Colorful Popsicle Stick Catapults You Can Make in a Snap

Finished popsicle stick catapults
Finished popsicle stick catapults in action

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These catapults are made with very simple supplies that you probably already have on hand.

What you need:

  • Things you probably have at home
    • Bottle cap or plastic spoon
    • Glue
    • Rubber bands
  • Things to buyschedule a reminder 1 week before you want to do this activity
    • Colorful popsicle sticks – you can use the plain wooden ones, but the colorful ones are more fun
    • Pompoms – any size will work, or you can pick other soft/ light objects to catapult

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Ideal Age Range:

Ideal age to make these with ease will be 5 – 8. If you want to make them yourself, your older toddlers (3 -4) should be able to maneuver the catapulting (just be mindful of what you choose to launch).

Mess Factor:

Low. The only clean up will be whatever the kids are launching.

Prep Time:

Less than 10 minutes!

How to Prep:

1 week before you want to do this, set yourself a calendar or task reminder to purchase any supplies you don’t have from the list above.

This activity is really just the prep after you gather materials. Once you put the catapults together you can give them to your kids and watch the fun unfold.

How much fun?

Well my 6 year old son literally made up songs and danced around the living room for at least 10 minutes about how much he loved his catapults. If that isn’t success in answering the age-old, “There’s nothing to do” whine, then I don’t know what is.

Step 1 – wrapping a rubber band around the first bundle of popsicle sticks.

Step 1 b – wrapping the other side of the bundle.

  1. Gather a bundle of 5 popsicle sticks. Tightly wrap the rubber bands around one side of the bundle. Then use a second rubber band to tightly wrap the other side.
  2. Take two additional popsicle sticks. Place one under the first bundle of 5, and one on top of it.
What your catapult will look like after Step 4
  1. Take one large rubber band and wrap it diagonally around the middle of the plus sign made by the two sets of sticks.
    • Start in the top right square and bring the rubber band across to the bottom left. Do this twice.
    • Move the same rubber band to the cross from the top left to the bottom right and wrap that twice.
    • Wrap additional times if needed to make the rubber band tight.
  2. Pinch one side of the top and bottom sticks together. Tightly wrap that with another rubber band.
Catapult option A

Catapult option B

  1. You can use a bottle cap or a plastic spoon to finish the catapult. Either option works, we typically have plastic spoons on hand more often (and I think they work better).
    • For a bottle cap – glue the cap at the top of the open end of the top set of sticks. (It will take a little bit for this to dry, which is also the benefit of using the spoon.)
    • For the spoon – slide the plastic spoon handle through the middle crossed rubber bands. Add an additional rubber band towards the top of the spoon to stabilize.
  2. You are ready to launch!

The only part of this construction that confused me was crossing the rubber bands diagonally in the middle. If you get stuck, ask your kids to help, mine grabbed it from me and finished everything up on his own…

Added creativity: 

  • Break out stickers and markers and let your kids decorate the popsicle sticks for added flair
  • Have two kids compete for launching the farthest – add measurement markers to the floor with tape and have the kids chart the results

Active Instructions:

No active participation needed from you (unless you want). Give them a bucket of pompoms or mini marshmallows and let them launch to their heart’s content.

Extend the life of the sticks:  Except any stick that you glue on, once your kids loose interest in the catapult, you can unwrap the rubber bands and put everything back on your supply shelf to be given new life in a new item!

Did your child love these catapults so much that they sang a song? If so please let us know in the comments below. If you would like to pin this activity, please use the image below.

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