Playing with your children and having fun doesn't always have to involve dollhouses or wrestling on the floor. One fun project you can work on with your family is building a catapult with Popsicle sticks. This simple project can be put together quickly and can help create the backdrop for larger Popsicle worlds and potential battles. Make more than one and hold challenges to see who can hurl grapes the farthest, or who has the strongest marble thrower. Any small object will do and opens a world of possibilities for playtime.
Things You'll Need
Small handsaw or knife
Small finishing nail
Small medicine dosage cup
Make a platform for the catapult by laying 10 sticks side by side. Place a support stick on top, perpendicular to the direction of the other sticks about an inch in from the edge. Place a second support one inch in from the other edge. Glue into place and let dry.
Create a small wall by lining up five sticks. Cut a sixth stick in half and glue to the small wall in the same manner as the main platform, with each support stick one inch in from the sides. Glue and let dry.
Mount your small wall to the platform by standing the wall up across the center of the platform. Cut a stick in half and glue each half on either side of the wall at a diagonal to brace the wall. Glue along the bottom of the wall where it comes into contact with the platform as well. Let dry.
Make a hinge by first gluing three sticks together to form one thick stick. Set the thick catapult stick down so it is resting on a solid stick and not its layered side. Place the end of another stick under the catapult, and one stick over the catapult stick. Hold the three together and nail the finishing nail through all three ends. Cap the nail with a pencil eraser. Glue the eraser on if desired, but be sure not to glue the sticks together. At the opposite end of the catapult stick, glue the base of the medicine cup to the layered side of the sticks.
Set the base of the catapult down on the center of the platform with the hinge and catapult stick butted up against the wall. Glue the base to the platform sufficiently, again being sure to avoid gluing the hinge area.
Glue a final stick to the front of the platform so that it overhangs the edge and let dry. This stick will hold the rubber band to bring the catapult forward. Loop your rubber band over and around the cup and bring it down toward the wall. Extend the rubber band and loop it around the holding brace you just added.
You can set out a piece of poster board and mark it with 5-inch intervals. Set the catapult on one end and test how far different objects will fly.