Spaghetti Box Kids

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How to Make a Catapult for Kids

July 21st, 2011 · 33 Comments

You’ve heard the saying– there’s more than one way to milk a cow. Likewise, there’s more than one way to make a catapult for kids. The most important thing, of course, is that it launches things effectively. It should also be easy to make, remain sturdy, and require nothing more than everyday household items.

simple catapult designBy now you’ve probably noticed there are lots of catapult designs for kids on this site. The number one question I get is…which one launches things the furthest? I receive a range of other questions, including (believe it or not—) which one fits best in a purse? In any event, I’ve decided to rate the catapults according to some basic categories in order to help you decide which one is best for you.

Categories:

Distance- which one launches things the furthest
Durability- how well does it hold up under heavy use
Ease of construction- how easy is it to put together
Ease of finding materials- likelihood of finding materials around the house
Easy to take to grandma’s- chances of making it to grandma’s and back
Looks good in science class- what’s the wow factor

The ratings are 1-10 (10=superior) as compared to the other catapults.

Easy to Make Catapult – Basic Design
Distance – 5
Durability – 8
Ease of construction – 10
Ease of finding materials – 10
Make it to grandma’s and back – 8
Looks good in science class – 5

Notes: Quick and super easy to assemble. Great starter catapult for Pre-schoolers.

Easy to Make Catapult – Coffee Cup Design
Distance – 9
Durability – 10
Ease of construction – 8
Ease of finding materials – 10
Make it to grandma’s and back – 9
Looks good in science class – 9

Notes: Improved fulcrum offers surprising launch power.

Easy to Make Catapult – Fantastic Soda Can Design
Distance – 9
Durability – 10
Ease of construction – 8
Ease of finding materials – 9
Make it to grandma’s and back – 9
Looks good in science class – 10

Notes: Great arm tension and super durability. Definitely looks good in science class.

Easy to Make Catapult – Soup Can Design
Distance – 7
Durability – 10
Ease of construction – 10
Ease of finding materials – 10
Make it to grandma’s and back – 10
Looks good in science class – 8

Notes: Quick assembly. Adjustable launch cup can be altered for best performance.

Easy to Make Catapult – Amazing Dimple Design
Distance – 7
Durability – 7
Ease of construction – 10
Ease of finding materials – 9
Make it to grandma’s and back – 7
Looks good in science class – 5

Notes: Design uses an oatmeal container, so if you like oatmeal, the materials are easy to find.

Easy to Make Catapult – Super Fling Design
Distance – 10
Durability – 10
Ease of construction – 7
Ease of finding materials – 9
Make it to grandma’s and back – 6
Looks good in science class – 10

Notes: Performs extremely well in the distance category, and offers an eccentric look.

Easy to Make Catapult – Egg Carton Design
Distance – 6
Durability – 6
Ease of construction – 6
Ease of finding materials – 10
Make it to grandma’s and back – 6
Looks good in science class – 7

Notes: This catapult is fun to make and it looks cool. Hurling power is modest.

Easy to Make Catapult – Brawny Launcher Design
Distance – 8
Durability – 10
Ease of construction – 8
Ease of finding materials – 10
Make it to grandma’s and back – 10
Looks good in science class – 8

Notes: This is a super sturdy design with notable hurling power.

Mini Catapult – Arc Tension Design
Distance – 7
Durability – 8
Ease of construction – 8
Ease of finding materials – 10
Make it to grandma’s and back – 5
Looks good in science class – 10

Notes: Impressive technical appearance, but slender chance of making it to grandma’s and back.

Mini Catapult – Bear Clamp Base Design
Distance – 7
Durability – 8
Ease of construction – 8
Ease of finding materials – 10
Make it to grandma’s and back – 5
Looks good in science class – 7

Notes: Unique, versatile technique stimulates kids’ own ideas for catapult making.

Keep in mind that the ratings are in comparison with one another. The Superfling Design, for instance, hurls things so far (20+ feet) that by comparison the other designs appear to have modest distance ratings. In other words, if the only catapult you make is the Arc-Tension Design, its launching power will seem quite normal. No doubt you will be motivated to tinker with the design to make it work better. But then–after all–that’s the fun of making catapults!

Have Fun!

