Spaghetti Box Kids

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Catapult Designs for Kids

easy catapult design for kidsLet’s face it, there’s something about launching stuff that never gets old. That’s because tinkering with the launching device is just plain fun. After all, it can always fling further, straighter and more efficiently. In recognition of these facts, Spaghetti Box Kids brings you these simple catapult designs for kids. Each one has its own unique features and method for transferring tension from the launch arm to the projectile. The best part- you do not need any power tools, just everyday items from around the house:

Basic Design
This design makes use of a simple fulcrum in order to achieve its launching ability. This is the perfect starter design for Pre-schoolers or anyone new to catapult making. Materials: newspaper, tablespoon, rubber band, masking tape.

Coffee Cup Design
This easy design offers an improved fulcrum for super launch power. It’s very easy to make and very few materials are needed. Possibly the best overall design when you consider simplicity next to power. Materials: coffee cup with handle, pencil, teaspoon, rubber bands, tape.

Fantastic Soda Can Design
The unique launch arm provides superior hurling power, and the weight of the soda cans provides a durable base. This is a rugged, well-designed household catapult that is a lot of fun to build. Materials: two 12 ounce pop cans (unopened), kitchen fork, rubber bands, cap from a plastic 2-liter bottle, two pencils, masking tape.

Amazing Dimple Design
All catapults have at least one thing in common: tension. The better it conforms with the overall design, the better the results. The lightweight dimple design is perfectly suited to the task. This is an excellent starter catapult and one of the easiest to make. Materials: oatmeal container, rubber bands, teaspoon.

Super Fling Design
This unique design uses the snap tension of an everyday coat hanger to achieve it’s flinging authority. If there were a distance contest among home-made catapults, this one might be the winner. Materials: wire coat hanger with cardboard tube base, stapler, scissors, business card or playing card, several hard cover books.

Egg Carton Design
This is a lightweight, chunky-grip catapult that’s fun to make and easy to use. The design is perfect for Pre-schoolers and other starter-age kids. Materials: empty egg carton, scissors, masking tape, rubber bands, teaspoon.

Brawny Launcher Design
The superior arm tension, harnessed by a pencil, gives this hurling machine its extraordinary power. Perfectly suited for launching objects clear across the room. Materials: four newspapers, assorted rubber bands, masking tape, pencil, table spoon.

Arc Tension Design
This power packed mini catapult makes elegant use of arc tension to achieve its hurling authority. The unique, economical design assures it a leading place in any catapult collection. Materials: invisible tape dispenser, cutting board, masking tape, assorted rubber bands, sheet of paper, teaspoon.

Bear Clamp Base Design
This mini catapult uses the Bear Clamp Base technique for harnessing tension. Once you grasp the powerful concept of this technique, you can apply it to countless catapult designs of your own invention. Materials: roll of tape from invisible tape dispenser, cutting board, masking tape, assorted rubber bands, twistie tie (found on loaf of bread), cotton ball, teaspoon.

Soup Can Design
This a quick and easy design advances the engineering behind the launch cup. The cup itself only takes a minute to make, but its features enable an excellent trajectory-arc from the vertical arm position. Performance is very consistent. Materials: unopened soup can, rubber bands, popsicle stick, business card (or cardboard from a cereal box), tape.

Related: View Easy Chart to see which catapult is best for you. For instance:

  • Which is the easiest to make?
  • Which has the easiest to find materials?
  • Which catapult looks coolest in science class?
  • Which launches things the furthest?
  • Which is most durable?
  • And more!

Best of Luck!

64 Comments

64 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jeff // Nov 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Cool. Thanks! Cotton balls are flying everywhere. My oldest son is locked in to the idea of improving the designs. Well done.

  • 2 Spaghetti Box Kids // Nov 1, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Jeff, glad to hear it. That’s the whole idea–to get kids working out their own ideas.

  • 3 Viviana // Nov 2, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Nice job! My 5 and 7 year olds are all evening making catapults. I think it’s safe to say theyre hooked.

  • 4 Spaghetti Box Kids // Nov 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Viviana- Good stuff. Hopefully the catapults are giving them ideas for their own designs. Their enthusiasm can definitely grow into a long term interest. Good luck-

  • 5 Barbara // Nov 8, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Really nice job. Catapults have become the GO-TO activity around the house. Thanks for making these available!

