Simple Catapult with Popsicle Sticks for Kids


We are building a simple popsicle stick catapult for kids. This science and STEM activity works well for kids of all ages at home or in the classroom. We love catapult crafts because once you make a catapult, then you can play with a catapult!

Text: Catapults for Distance - image is a finished popsicle stick catapult with green popsicle sticks and a blue bottle cap for a launcher - Kids Activities Blog
Let’s build a popsicle stick catapult!

Make A Simple Catapult with Popsicle Sticks

What kid doesn’t want to launch something across the room? Build a catapult to develop this love even more.

Related: 13 ways how to make a catapult and Popsicle Stick & Tissue Paper Mosaic Sun Craft

We hope your kids love this activity as much as our own do.

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Catapult With Popsicle Sticks Kids Can Make

Before building our craft stick catapult, I showed my 3 year old how to turn a spoon into a catapult. Simply press on the spoon end and the other end lifts up. You can’t make an easier catapult than that.

Popsicle Stick Catapult Supplies

Steps 1-4 in popsicle stick catapult craft for kids using popsicle sticks and a bottle cap.  Collage of 4 steps
Follow these steps to build your own popsicle stick catapult!

How To Make A Catapult for Kids Out Of Popsicle Sticks

Step 1

Stack 5 craft sticks together, and rubber band the ends.

Step 2

Stack 2 craft sticks together, and wrap a rubber band around the very end.

Step 3

Separate the 2 craft sticks. Place the stack of 5 craft sticks between the 2 craft sticks.

Step 4

Wrap a rubber band around all of the craft sticks to hold the catapult together.

Step 5

Glue a milk cap {or something similar} on to serve as a launching platform.

Related: LEGO building ideas

Popsicle Stick Catapult
This catapult craft is part of our science book!

Finished Popsicle Stick Catapult

Push down on the top craft stick and release to launch an object from the milk cap.

Active Time
15 minutes

Total Time
15 minutes

Difficulty
Medium

Estimated Cost
$1

Materials

  • 7 craft sticks
  • 3 rubber bands
  • a milk cap
  • cotton balls {or other objects to launch}

Instructions

  1. Make a stack of 5 craft sticks and then bind them together with rubber bands at each ends.
  2. Stack 2 craft sticks together and then wrap a rubber band around one end.
  3. Separate the 2 craft sticks you just attached at one end and place the stack of 5 craft sticks perpendicular in between making a cross shape.
  4. Attach the two stacks together with a rubber band at the center of the cross to hold the catapult together.
  5. Glue a milk cap or other cap to the upper popsicle stick to act as a launching platform.

Play with Catapult Science

Now create a simple experiment using the catapult of your choice.

Related: Grab our worksheet for kids to learn the scientific method steps

Try one of these simple science experiments:

  • Launch an object from the catapult multiple times and measure how far it travels each time.
  • Launch different objects from the catapult and measure how far each object travels.
  • Compare catapults. Build more than one catapult {the same or different design}. Launch the same object from each catapult and measure how far it travels.

Can you think of any other catapult experiments? Do you have a favorite catapult design?

More DIY Catapults for Kids

What a fun way to launch something in the air!  Kids can build a catapult AND learn about science at the same time.  

The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments

More Science Fun in Our 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments Book

Our book, The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments, features tons of awesome activities just like this one that will keep your kids engaged while they learn. Check out the tear sheet from the catapult craft we just did that you can download and print:

How did your popsicle stick catapult turn out? Tell us in the comments below!

Popsicle Stick Bridge

Popsicle Stick Catapult FAQ

What is a catapult?

A catapult is a simple lever machine that launches a projectile using the force of tension and torsion instead of a propellant like gun powder. Catapults are often used in war as a weapon because they are able to fling heavy objects into the distance allowing armies to stay away from each other.

How far can a popsicle stick catapult launch?

We are going to leave it up to you to find out how far your popsicle stick catapult can launch an object, but depending the catapult design and the weight of the projectile, we have found that a popsicle stick catapult can launch items over 10 feet! Be careful!

What can I teach my kids with a catapult?

There is so much STEM goodness with this catapult project! Kids can learn the basics of catapult design, how changes will affect projectile launch height and length along with problem solving how to fix a faulty catapult! Have fun because every time you build a catapult, you will learn something new no matter your age.



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