Making a catapult is fun to spend an afternoon with your kids. Not only is it entertaining, but it can also teach them some basic physics principles. Catapults for kids are a perfect science activity for parents, too.
Plus, there are so many ways to make a catapult that you can tailor the project to fit your child’s interests and abilities. For example, my son wants a catapult that shoots far!
Below are 10+ of the best ways to make a catapult with kids. Enjoy!
What are Catapults?
Catapults are a classic building activity for kids. Believe it or not, catapults have been around since medieval times. Catapults are a tool to launch an item a great distance without additional aid from explosives.
History & Purpose
They have been proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms during warfare. That is pretty amazing, given that making a catapult is relatively easy.
How Do Catapults Work?
Don’t forget to take the learning beyond making the catapult into math and more science! The science behind a catapult is physics. A catapult launches with stored energy. The energy used with catapults includes tension, torsion, and gravity.
Related Read: How to Make a Pulley with Kids
What Supplies Do You Need to Build a Catapult?
- rubber bands
- craft sticks
- plastic or wooden spoon
- pom poms
- bottle caps
The Best Catapult Ideas for Kids
This popsicle stick catapult by Buggy and Buddy uses simple materials: rubber bands, a plastic spoon, popsicle sticks, and pom poms.
Catapult with Legos
Learn how to build a catapult with legos by visiting this post on Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
This post is particularly appealing because it outlines where to take the learning once you build the catapult. There are measuring, estimations, and hypotheses being made!
Yes! Brain Power Boy offers a sweet & traditional version of a catapult. Learn how to build with Lincoln Logs!
Chocolate Launching Catapult
Build a Chocolate Launcher & win the hearts of children everywhere. Seriously. Like Everywhere.
PVC Catapult for the Win
A PVC Catapult is a bit more labor and material-intensive simply because it involves a trip to the hardware store. You must purchase various PVC pipe sizes, connectors, and duct tape. Not too tricky to put together but requires some organization.
So simple! This pencil catapult by Little Bins for Little Hands is a fun back-to-school activity requiring very few materials: pencils & rubber bands.
Frugal Fun for Boys & Girls shows us how to build a catapult with a tissue box! As you can see in this photo, you don’t need much other than a glue gun, a cap, a paper hole punch, a straw, pencils, and scissors.
Paper Towel Tube
I love activities that require not much more than checking out the recycling bin. Master how to build a catapult with paper towel tubes, some yarn, pom poms, tape, a spoon, and rubber bands.
Use a cardboard box. iKatbag shows us a simple way to build a catapult with recycled materials and materials you have around your home.
Further Learning about Catapults
Asking open-ended questions is a fantastic way to keep the learning rolling.
Here are a few ideas for catapults:
- Talk about projectile motion and ask for predictions on how far various objects will go
- Switch up the launching object
- Build other types of catapults and see how changing the materials mixes up the energy
- Ask a lot of what happens if and what happens when questions