Tags: Kids' Science · Kids’ Activities

33 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sue // Jul 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Nice rating system! I’m letting my son pick which to make. Good job. Thanks :)

  • 2 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jul 22, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Sue- glad you like the ratings. Good luck—

  • 3 Doug // Jul 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    The catapults bring back memories of toys I used to play with when I was young. I’ve turned my grandkids onto making these and they’re really into it. Thanks for sharng the designs.

  • 4 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jul 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Sure thing. I think the best toys are the simplest ones. I’m glad to hear your grandkids are enjoying themselves. All the Best -AV

  • 5 Jolie // Jul 31, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    The best part is each time you show how to make a catapult out of household items. Thats what I’ve been looking for and thats what you’re site has. Nice going for the parent who doesn’t have the tools or doesnt want to spend half a day trying to make a catapult. Jolie – Portland, OR

  • 6 Spaghetti Box Kids // Aug 1, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Jolie,

    Thanks for your insight. It’s good to see you’re satisfied with the ease of construction. They’re kind of catchy, aren’t they?

    All the Best,
    -AV

  • 7 Jolie // Aug 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Yea, their taking over my house- lol!

  • 8 Spaghetti Box Kids // Aug 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Good to hear! Best of luck. Cheers-

  • 9 Zach // Aug 10, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Very cool. Your designs are straightforward and overall pretty easy to assemble. I bookmarked the page :)

  • 10 Spaghetti Box Kids // Aug 11, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. Glad you like them. Do you prefer one over the others?

  • 11 Amy // Sep 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Chance of making it to grandma’s and back? I guess that’s what you call a real world application! I love it! Very funny.

  • 12 Spaghetti Box Kids // Sep 7, 2011 at 1:22 am

    Thanks. I’m glad you liked that one. Cheers -AV

  • 13 Gretchen // Oct 6, 2011 at 5:40 am

    I’m so glad I found your website. Our boys had a blast today making several different catapult models from your site. Check out pictures on our blog. And I’ve now subscribed to your site for more ideas. Thanks.

  • 14 Spaghetti Box Kids // Oct 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Those pictures are priceless. I’m glad the boys had fun with the designs. Great site overall. I love the concept. (It makes me want to change into my Saturday clothes right now—.) Keep up the great work. All the Best– AV

  • 15 jacob // Dec 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    nice charts and useful

  • 16 todd // Apr 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    very funny
    make it to grandmas and back

  • 17 larry // Apr 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    the arc catapult really worked i mean it slung my leftovers everywhere

  • 18 Gwendolyn // May 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    i haven’t tried it yet but I’m looking for something that i can do in a classroom.

  • 19 Spaghetti Box Kids // May 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Gwendolyn,

    You can make any one of these designs in a classroom. Just have your materials ready to go.

    Good luck-
    AV

  • 20 a guy u dont know // Jun 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I <3 this web :)

  • 21 jock // Aug 17, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Ok not one of these is good for detention I need one that takes like 5 min to make and can fit in ur backpack and is not obvious I made a great one out of 3 peaces of paper but it only has about 25 uses when the distance is cut in half so I need one that is good for atleast 100 uses without killing to many trees

  • 22 Spaghetti Box Kids // Aug 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    jock, try the soup can design. It assembles quickly and easily fits in a back pack. -AV

  • 23 Kimberly // Nov 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    i think it is fun and easy for my children. :)

  • 24 Anonymous // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I need this for my classroom and it seems good

  • 25 Spellcaster // May 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    This really does look easy to do.Thanks!

  • 26 Alex // May 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    i think there are so many designs i want to make thanks for giving all the directens

  • 27 Jasmine // May 6, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    that is good really good keep it going

  • 28 james // May 8, 2013 at 9:48 am

    dang, catapult jackpot. guess i know what ima be doing.

  • 29 fadil // May 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    cool story bro

  • 30 Mahalia Marrow // Jul 30, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    This seems pretty basic. I shouldn’t have an issue implementing these methods!!

  • 31 Geology ROCKS! // Aug 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    [...] How to Make a Catapult for Kids has illustrated instructions for making several, categorized by distance, durability, ease of construction, easy of finding materials, and wow factor. [...]

  • 32 samana // Aug 23, 2013 at 10:47 am

    thnx soo much…i really loved the arc tension and soda can designs..this was a lot of help.. :)

  • 33 alex // Sep 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    great ideas!!!

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