Spaghetti Box Kids

Strategies, Tips and Activities for Learning

learning through play

Easy to Make Catapult

July 21st, 2009 · 85 Comments

Eventually every parent is faced with this all important question: how to make a catapult for kids? We don’t welcome the question–it just comes to us one day when we’re wiping up spills or looking for a toy. In any case, there are many ways to go about it, but the following method has a few advantages:

  • It’s completely original
  • It only takes a few minutes to make
  • It uses household items you already have on hand
  • It’s the perfect size to play games and activities

What You Need:

– newspaper
– tablespoon
– rubber band
– masking tape

how to make a catapult out of household items
What to Do:

1. Roll a section of newspaper like a log.(figure 1)

2. Secure the middle with tape. (figure 2)

3. Stretch a rubber band. Place the log of newspaper on top of it. (figure 3)

4. Loop the two ends of the rubber band to the top of the log. Pass one end of the rubber band through the other. Hold the surplus with your finger. (figure 4)old fashioned toys

5. Stick the end of a tablespoon through the surplus rubber band. (figure 5)

6. Adjust the spoon so that its length is approximately 1/2 way through the rubber band.

7. Tape the ends of the log to your tabletop (or to a place mat so you can move it around).

8. The catapult is now complete. (figure 6)

Note- This is a starter catapult. For a Complete List of designs, see Catapult Designs for Kids

What Objects to Hurl: Cotton balls, Q-tips, cut up sponge pieces.

How to Hurl Objects: Use three or more fingers. Press down quickly on the handle of the spoon. (Tip: to hurl objects further, adjust the spoon so that the greater length is to the rounded end of the spoon.)how to build a catapult for kids

Games and Activities:

1. Place a bowl 6 to 12 inches away from the catapult. See how many cotton balls in a row you can shoot into the bowl.

2. Same as game one, except this time give each person ten cotton balls. Person who shoots the most into the bowl wins.

3. Make a tower using three rigatoni (log-style) noodles. See how many times it takes to knock down the tower.

(Variation: Launch half a dozen Q-tips at once.)

catapult designs for kids4. Lay a roll of masking tape its side. That’s your target. Now each person flings a cotton ball toward the target. Closest wins a point. (If you make it in the center of the roll you win three points.) First person to ten points wins.

5. Use a marker to make red freckles on three cotton balls, and
blue freckles on three others. Again lay the roll of masking tape its side. You child shoots her three, and you shoot yours. Give a point to the three closest. For example–2 for red and 1 for blue. First person to reach ten points wins.

Show me your complete list of Catapult Games.

There’s nothing like a homemade catapult for kids to stimulate lots of new activities. The activities are simple, wholesome and engaging. Best of all, the easy to make catapult has plenty of room for your child’s imagination and ingenuity. Don’t be surprised to see your child experimenting with a longer spoon, two spoons, thicker roll of newspaper, etc. Half the fun is tinkering with the design! Good luck!

Tags: Kids’ Activities · Kids' Science

85 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Spaghetti Box Kids // Mar 9, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Rick, Try one of the other designs. . .

    . . .or invent your own.

  • 2 Kyle S. // Mar 13, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    i like this catapult it makes me happy :]

  • 3 Bob P. // Apr 5, 2013 at 12:22 am

    It needs more detail Alot more detail.

  • 4 Spaghetti Box Kids // Apr 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Bob, sorry to hear you’re having trouble. Maybe this catapult isn’t for you. Good luck- AV

  • 5 ATG // Apr 6, 2013 at 6:25 am

    This design is ridiculously easy, it’s amazing! I also love your other designs, the instructions are easy to follow, the materials are easy to get, and best of all, it’s fun! Thanks for taking your time to do this.

  • 6 leyanna // May 2, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    maybe this catapult website is not that bad they have cool projects

  • 7 Jamie // May 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    this is too easy. i want something harder too make.

  • 8 Adrienne // May 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I just wanted to say thanks for taking time to offer so many activities and ideas on your blog. Your content is fresh, so different than much of the the cookie cutter stuff out there. I always gather inspiration for learning activities like the mayan numbers, and the math games, etc. So thanks again!!


  • 9 maylie // May 9, 2013 at 12:44 am

    this really helped me. I had to do a science project and had do idea what to do. I found this website. now I can finish my project. thanks

  • 10 abby // May 9, 2013 at 12:45 am

    this is supper easy. I love it

  • 11 jacob // May 9, 2013 at 12:47 am

    this website is good. the catapults are the best part but theres cool other things to make.

  • 12 Pompom // May 17, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    This is easy, I need it for school

  • 13 Spaghetti Box Kids // May 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm


    Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. I’m glad you’re getting good use out of the site. You might also enjoy the Learning Strategies section. (Upper right hand corner under ‘Categories.’)


  • 14 Amber // May 23, 2013 at 2:52 am

    thanks so much this is a really easy project for school thanks!!(:

  • 15 kyle // May 31, 2013 at 10:50 am

    this catapult is waaaay to easy

  • 16 Jessica // Jun 3, 2013 at 10:51 am

    omg love this site

  • 17 joy // Jun 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    cool had some trouble but nice

  • 18 Evangelina // Jun 17, 2013 at 4:49 am

    Helped me do my project for school

  • 19 hap // Sep 5, 2013 at 4:21 am

    it works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 20 adam // Sep 18, 2013 at 3:04 am

    boring and did not help me with my project

  • 21 lisa // Sep 19, 2013 at 4:12 am

    This is toooo much fun. Thanks sPaghetti bOx KiDs!!!

  • 22 krazy // Sep 23, 2013 at 9:02 am

    it was for school thanks u saved me!!!!


  • 23 Letter to a New Homeschooler | Talking Stick Learning Center // Oct 2, 2013 at 7:59 am

    I remember us using these instructions one day. It worked great! We spent a long time hurling cotton balls toward a bowl that day.

  • 24 Hi // Mar 13, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Is this thing for 2 year olds or something.

  • 25 Spaghetti Box Kids // Mar 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Yes, basically this is a starter design for younger kids. In the middle of the article, in bold red, I give a link for more challenging designs on this site. There are nine others to choose from.

    Good luck—

  • 26 Tyler // Apr 9, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I had to do this for a school project i thought this was gonna be really boring but it was really fun. I’m gonna make another one BYE. :)

  • 27 jalen screen // Apr 29, 2014 at 11:21 am

    awesome catapults!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 28 jalen screen // Apr 29, 2014 at 11:22 am

    this project wont be boring after all

  • 29 phyco // Apr 29, 2014 at 11:44 am

    man theses catapults are fly man fly like fire

  • 30 Anonymous // May 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    i love these catapults!!!!!!!!!

  • 31 Jerett Strickland // May 27, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Awesome catapults

  • 32 CakeGroup // Jun 27, 2014 at 7:11 am


  • 33 // Jul 28, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    That’s really kool with
    a capital K

  • 34 Nancy // Jan 16, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Great success with PreK to grade 2 today. We used colored tape and a cardboard base which enabled a place for their names and easy identification. Thick elastic bands seemed to work best as they are less likely to twist. We launched pom poms. Most predicted a shorter distance then that which they actually launched. Thanks!

  • 35 hi // Oct 24, 2017 at 8:08 am

    cool things

Leave a Comment