning question – which Chipmunk is the heaviest?


  • clothes hanger
  • yarn or string
  • paper or plastic cups (strawberry baskets work well, too)
  • hole punch
  • tape (optional)

I think you can see the simple assembly in the photo. Punch two holes in each cup, string with yarn, and tie to the hanger. My girls ended up taping the yarn to each end of the hanger, since heavy objects made the cups slide around.

Take turns holding the balance, or use a cabinet handle or door knob as a helper.

We had a fun time comparing the weights of remotes, crayons, coins, plastic animals, and of course, Chipmunks. (In case you are wondering, Simon was the heaviest. Maybe it’s his glasses?)

Happy playing!


maria March 1, 2012 at 4:51 pm

wonderful idea

Mrs. Mitchell March 3, 2012 at 7:40 am

I am currently teaching Forces and Change of Motions to my fifth graders. I am going to use your activity to do an investigation with my class on balanced forces. I have an interactive science bulletin board and that is where I place the questions the kids are to investigate. They work in groups and place their questions, hypothesis, observations, results, etc., on the wall using post-its.

Question: What can this girl do to balance the forces on the hanger?

1. Recreate her design using a hanger, yarn, cups, tape, small plush toy/doll, and gram cubes.
2. Use a post-it to explain how your team figured out how to balance the forces on the hanger. Place post-it on interactive science wall.
3. Draw how you balanced the hanger.

Amy March 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Sounds like an engaging investigation for your students! I wonder if any of them will think to slide the cups closer/farther from the center to balance the hanger. Fun!

Asmaa moussa May 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Hello, I love this idea… I was actually thinking of a way to make a DIY balance.
I have 14 m son and I love to play with him.. would you tell me where u have young kids activities or maybe a good website you know… thanks

anna August 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm

love this idea too!

Cindy deRosier April 15, 2013 at 9:34 am

I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your project! You can see it here:

If you have other kid friendly crafts, we’d love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a wonderful project idea!

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