Sure beats reading the back of the Reese's Puffs box again
cereal boxes
Credit: photo courtesy of general mills

Back in October, General Mills announced that the company was sponsoring the 2018 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. Since 1988, the event has encouraged students of all ages to invent their own pointlessly complex machines in the style of Rube Goldberg. Thanks to the cereal kingpin’s participation in this year’s contest, the theme is “Pour a Bowl of Cereal," and General Mills is releasing specially marked boxes that kids can transform into crazy cardboard creations.

Rube Cereal Machines”—as General Mills has called the promotion—is being featured on six different General Mills brands: Reese’s Puffs, Cookie Crisp, Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, and Lucky Charms. “Use everyday household items and the blueprints found on the inside of the boxes to build the 6 simple machines of physics that can deliver a bowl of cereal,” the company explains.

The Reese’s Puffs box turns into an inclined plane allowing cereal lovers to roll each individual puff through the box and into their bowl. The Cookie Crips box because a catapult. The Cheerios box becomes a truck. The Cinnamon Toast Crunch box becomes a pulley elevator. The Cocoa Puff box becomes a wedge. And the Lucky Charms box becomes a twist. All six designs also have instructional videos posted on YouTube, which is also probably the best way to see these designs in action.

Frankly, some of the machines look cooler than others: General Mills may have used up their best idea out of the gate on the Reese’s Puffs box. But hey, you can only read the Nutrition Facts panel so many times before you wish you had something else to do with the box… so in that regard, they’re all winners. It sure beats memorizing Cheerios’ phosphorus content.

And beyond promoting General Mills’ 2018 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest sponsorship, this promotion is also a contest all its own. The brand is holding a sweepstakes for the chance to win one of 20 college scholarships worth $20,000 each. To enter, participants are being asked to post an image of their completed Cereal Machines on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #BreakfastBlueprint and #BigGSweepstakes (and completing an entry form as well). You probably didn’t even realize what you had in store when you grabbed that box of Cookie Crisp off the shelf. That’s not a quick breakfast: That’s hours of family entertainment!