  • 6 Spaghetti Box Kids // Nov 10, 2010 at 1:52 am

    I’m glad they’re a hit. Here’s a variation: try the arc tension design with a tennis ball. (Here’s how. . . instead of steps 2 & 3, simply make a hole in two sides of a tennis ball, then insert a pencil through the middle. Now proceed to step 4.) Have fun-

  • 7 Sam // Nov 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Well done. I like the names/ descriptions.

  • 8 Linda // Nov 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    The illustrations that go with the directions are excellent. Very easy to follow. My two boys are in catapult heaven. Thanks!

    Linda
    Austin, Texas

  • 9 Carol // Nov 17, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    As a mother of three, I have to thank you for this tid bit in your instructions (in the bear clamp design) :

    “4. Tape a cotton ball to the bottom of the bear clamp base to muffle the noise of the teaspoon when the catapult is flung. (figure 3)”

    Definitely appreciated-
    Carol
    Pittsburgh, PA

  • 10 Spaghetti Box Kids // Nov 17, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Carol, Don’t mention it. The catapult designs are definitely family-friendly.

    -AV

  • 11 Mike // Apr 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Wow-this is an excellent source for catapult designs! Nice—!

  • 12 Spaghetti Box Kids // Apr 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks- glad to hear you’re finding it useful.

  • 13 DAmian // May 2, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    kool stuff

  • 14 Spaghetti Box Kids // May 3, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    DAmian- Thanks for the expressing your interest–

  • 15 julia // Jul 24, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    We’re doing this 4 school and does any 1 know which one is easiest to make :)

  • 16 Scott // Jul 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    ive made em all and amazing dimple design is easiest :]

  • 17 Amy // Aug 31, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Great resource! Straightforward, easy to navigate. Good descriptions too (I like the names). Nice job.

  • 18 Spaghetti Box Kids // Sep 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. It’s good to hear comments related to user experience. That helps keep the articles, as you say, straightforward and easy to navigate.

    Cheers
    -AV

  • 19 cole // Nov 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    great list, I cant believe there all in one place!

  • 20 Spaghetti Box Kids // Nov 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks for expressing your enthusiasm, Cole. Hope you enjoy the designs.

  • 21 alex2001 // Nov 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    which 1 is your favorite?

  • 22 Spaghetti Box Kids // Nov 12, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Which one is my favorite? There’s a design I haven’t written about yet that’s my favorite. I’ll post the instructions soon. Among the ones I have written about (above)…that’s a tough one. I suppose the soda can design is the sturdiest and strongest, especially considering how easy it is to make. But they all have their merits. In the end, I suppose it’s a matter of personal preference.

    Which one is your favorite?

  • 23 Elly may // Feb 16, 2012 at 2:13 am

    My teacher wants us to do the fantastic soda can design, I really can’t wait to try it out!!!!!!

  • 24 Elly may // Feb 16, 2012 at 2:32 am

    I would do all of the designs if I had enough time :)

  • 25 Spaghetti Box Kids // Feb 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Elly may, It sounds like you have a pretty cool teacher. Good luck with the soda can design. Remember, using the right rubber bands really helps–if you don’t have standard #64, just make sure they’re all the same size so the tension is balanced. Have fun & thanks for sharing. -AV

  • 26 erick // Mar 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    i like this website because my class is making a catapult

  • 27 ANA // Mar 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    HI I LOVE THIS WEBWSITE
    KEEP MAKING CATAPULT PLANS

  • 28 Spaghetti Box Kids // Mar 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Erick, I always love hearing from students. It would be great also to hear the details of your project, and which catapult you are interested in making.

    Ana, Thanks for stopping in and sharing. I’ll try to keep turning out new designs.

    –AV

  • 29 skye // Mar 28, 2012 at 12:01 am

    i need one by tomorrow what one should i do?

  • 30 Spaghetti Box Kids // Mar 28, 2012 at 1:38 am

    skye- Thanks for stopping in. I guess it depends on what your specifications are. If you’re looking for pure distance, the Superfling design is a good choice, or the Soda Can Design. The Soda Can Design is also a very durable; so is the Brawny Launcher Design. If you’re looking for simplicity, the Dimple Design and the Soup Can Design score well in that category. Good Luck–

    AV

  • 31 Jacob // Apr 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Great selection. I cant decide which one to do first. Thanks for sharing all these.

