About the Activity
In this 4‑H at Home activity, kids will build marshmallow catapults. From this activity, they will learn about the engineering design process and physics!
Brought to you by Guinness World Records
- Bulldog clips
- Bottle caps
- Popsicle sticks (two sizes)
No matter what you use to make your catapult, you’re going to need a way of sticking things together. A glue gun is the fastest and most secure way of doing this. Take care when working with hot glue, ask a responsible adult to help you with this bit.
- With the glue gun loaded and ready, the first thing to do is build the base. Whatever shape you go with, the main thing you want it to be is sturdy. With this in mind, we went for a square design, with a reinforced strip in the middle to hold the firing arm.
- Now, we turn our attention to the firing arm. This is the bit that will launch the marshmallow. We made ours from four more lolly sticks. Carefully cut one end off each stick, and make sure that they’re all the same length!
- Glue the four sticks on to the bulldog clip, sandwiching the metal arms between the sticks. Don’t be shy with the glue at this stage as you want the firing arm to be solid. Remember to set it aside to dry for a few minutes before you continue.
- Attach one side of the firing arm to the central plate on the base. While that’s setting, you can start making the two side panels. We created two right-angles out of six smaller lolly sticks (see Top Tip!, right, before you begin)
- The catapult is really starting to take shape now. Glue the two triangular struts either side of the firing arm. It’s worth leaving these to dry and then applying some additional glue to make sure the joins are strong. This will help extend the life-span of your candy chucker.
- It doesn’t look like much, but this small piece of lolly stick – or whatever you opt to use – is crucial. Without a crossbar, the arm keeps swinging and your marshmallow is doomed to a mediocre flight.
- The final step is to add the “bucket” that will hold your tasty projectile. You want something deep enough so that the marshmallow won’t keep falling out, but not so snug that the payload might get stuck when firing. Before sticking, lightly score the base of the lid for extra grip.
- The final step is to add the “bucket” that will hold your tasty projectile. You want something deep enough so that the marshmallow won’t keep falling out, but not so snug that the payload might get stuck when firing. Before sticking, lightly score the base of the lid for extra grip. More info available here.
Break a Record: Are you ready to attempt a Guinness World Records title using your catapult? Visit Guinness World Records to apply for the title of most marshmallows caught in the mouth with a home-made catapult in one minute.
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