Popsicle stick catapult

SImple popsicle stick catapult. My kids LOVE playing with this easy DIY toy. Great for developing fine motor skills and STEM knowledge.Sometimes, boys just need to throw things. Rather than fight the beast, I try to find structured ways for Little Man to unleash the destruction-loving boy inside.

This catapult is nothing crazy complicated, but Little Man has┬ápulled it out over and over again in the months since we made it. He loves testing its limits and seeing how far he can make it go, and I’ve started trying to help him to learn about aiming by having him try to shoot the little pom-poms into a plastic bin.

If you have a little knight in shining armor who needs battle practice, here’s what you’ll need for your own catapult.

Materials:

  • Large popsicle sticks (crafts sticks)
  • Rubber bands
  • Plastic cap (I used the lid to an old spice jar, but a milk jug cap or something similar would work, too)
  • Hot glue gun (and glue)
  • pop poms (or something else small to catapult)

Directions:

  1. Glue the plastic cap to one end of one popsicle stick. Set aside.
  2. Stack 6-8 popsicle sticks on top of one another and secure both ends with rubber bands.
  3. Slide another popsicle stick between the bottom-most stick in the pile and the rest of the stacked sticks, perpendicular to the pile.
  4. Place the popsicle stick with the cap on top of the stack, again perpendicular. Wrap the two perpendicular sticks with a rubber band.
  5. Take an additional rubber band and wrap it in an X-shape around the whole stack of sticks. This rubber band is important in keeping the whole thing from shifting too much.
  6. Try out your catapult!
  7. Experiment with how many rubber bands you have wrapped around different parts of the the catapult and also the position of the sticks. See how these choices affect the performance of the catapult.

SImple popsicle stick catapult. My kids LOVE playing with this easy DIY toy. Great for developing fine motor skills and STEM knowledge.

Bonus Game Idea:

Last week, Little Man was getting frustrated with aiming into a plastic bin, so we started playing a new game. We laid out several different-colored pieces of paper on the floor and then catapulted the pom-poms toward them. If a pom pom landed on a paper, we gave ourselves a point. If it landed on the paper whose color matched the pom-pom, we got TWO points. Whoa. You’d think the boy won the lottery when the yellow pom-pom landed on the yellow paper. Let’s just say, there was much rejoicing in the land.

Do you have any other ideas for catapult games?

 

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