  • 32 Vannessa // Apr 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    love them want to try all of them <3

  • 33 Sneha // May 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Hey Thnxx ….it helped a lot…tomorrow i have to submit my science project and im tryin my hand at ‘Soda Can Design’ :) Thanq :)

  • 34 Ann // May 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Great place to find designs! Thanks for the help! :)

  • 35 tony // Jun 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    i wish to make those catapult. i just don’t know where i get those rubber bands

  • 36 im awsome // Jun 28, 2012 at 11:51 am

    can you use bake bean tins for the soda design

  • 37 im awsome // Jun 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    when was this website made

    if you don’t answer i will turn into catapult

  • 38 im awsome // Jun 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  • 39 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jun 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    im awesome,

    You have an abundance of energy.
    Yes, I suppose you could use baked bean tins instead of soda cans.
    I started this website in 2008.
    Here’s some activities you might like, besides catapult making:

    Old Fashioned Kids Games with Ramp
    The Amazing One Minute Crane
    Penny Games
    Kids’ Science: What If an Elephant Sat on it?
    Kids’ Art: Fun with Watercolor and Design Making

  • 40 Keri // Jul 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    My 7 year old is planning a pirate birthday for his upcoming 8th party and talked about catapults. I figured it would be near impossible. Found your site and we watched the soda can video and his eyes lit up and the smile from ear to ear on his face – we have a great (and likely unforgetable) project ready for the party, not to mention a good way to entertain a bunch of 7 & 8 year old boys!! Will get back to you with the results. :)

  • 41 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jul 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Keri,

    They’re the perfect age for having fun with catapults. For your reference–The Soup Can Design and Amazing Dimple Design are easier to make if there’s going to be any younger party goers. Thanks for dropping in. Good luck—

    - AV

  • 42 M. // Oct 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    AWSOME

  • 43 Dave M // Oct 22, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Love it. We’ll be do a ‘catapult’ night with our Beaver colony soon and there are some great ideas here. thanks!

  • 44 p man // Oct 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    hahhahha this s awsome

  • 45 ellen // Nov 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    omg!! these catapults are sooo cool…how are you inventing them??

  • 46 ssss // Dec 8, 2012 at 8:48 am

    finally something creative to do

  • 47 Anonymous // Feb 6, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    get pictuires

  • 48 Spaghetti Box Kids // Feb 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I tried a picture next to each description. It made the page far too busy. I’m sticking with the current format. Thanks-

  • 49 TYLER // Feb 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    AWESOME

  • 50 jason // Feb 12, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    were do you get your ideas?

  • 51 Abdiel M. // Feb 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    This is cool…

  • 52 Shyann // Feb 13, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    For a science project me and kylee have to do this, wish us luck!

  • 53 bob // Feb 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    this is a great sight for catapults

    ;)

  • 54 Anonymous // Apr 15, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Cool things

  • 55 ethan // May 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    i cant believe how many catapults you have. i LUUUUUUUUUUUUV catapults!!!!!!!!!

  • 56 Jamie // May 8, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    very cool selection i don’t know which one to make

  • 57 Emily // May 16, 2013 at 3:40 am

    I used this for science class . Launched the furthest and got an A:)

  • 58 Spaghetti Box Kids // May 16, 2013 at 4:12 am

    Emily – Glad to hear it. Which design did you make?

  • 59 cole // May 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    bro, i think she flew

  • 60 samuel // May 20, 2013 at 12:13 am

    gone but not forgot

  • 61 sam // Nov 2, 2013 at 10:46 am

    It is the best way for a father and son to share a good moment

  • 62 Catapult | Barren River Imaginative Museum of Science // Jan 5, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    [...] Spaghetti Box Kids has a page with several catapult designs made with things you probably have at home.  These are truly suitable for all ages. Give one or two of them a try. [...]

  • 63 Victor // Feb 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Do you have any catapult that can be locked into place because I have a stem project to do.

  • 64 Spaghetti Box Kids // Apr 19, 2014 at 6:37 am

    Victor-

    Try one of these:

    http://spaghettiboxkids.com/blog/easy-to-make-catapult-super-fling-design/

    http://spaghettiboxkids.com/blog/mini-catapult-arc-tension-design/

    http://spaghettiboxkids.com/blog/mini-catapult-bear-clamp-base-design/

    Good luck–

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