Spaghetti Box Kids

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Easy to Make Catapult: Amazing Dimple Design

April 21st, 2011 · 16 Comments

It’s that time again. Another catapult design for kids you can make in minutes. Whether you’re new to catapult designs, or an old pro, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of this model. Best of all, it has superior launching authority. To get started, you need a few things from around the house.

Things You Need:

-oatmeal container
-rubber bands

What to do:

All catapults have at least one thing in common: tension. The better it’s utilized, the better the design. how to make a catapultAs you proceed, note that the rim of the oatmeal container is perfectly suited for the task.

1. Remove the contents from an oatmeal container. (The container should be cylinder shaped.)

2. With the lid off, stand container upright. (figure 1)

3. Wrap four or five rubber bands around the container, several inches beneath the top. (figure 2)

how to build a catapult for kids4. Insert a teaspoon beneath the “belt” of rubber bands. The tip of the handle should be just below the rubber bands. (figure 3)

5. Optional: Insert a canned good inside the oatmeal container to give the base more weight.

How to launch stuff:

Simply place your item on the cup of the teaspoon, pull back and release.

Note that the rim of the container forms a dimple that allows the spoon to bend back easily every time. (figure 4) This produces a superior arc of trajectory (45 degrees is optimal). The result: stuff flies farther.

What to launch:

Paper balls, sponge pieces, cotton balls.
Games to play:

1. Place a shoebox several feet away from the catapult. Each player takes ten turns. The person who launches a cotton ball the most times into the shoebox wins.

2. Same as game one, except this time the person who makes it into the shoebox the most times in a row wins.

3. Make a tower using an empty paper towel dispenser. The first person to knock it down wins.

4. Lay a playing card several feet away. That’s your target. The person who launches a cotton ball closest to the target scores a point. (If you make it onto the playing card you score three points.) The first person to score ten points wins.

5. Same as game four, except this time each player shoots three cotton balls. (To keep track, use a marker to put red freckles on one player’s cotton balls.) Each player launches three cotton balls. Now give a point to the three that are nearest the target. For example–2 for plain and 1 for red freckles. First person to score ten points wins.

If you’ve been wondering how to make a catapult for kids, the dimple design offers a few key advantages. On the one hand, it’s easy to make. You don’t need any special tools, just a few basic things from around the house. On the other hand, it has the one thing that everybody wants: launching power. Some variations to pursue might include changing: the size of the spoon, the number of rubber bands, the height of the container.

Best of Luck!

Tags: Kids’ Activities · Kids' Science

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tracy // Apr 22, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    nice work-an oatmeal container, hmmm, who wouldve thought?? cant wait to try this :))

  • 2 Spaghetti Box Kids // Apr 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Good luck with it. I think you’ll find it’s a pretty good return on your time. I mean- it only takes a few minutes to make, and kids love playing with it over and over again.

  • 3 Gail // Apr 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Your catapults are the center 0f attention in our house, at least for now. I can’t begin to tell you! Thanks for sharing :)

  • 4 Spaghetti Box Kids // Apr 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Gail- good to know. I guess if they’re really motivated about this last design, you’ve been making lots of oatmeal cookies to provide the container that’s used. Kind of an added benefit–

  • 5 Chinaiya // Oct 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    good idea !

  • 6 Spaghetti Box Kids // Oct 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Thanks for saying so. I’m glad you stopped by–

  • 7 jan // Jan 13, 2012 at 12:35 am

    please add a Trebuchet

  • 8 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jan 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    jan- I’ll put it on the to-do list. Thanks for the feedback. -AV

  • 9 James // Feb 8, 2013 at 5:53 am

    Great i am going to do it for my upcoming project

  • 10 Minika // Aug 16, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    So good … and nice way to play and learn the science behind it.. thanks.

  • 11 Flamingo // Aug 21, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Something easy finally

  • 12 Paige // Nov 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    This worked great for my project for gifted class

  • 13 Paige // Nov 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    This worked great and it was very easy!!!!!!!!

  • 14 MegaCakeGroupMX // Jun 27, 2014 at 7:20 am

    ours worked!

  • 15 Alanner // Nov 20, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    thanks for my A+. SWISH!! im ballin!!

  • 16 dan // Nov 24, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    this really helped me in science class!!

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