10+ Amazing Ways to Make a Catapult with Kids

Catapults are a classic building activity for kids. Believe it or not, catapults have been around since medieval times. Catapults are a tool used 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 to do.

How Does a Catapult Work?

Don’t forget to take the learning beyond making the catapult and into math and more science!  The science behind a catapult is physics. A catapult launches with stored energy. The energy used with catapults include tension, torsion, and gravity.

Related Read: How to Make a Pulley with Kids

The Best Catapult Ideas for Kids

Popsicle Stick Catapult

This popsicle stick catapult by Buggy and Buddy uses simple materials: rubber bands, 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

Use Tinker Toys

This post is particularly appealing because it outline where to take the learning once you build the catapult. There is measuring, estimations, and hypotheses being done!

Lincoln Log Catapult

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 have to purchase a variety of PVC pipe sizes, connectors, and duct tape. Not too difficult to put together but requires some organization.

Pencil Catapult

So simple! This pencil catapult by Little Bins for Little Hands is a fun back to school activity that also requires very few materials: pencils & rubber bands.

Tissue Box

Frugal Fun for Boys & Girls shows us how to build a catapult with a tissue box! As you can see in this photo, you really don’t need much else 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, a bit of yarn, pom poms, tape, a wooden spoon, and rubber bands.

Cardboard Box

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

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

Learn more about how catapults work (and learn about the main types of catapults) by visiting one of my favorite sites!

Marnie Craycroft

Marnie hails from Maine where she spent summers buried in sand and winters buried in snow. She is the daughter of a nearly four decade veteran of the public school systems. Teaching has always been a part of her life. She founded Carrots Are Orange in 2010.

Carrots Are Orange is a Montessori learning and living website for parents and teachers.

Marnie graduated from Wesleyan University in 1999 with a BA in Economics. She spent nearly a decade working in investment management. In 2006, she earned her MA in business from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

Marnie moved to the west coast in 1999 and currently lives in Boulder with her husband and three sons. She is Montessori trained. Her work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, Buzzfeed, PBS Kids, BabyCenter, the Melissa & Doug blog, Huffington Post, and Besides writing, passions include running (usually after her three sons), photography, and outdoor adventures.

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