Written by Kitty CollectiveKitty Collective| May 26, 2022 in Worksheet
In a world of video games and movies that can be streamed within seconds, it can be easy to forget about good old-fashioned toys.
Throughout the ages, children have found ways to have fun. Be that with their wild and vivid imagination or by playing with all different types of toys.
One such toy is the catapult. This fun little ballistic device allows you to launch an item (or two) at certain distances without needing any aid from outside explosives.
Depending on the size you make, a catapult can launch a projectile a long, long way. But, for the catapults used by kids, these are smaller, and their target range is much smaller.
Although we have described a catapult as a toy, they have actually been around since the medieval period.
Throughout history, they have been sued as weapons, with many trained marksmen striking targets with precision from far away.
But, today, we’re going to be focusing on the playful side of catapults. Most of us have had the pleasure of playing with a catapult during our childhood, and we believe every generation should enjoy what these have to offer.
That is why we have created this guide on how to make a catapult for kids.
These are fantastic activities for you and your kids to have a go at. And, at the end, you can watch your kids have so much fun launching little projectiles at targets (but in a playful way, remember!)
Let’s start, though, by looking at how a catapult works.
Catapult: How It Works?
When a catapult launches an object, it does so with stored energy. This energy includes gravity, torsion, and tension.
As you pull back the catapult string or elastic band, the stored energy builds up. As you let go, the projectile is shot out with force in a forward direction.
It’s as simple as that. There are other types of catapults too, such as ones with levers. With these, when you push down on a lever and let it go, the direction of the force changes. Therefore, the projectile is shot in the opposite direction.
When you have a catapult ready, you can try a little science experiment with your kids. Here’s how:
- Place something (a coin, a marshmallow, or a rubber, for example) in the catapult and launch this numerous times.
- Measure how far the object travels every time.
- Try launching different items from your catapult and then measure how far these travel.
- Try making more than one catapult, with different designs. Then, you can compare your catapults and launch the same items from each.
- Then, measure their distances and compare.
You can even play a game and see you can shoot their object the furthest.
But, that’s enough science today! Let’s get straight into making a catapult for kids.
Before you start, you need to gather supplies.
Here’s What You Need:
- Rubber bands (as many as possible)
- Glue sticks or a hot glue gun
- Craft and/or popsicle sticks
- Paper clips
- Pipe cleaners
- Small marshmallows
- Bottle caps
- Pen markers
- Scotching, duct, and/or masking tape
Let’s make a fun catapult!
Here’s A Simple Craft Stick Catapult
- Stick four or five craft sticks together and then wrap these up with a rubber band around each end.
- Get two craft sticks and wrap a rubber band around one end.
- Take the four or five sticks and place them in-between your two sticks.
- Get another elastic band and wrap it around the two sections where the sticks meet. This will help hold the catapult together.
- Get a bottle cap and attach this to the top stick. This will hold the projectile.
- Now, it’s time for the fun part! Take a projectile (in this case, a marshmallow or a clump of paper) and place it in the cap. Hold the stick down and release it.
Your first catapult!
Let’s take a look at another way of making an amazing catapult!
For This Method, You’ll Need
If you want to get creative, you can decorate your catapult with some paint too!
Here’s How To Make Your Popsicle Stick Catapult
- Firstly, we need to stack our popsicle sticks (four or five) on top of each other and wrap them at each end with a rubber band.
- Grab another two popsicle sticks and stack these together. Band them together at only one end, using a rubber band.
- Those last two popsicles need to be pulled apart slightly. Then, place the four or five popsicle sticks already stacked in between the gaps.
- Now, wrap the large stack of popsicle sticks to only the upper popsicle stick in the middle.
- Band your plastic spoon to the same upper popsicle stick.
- It’s that time again! Time to test the catapult! Take a pom pom and palace it in the spoon.
- Hold the catapult in one hand and pull the spoon down with the other.
- Release the spoon, and you can shoot your pom pom!
And, now you have your second catapult!
Why not test them against each other? Have a little game to see who can shoot their pom poms or small projectiles the furthest. Even better, try and guess where they’ll land. Whoever wins has another go at the catapult!
Making a catapult is super fun and, best of all, super easy. As you can see above, the process of making one doesn’t take long and doesn’t need many supplies.
And, it can be a great time to teach kids about science and the importance of arts and crafts.
Don’t stop at catapults, though! Check out other ideas on our website, so your kids can have fun making and playing with new creations!