Tag: Simple Machine

C is for Catapult!

How to make (and test) DIY craft stick catapults! Fun catapult STEM project for kids, that combines physics, engineering and math with play.

Catapult STEM - how to make DIY craft stick catapults

Making catapults is one of those classic STEM activities that are so much fun.

Y’all know what a STEM activity is, right? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and a great STEM activity is one that incorporates two or more of these pillar subjects, in an open-ended, lets-find-out, hands-on kinda way.

Making catapults involves three of the four pillar STEM subjects – there’s the whole projectile, forces, physics thing (Science = tick!), creating a machine and evaluating different designs (Engineering = tick!) and measuring the height and distance of your projectiles (Maths = tick!).

So I’m pleased to present this as the C is for Catapult submission in this year’s A-Z of STEM Activities for Kids series that Little Bins for Little Hands is running. (We also submitted a Why STEM for Girls is So Important post to that series too – because that’s something that we tend to be a bit passionate about around here!)

Anyway, I digress.

We’ve made easy upcycled catapults before (which were so much fun!). But this time, I thought we’d try making classic craft stick catapults – mostly because I’ve been wanting to make some for ages and ages and ages.

Launching a DIY craft stick catapult
Read More C is for Catapult!

DIY Pulley for the loungeroom stairs

How we made our first DIY loungeroom pulley – and learning about physics and simple machines through play.

Make a DIY Loungeroom Pulley - for physics science fun and learning through play

We’ve been wanting to make a pulley for a while now.

I’m not quite sure when exactly the fascination started, but it’s been going for a few months at least. Every time my daughter Jewel asked if we could make one, I couldn’t help but think “Yes, we should to get onto that. We’ll need to look up what to do, and make a trip to the hardware store to gather some supplies, including one of those fancy pulley wheel thingies. But right now we have abc and xyz going on. So we’ll look into it later. Soon…

To be honest, I’d turned it into something that felt a bit daunting.

I’m not necessarily afraid of daunting. But with other things creating busy-ness in our lives, daunting made it easy to keep putting our pulley off until some fictional future time when we’d have plenty of time to research, plan and gather supplies.

But then I realised… it really doesn’t have to be that complicated. By definition, pulleys are a simple machine, after all! Read More DIY Pulley for the loungeroom stairs

Easy Upcycled Catapult {STEM goes green}

How to make an easy, upcycled catapult! Fun physics for kids. Choose your own projectile….

Easy Upcycled DIY Catapult - fun physics science play for kids

Have you heard of the 28 Days of Hands-On STEM Activities for Kids blog hop that’s running all this month? We’re tickled pink to be joining in. There’s 4 weeks of fun science, with each week revolving around a different theme. This week’s theme is STEM Goes Green, and we’re sharing a fun environmentally-friendly science project that kids can make, using upcycled materials that you can find at home. Bonus that it takes only a few minutes to make, so the kids can start having fun straight away.

Toddler playing with a DIY catapult

Suitable for

This is a fun physics experiment that can be easily tailored to suit different ages:
Toddlers will simply enjoy the cause and effect. (Choose a soft projectile).
Preschoolers might like to experiment with different projectiles to see what will shoot the furthest or highest.
Kindergarteners and early primary school kids should be able to make this themselves, perhaps trying out different materials from around the house. Experiment with moving the fulcrum and/or using a longer beam to see how this affects the results. Set up a target and see if they can hit it. Keep score.

Launching a DIY Upcycled Catapult - physics fun for kids

To make this easy DIY catapult, you will need:

  • a sturdy cardboard tube
  • a large hair elastic
  • a wooden spoon
  • a projectile of your choice
  • safety glasses (optional)

Read More Easy Upcycled Catapult {STEM goes green}