We love messy art over here in the Create Laugh Learn household, and this activity was an epic messy adventure. How could anyone resist launching paint through the air with a homemade catapult? This is such a great combination of engineering, and art. A perfect STEAM activity!
- Craft sticks- 9 jumbo craft sticks per catapult.
- Rubber bands
- Unsharpened pencils– 6 pencils per catapult
- Paper towel rolls– 3 paper towel rolls per catapult
- Plastic spoons
- Washable paint
- Large easel paper
- Large Box, or something to tape the paper to.
- Drop cloth, or shower curtain liner to put on the floor if you are crazy enough to do it inside.
Gather Your Supplies
Make sure you have everything you need ahead of time, there is nothing worse than having to run around the house while you are in the middle of a fun activity!
Build Your Catapults
We decided to test out several different versions of homemade catapults. I looked on Pintrest for homemade catapults, and decided to do a basic craft stick catapult, one with unsharpened pencils, and one using paper towel rolls. There are so many different catapult ideas out there. My daughter had fun helping me put the rubber bands on the paper towel rolls. If you have an older child, you can challenge them to create their own catapults. This is a great way you can get your kids excited about building things. Catapults are so much fun! After this activity, just set the catapults out to dry, and then you can use them later to launch pompom balls, and other small objects. We have had loads of fun this week with our catapults.
Set Up Your Target
I used a large packing box folded in half, taped a long piece of easel paper to it, and leaned it up against the wall. In hind sight, I think I should have unfolded the box, to make it twice as tall, and taped another roll of paper on to the top section. You are going to want a large target for this activity!
See that paint that missed my target? That my friends, is my dinning room wall! I am thanking the inventor of washable paint, because all of that paint scrubbed right off my wall, with a little bit of cleaning spray, paper towels, and a toothbrush. I am not afraid of a little mess, and would gladly scrub my walls any day in order to have a great experience like this. Catapults + paint= Epic fun!
Prepare Your Area
If you are crazy enough to do this inside, like I was, you definitely want to put a drop cloth down on the floor. I like to use a shower curtain liner for my art projects, because you can just throw them in the washer, and it makes clean up a breeze! As you can see, my shower curtain liner was definitely necessary, and there was zero paint on my floors at the end. If you are smart, do this outside, where you can freely make a mess, and let loose!
Ready, Set, Paint!
Once you have everything prepared, and your catapults built, you can start painting. Just squeeze a little bit of paint into your catapult, and let it fly! As you get going, you can test out how far each catapult shoots, and if needed adjust the angle you shoot from if needed. I found it easier to hit the paper if I picked up my catapults, and angled them toward the paper, rather than trying to launch the paint with the catapults sitting on a flat surface.
Go grab your supplies, and let the paint fly! My list of creative ideas is a mile long, but combining a catapult with bright, beautiful paint, was tempting enough to make me bring this idea to life, and it was a big hit. You will be the coolest adult around if you let your kids do this activity. Let me know how it goes when you try it out! If you have any questions, just drop me a comment.