Giant Matchstick


The objective of this challenge is to lift a ball of the ground and place it into the cup on top of a Giant Matchstick, using only the broom handles provided to touch the ball and aid the completion of the task.

Equipment Required:

  • 1 x 2.4m pole, with rubber cup on top end, attached to 3 guy ropes
  • 3 x wooden pegs
  • 10 x 1m broomsticks
  • 1 x small ball

Space Required: Small. Outdoors only.
Group Size: Ideally 8 to 16.

Total Time: 30 minutes

  • 5 minutes to brief and set up
  • 20 minutes to achieve outcome
  • 5 minutes to review

Giant Matchstick Challenge Instructions

The objective of the challenge is for the group to work together to place the ball on the mount of the Giant Matchstick. To complete the challenge they are given broom handles. They have only five attempts at completing the challenge.

When working with younger children, brief them on the following or make up your own story:

  • The team are building a firework for a grand village bonfire night
  • A ball containing the fireworks must be placed on top of the Giant Matchstick
  • The ball contains nasty chemicals, so must be moved with sticks
  • The villagers are relying on the team, as they want to have a good party!


  • Only one stick can be used by each team member
  • The ball can only be touched with the ends of the sticks
  • The stick must be held by the end which is not touching the ball
  • Everyone’s sticks must be in contact with the ball whilst it is being lifted
  • Team members should not touch or lean against the vertical pole
  • Being picked up/piggy backs are not allowed


  • Sticks must not be thrown or swung about
  • Please do not lean on the Giant Matchstick
  • Ensure that the Matchstick is securely pegged into the ground

Suggested Learning Outcomes

  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • Reviewing performance
  • Persistence

Useful Tips

There is no formula to this other than to do it slowly and communicate effectively.  They must co-operate with each other and need to follow instructions to the word.  If they act independently then it is unlikely to be successful.

Variations include: Making certain members of the group blindfolded or briefing participants that they can only use one hand.


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