Building a Paper Roll Catapult

Building a Paper Roll Catapult
Love was truly in the air when JDaniel and I made this homemade catapult and heart shaped toss objects. It was such fun to try to pull the wooden spoon lever back and watch the hearts fly. JDaniel discovered a catapult activity on the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish site that he really liked. It was after watching him play that game that I started researching catapults we could make a home.
I found a number of types of catapults using a wide range of materials. Some were really easy and others were really complicated.  I decided on one that was easy and used materials that we already had at home  I found on a site called Spaghetti Box Kids. (They actually have several easy and cool catapults on that site.)
Next JDaniel and I gathered the materials. 

They were:

  • Newspaper
  • Wooden Spoon (They recommended a tablespoon.)
  • Rubber band
  • Heavy Tape (They recommended masking tape.)
  • Foam Sheets with Sticky Backs
  • Small Beans

How did we put the catapult together?

  • We rolled the newspaper into a cylinder long ways.

Taping Down the Paper Roll
  • We placed tape at both ends and the center to insure that it would stay rolled up.
  • We placed the rubber band beneath the rolled newspaper at its center and pulled it to the top of the newspaper roll.
  • I held the rubber bands in place and JDaniel slipped the spoon through both of the loops.
  • Then we taped the roll to the floor to hold it in place. The Spaghetti Kids directions mentioned taping it to a place mat so you could move it around.

How did we put the flying hearts together?

Creating Bean Hearts to Fling
  • Small hearts were cut out of sticky backed foams sheets
  • A heart was placed on the table sticky side up and the paper cover they sticky side was removed.
  • A couple of small beans were placed in the center of it.
  • A second heart with its sticky paper removed was placed neatly on top of it.
  • We rubbed our fingers around the edges secure the edge and enclose the beans.
Then we were ready to explore the homemade catapult and let love (hearts) fills the air. The spoon’s handle (a lever) can be moved  up and down in the rubber band to work on distance. We had a wonderful time doing just that.
Testing the Catapult on the Floor

We tried the catapult on the floor and off the edge of a table. The handle of the spoon wasn’t able to be pushed down very far on the floor. The open space off the edge of the table allowed the handle a wide area to swing down into. We are able to really explore the handle (lever) and fulcrum (the roll of newspaper ads) from the table top. We also took time to explore the various names of the parts of the catapult we had built.

Slamming a Hand Down on the Spoon
One the things we like best about building a catapult is  the ability to cause objects (hearts) to fly through the air. We even got one to land all the way across the room in the sink. What fun!

Other Valentine’s Day exploration posts:

Deirdre Smith writes/owns JDaniel4’s Mom. After twenty years as a elementary school and technology resource teacher in Northern Virginia, she became a stay at home mom in upstate South Carolina. Her blog features ways she and her 5 year old are exploring learning, crafting, creating healthy meals and living life to its fullest. Deirdre can also be found on twitter as @jdaniel4smom and on her blog’s FB page. You can also check her out on Google+.


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