If you’ve never made a popsicle stick catapult before, I am so glad you’re here! This is a classic childhood activity with SO much learning packed into it—from physics and engineering to making predictions and testing hypotheses.
You and your little one are going to love it!
This activity is part of the Knights and Castles session in my Kindergarten at Home curriculum. The curriculum has 36 weeks of daily activities designed to give your child a brilliant foundation in literacy, numeracy, health and wellness, critical thinking, problem-solving, and more.
It also includes some amazing deep learning art and cooking projects, stories, and… well, let me show you! Take a peek inside: https://www.howweelearn.com/kindergarten-at-home/
Before we get into the catapult activity, do you have my FREE Kindergarten Number Bundle yet? You can grab yours right here:
Popsicle Stick Catapult STEM Activity
Instructions for Building a Popsicle Stick Catapult
Alright, it’s catapult time!
Start by stacking seven popsicle sticks together and secure them on each end with an elastic.
Next, slide a popsicle stick between the top two popsicle sticks in the stack. Line up another popsicle stick with it and secure them together at one end with an elastic. Push the two popsicle sticks further into the stack, so the elastic holding them together is right next to the stack.
You’re almost done!
Use an elastic to secure a disposable spoon to the top popsicle stick. You could also hot glue a bottle cap to the top popsicle stick. We enjoyed using a spoon so we could experiment with how sliding the spoon further in or out changes the trajectory of the catapult.
Now you’re ready to put a small object on the spoon—pompoms, marshmallows, and buttons work wonderfully!—and while holding the catapult with one hand, gently push down the spoon, and… GO! Release and let it fly!
Extend the Learning with Your Popsicle Stick Catapult
As I mentioned before, we love to experiment with moving the spoon to see how high or how far we can make those pompoms fly.
There are so many other ways you can experiment and extend learning with this simple popsicle stick catapult!
Here are a few ideas:
- Distance Challenge: Which material do you think will fly the furthest? Why? Try firing a few different materials and mark their distances with a piece of painter’s tape. How might you make it go even further?
- Target Practice: Set up some targets and see how accurate you can get with firing your catapult. Your little one will learn so much about force, angles, and trajectory!
- Construction Techniques: Does it make a difference if you use thinner or thicker popsicle sticks? What if you use more or less popsicle sticks in the stack? Does the tension of the elastics make a difference?
- Research Catapults: Catapults have been used for centuries. Research catapults and compare some of the different designs used throughout history.
And that’s that! I hope you and your little one had a blast making your catapult and firing pompoms all over the place.
You will find this activity and so much more in Kindergarten at Home. The curriculum provides a brilliant foundation for 4-6 year olds in academics, critical thinking, problem-solving and emotional wellness in as little as 3 hours a week.
Psst! Did you know Kindergarten at Home is getting an update? This beautiful new version will be released in February 2023. Order the current version today, and you will also be sent the updated version when it is released!
Take a peek at Kindergarten at Home right here:
Thank you so much for reading, sweet friend,
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your FREE Kindergarten Number Bundle!
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