easy marshmallow catapults {summer fun for kids}


 

So, I occasionally have moments as a mom where I think “that was perfect. I’m a genius.” Like the time I got the child who’d been awake screaming for two hours with an ear infection to settle down and go to sleep by stuffing a little chocolate in his mouth. Or when I made the illustrated cookie recipe so my preschooler could follow along on the recipe when we make cookies. Now, the time I tried to put said preschooler to bed at 8 pm one night and he asked “but when do I get to have dinner?” was not one of those times. And the time the tooth fairy forgot to come for the third night in a row was also not one of those times… So, alright, the times I do feel like a genius mom are few and far between, but the day I came up with these marshmallow catapults was one of them. It was spring break and we were in desparate need of something fun to do that 1) didn’t cost much and 2) wasn’t too complicated. Inspiration hit and these simple kid-constructed catapults were born. Keep reading for photo tutorial.

Seeing as it’s summer break (or will be soon), I thought I’d share this kid-friendly craft. All you need to make a catapult is: 4 large marshmallows, 7 bamboo skewers, a thin rubber band, a plastic spoon, and masking tape.

Construction is simple enough that my 4-yr old was able to make his own. The older kids spent a while making “mods” to their catapult, reinforcing the joints with more masking tape, etc. Here’s the process:

Kids can play with their catapults immediately after construction, but they’ll need to be fairly gentle so they don’t tear the marshmallows. Being gentle can be difficult for kids, so I recommend you construct the catapults one day, then let them sit out overnight so the marshmallows will stiffen up and become much stronger, allowing for rougher play and stronger launching. We taped a target in the middle of our dining room table and took turns trying to hit it:

I even made a bunch of these the day before my oldest son’s 12th birthday party, then sent all the party attendees outside with them. We used hula hoops for targets out on the back patio. The boys at the party had a blast sending small candies across the yard.

Anything pretty small works fine as ammunition – mini marshmallows, cheerios, mike&ike’s, etc.

One last note – the skewers do have a pointy end which can be fairly sharp, so if you are making these with younger kids you might want to snip the point off with kitchen shears.

I hope this helps you keep everyone busy this summer – I have a few more fun kid craft ideas coming in the next few weeks.

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Comments

  1. 2

    Elise says

    This is awesome! My son is begging me to try this out… we will be making a catapult soon. Thanks for the idea!

  2. 5

    Susie says

    bahahahahh. This is so rad. Oh man, being an adult I should not enjoy this as much as I do. I am SO making this.

  3. 6

    Madge says

    Hello !
    You just helped me cure my summer boredom!! Awesome idea and so simple! I am glad I had all the supplies on hand too!

  4. 7

    Danessh says

    This helped me in my school project of lever principle. …I made it and it is awesome…but I am finding out anything which can replace the marshmallow?

  5. 8

    Melissa says

    I am adding one of these to the gingerbread house I decorate this year. Then, while the rest of my family tries to finish their decorating of their gingerbread houses, I am going to pelt them with marshmallows!

  6. 10

    Beth says

    Your a life saver, my son has to build a catapult for school and everything we found involved clothespins and no creativity, this has his mind rolling with ideas on how to make the marshmallows go further and thinking of ways to make it number one for his class! Thanks for sharing!!

    • 11

      autumn says

      I’m so glad it was helpful! I actually figured it out when my son was supposed to build a catapult for school and everything we found online was so complicated. I kept thinking: there must be an easier way! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      • 12

        Jessica says

        Do you know if it will shoot big marshmallows? I want to do this with a kid I nanny but I don’t want mini marshmallows lost all over the house

        • 13

          autumn says

          Mini marshmallows fit better on the spoon, which is what launches stuff – but I’m fairly sure you could make it work with big marshmallows – they just might not go as far. You could probably also wad up pieces of paper into “balls” and launch those – that way there’s no food ending up on the ground. Have fun!

  7. 14

    Chacity says

    So we are doing a project for school, how far will the marshmallow launch! im really trying to get a good grade!

    • 15

      autumn says

      The staler your marshmallows are (that you used to build the catapult with), the stronger the entire structure will be and the further stuff will go. So try to get it built a few days in advance to let the marshmallows harden up – or buy the marshmallows at least a day in advance and let some of them sit out of the bag to go stale before you even build it. You shouldn’t have trouble getting small marshmallows all the way across the room at school if you do that!

  8. 18

    BL6master says

    This is the coolest thing ever! I’m going to give my students the materials (after dire warnings about sharp points and never EAT anything during science) and ask them to build a catapult,using all the parts, without the instructions. I’ll see what they come up with! There are many spin-off lessons, too! Thanks!

  9. 19

    Krista says

    Great idea! I am the Children’s Librarian at a public library in Iowa. On Monday I have 25 kids coming to construct these catapults. We will then have a contest to see who can launch their payload the farthest. Should be a lot of fun! (Thank you for the awesome picture tutorial – this will help moms and kids to follow along with ease)

  10. 20

    Bettie says

    We made these for a Sunday afternoon indoor activity because it’s so hot outside and they turned out great. My son and a friend were able to assemble them just as directed and had so much fun. I think this would be a fun activity for our Cub Scout troop, so I might try it with a large group. Thanks for a fun, easy and inexpensive activity, it brought lots of laughter-one of my favorite sounds ever!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Not everyone is as handy with tools and building as they once were, so I hope to see some collaborations between different groups, maybe even some teaming up to share resources and expertise, or some grandparents pitching in.  It could be just the opportunity you’ve been looking for to try a maker project?  Alternatively you might want to start small and build a simple one out of craft sticks, or marshmallows. […]

  2. […] 9. Para las tardes en casa. Porque siempre hay alguna tarde en la que el mal tiempo hace aparición, esta es una actividad perfecta y con la que se pasarán horas jugando. Una catapulta que podemos hacer con cosas que tengamos en casa. En este caso han usado las famosas nubes de chuchería, unos palos -que pueden ser los que utilizamos para brochetas en la cocina-, una goma y una cuchara de plástico. (Vía: It’s Always Autumn) […]

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