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How to Play the Clothespin Drop Game

Clothespin Drop is a home, party or carnival game that mixes skill and luck. All you need to play the game is some clothespins and a container -- players have to try to drop the pins into the container from a specific height. This is not as easy as it sounds, as you'll choose a container with a mouth wide enough for a clothespin to fall through, but only if it is dropped at the right angle.

Set a bottle or jar down on the ground. The container should have a mouth that is wide enough to allow a clothespin to fall inside if it's dropped vertically, but not so wide that it will take pins horizontally.

If you're playing Clothespin Drop at a party or carnival, decorate the container to make it look a bit more fancy.

Gather a bunch of clothespins based on how many tries players get. If you give them five tries, you need at least five clothespins, though the game will run faster if you have more and can get the next few players ready in advance.

Stand the first player by the container and work out their drop distance. Get them to stretch out their arm horizontally at shoulder height so that their arm is straight and their fingers are above the bottle. You can draw a circle around the bottle as a guide, if you prefer, though this won't suit all kids. Smaller ones may be too far away and bigger ones too close -- it's easier to use the arm rule so they all stand at a fair distance for their heights and use the same dropping technique.

If kids find it hard to drop clothespins from shoulder height, get them to bend their arm at the waist to reduce the drop distance. You can also place a chair by the container facing backward -- players kneel on the chair and drop clothespins over the back.

Give the player their clothespins, make sure they understand what to do and tell them to start dropping pins when they're ready. Make a note of their score and let the rest of the kids take a turn. If you're playing a competitive game, the winner is the player who gets the most clothespins in the container.

Things You'll Need:

  • A bottle or jar
  • Clothespins


You can play the game for fun, giving kudos to the player who gets the most clothespins into the container, or you can play for prizes. You can give a single prize to the person who gets the highest score or a prize to every player who gets one in.

If you're playing with younger kids, use a container with a bigger opening and let them sit, stand closer or bend over to make it easier for them.

A variation on the game has a group of kids dropping clothespins into the container at the same time. Give each child the same number of pins and color code them to make scoring easier.

Add a twist to the game by teaming players up in pairs. The player dropping the clothespins wears a blindfold and has to rely on their partner to guide them to the perfect dropping point.

If you're playing Clothespin Drop outdoors and it is windy, put something heavy in the container to weigh it down.


  • Kids like to mess around with spring-type clothespins. Discourage them from attaching them to themselves or others -- they can pinch. If you're worried about accidents, use one-piece "dolly" clothespins or pick a different item to drop into the container, such as legos, buttons, small balls or candy.
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