DIY catapult - a quick and easy how to

These quick and easy catapults are great fun to make and play with. Winding elastic bands around wooden sticks is also great for developing fine motor skills and the final catapults give children the opportunity to explore and discover how energy can be transferred through elastic.

You will need

Just Follow these 7 Simple Steps

  1. Take four wooden lollypop sticks and secure them together at either end with elastic bands.
  2. Take another four wooden lollypop sticks and again join them together with elastic bands at either end.
  3. Take 2 wooden lollypop sticks and wind an elastic band around one end.
  4. Pull the two sticks apart and push one of the piles of four sticks between them.
  5. Put the other pile of four sticks underneath the four sticks that are in between the two sticks. Attach the piles of four sticks at both ends with two more elastic bands.
  6. Glue a small plastic bottle lid or egg carton cup onto the end (the opposite end to the elastic bands) of the top stick leaving just enough space for a finger to push the stick down at the end.
  7. To fire the catapult put a pom pom or ball of scrunched up paper in the cup or bottle lid and press down on the end to fire, whilst holding the other side still with the other hand.

There are lots of chances for learning and exploring including seeing what affects how far the pom pom is thrown through the air. Children can experiment with different sized pom poms or scrunched up paper balls. They can also see if the distance is affected by how hard they push down to make the catapult fire. For a fun game, try drawing a target board onto a piece of paper, children can then fire pom poms at the target to score points.

This activity covers a number of different EYFS Goals:

Communication and language development – listening to instructions and discussing what they are going to do.

Physical development – using fine motor skills to wind elastic bands around lolly sticks and operate catapults.

Personal, social and emotional development – developing confidence in deciding how to use catapults.

Understanding the world – understanding the properties of elastic and how energy can be transferred.

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