What better way to explore science than with a DIY catapult? The catapult is a great way to talk about trajectory and projectiles with kids. Trajectory- the path followed by a projectile flying or an object moving under the action of given forces. Projectiles-
Catapult Science for Kids
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What we used/supplies:
Office supply catapult
*craft sticks – thanks for the free craft sticks craftprojectideas.com
*clothespins – similar to these Whitmor Heavy-Duty Natural Wood Clothespins, 100 pins
*rubber bands – similar to these Business Source Rubber Bands – 1 lb. Bag – Assorted Sizes (15745)
*office clips – like these Staples® Binder Clips, Assorted Sizes, Black, 60 per Pack
*plastic spoon – like these DXETH207 – Dixie Plastic Cutlery
*tape – similar to these Duck Brand Assorted Print Duck Tape – 1.88″ x 10 yard (12-Rolls)
Popsicle stick catapult
~colored craft sticks – similar to these Darice 9150-82 Wood Craft Colored Stick, 4-1/2-Inch, 120-Pack
~rubber bands- similar to these Business Source Rubber Bands – 1 lb. Bag – Assorted Sizes (15745)
~plastic spoon- like these DXETH207 – Dixie Plastic Cutlery
~tape – similar to these Duck Brand Assorted Print Duck Tape – 1.88″ x 10 yard (12-Rolls)
What to do/how to make:
My husband followed this photo here on how to build a catapult out of office supplies. He made our office supply catapults and I made our Popsicle stick catapult. It was fun to test the 2 different types of catapults out against each other. You can find directions for a Popsicle stick catapult here. We just used a spoon instead of a bottle cap.
We have a Fisher Price lift the flip book castle theme (that used to belong to my nephew who is now grown) . In the book it shows a catapult. Big brother, now 6yr, has been asking for years what is a catapult because of this photo. I could not wait to show him a mini one in use.
I set the kids up with a “can you break my heart” activity. We took candy hearts and launched them down the driveway to see if they would break. I thought for sure they would break but we soon found out what would happen from our science experiment.
Do candy hearts break when launched with an office supply catapult? Only a small fraction of the time. However, we did find that the office supply catapult launched greater distances than the Popsicle stick catapult. We also got to watch little brother and baby brother run after the candy hearts as they flew through the air to see if they could catch them. Big brother and I sat side by side and had “races” to see who could launch their candy heart the farthest. We had so much fun testing the trajectory (path the candy hearts took). Most went pretty straight but sometimes they would go up above us and others would just barley fly off the spoon. We saw that how hard you pulled the spoon back and how fast you let it go affected the path it would take. The candy hearts were the perfect projectile for us to use. The kids tasted a few before we started experimenting. They were light weight and the perfect size for the plastic spoons.
We look forward to launching more projectiles soon!
See more fun heart inspired fun at the links below:
Anti Valentine’s Day Baked Cotton Balls from Lalymom
Breaking Hearts: Fine Motor Play from Still Playing School
Fine Motor Gelatin Heart Sensory Play from And Next Comes L
Candy Heart Breaking Fine Motor Activity from Fun-A-Day
Heartbreaker Smashing Peanut Shells from Sugar Aunts
Bubble Wrap Heart Breaking from House of Burke
For more Valentine’s Day inspiration on FSPDT: