The Mentos Toss
Would the Mentos and Coke reaction make for a good carnival game?
By Rob Cockerham |
About the time I built the "Jacob's Ladder" carnival attraction, I came up with the idea of a Mentos Toss.
Everyone knows that dropping Mentos into Coke makes a dramatic reaction, would it work as a carnival game? There are quite a few "throw this to hit that" games on the midway: Darts and balloons, dimes on glassware, balls at milk bottles, balls at plates, etc.
The motivation to win a prize is secondary to the motivation to make a splash, or hit a target. Throwing Mentos at Coke bottles promises the best reaction of all these. It would be great, and I wouldn't even need prizes!
The two-liter bottle necks are tiny, so I needed funnels of some kind to guide the mentos home.
I bought a cheap three-pack of plastic funnels at the dollar store and did a quick chop to mate them with the bottles.
I carefully cut holes into the original screwcaps and glued the funnels onto them.
The bottlenecks are barely larger than the mentos, so it wasn't feasable to simply drop the funnels into the bottles.
This cutting and gluing took quite a while, so it was a little questionable as to how much gas was still in solution by the time we got started.
The total cost of this project was $3 for soda, $1 for funnels and $6 for mentos. I bought a lot of Mentos, but I consider it an investmint.
The kids started at eight feet away, which was very difficult. After about 100 tosses, my son made one.
We moved to six feet away and it got a little easier. My daughter and I both made shots after about 100 each.
The plastic funnels are deceptive. They look like they are going to help guide you to your target, but the Mentos hit hard and bounce off completely.
A week later I tried this setup again at a kid's party. The kids loved it a little too much, and were kind of annoyed I was regulating their fun and preventing them from just dumping Mentos into the open bottles.
I didn't have a table this time, and set the bottles on the ground. This slight change made it much easier to hit the soda, and the kids had hit the target after throwing just a few dozen mentos at the lower targets.
I think this game is a low-stakes winner. It seems crazy that fair-goers would pay $4 to throw Mentos at a Coke, because they know they can set this same rig up at home for $3, but there is something great about amazing the crowd of bystanders that keeps carnivals in business.