- Paint stick
- Sand Paper
- Small binder clip
- Rubber band
- Pom Poms!
- Grab a paint stick. This is the base of the shooter.
- Grab some sandpaper and sand the paint stick. Make sure it is smooth. (sandpaper is a sensory tool )
- Grab your binder clip and rubber band. Clip the rubber to one end of the paint stick.
- Duct tape the clothes pin to the other end of the paint stick.
- Make sure the clothes pin is secured down to the paint stick.
- Decorate your paint stick with markers or paint.
- Next pull the rubber band using two fingers all the way to the clip at the other end and clip it into the clothes pin. Place a pom pom in place.
- Press down on the clothes pin and watch it fly!
Ways to expand it:
- Try adding a thicker rubber band. What happens to the distance of the pom pom when launched?
- Try using something other than a pom pom. Does a ping pong ball work?
- Have a competition. Have someone in your family create another launcher. See who can launch a pom pom the farthest.
How do kids benefit?
- Basic engineering skills. Creating a launcher using the materials to test and see how far you can launch a pom pom. Engineers solve problems with constraints. They learn to solve problems by using the engineering design process: asking questions, coming up with solutions, building, testing and improving.
- Fine motor skills. Using your fingers to pull the rubber band back, and then releasing it.
- Hand eye coordination. Use your hands to pull back the rubber band and clip it into the clothes pin.
- Sensory play! How does the sand paper feel as you rub it across the paint stick?
- Force: energy caused by a push or a pull, in this case, the pull created by your hand when you pull the rubber band, and the push created by the rubber band against the paint.
- Potential Energy: The amount of energy an object stored up in something. A rubber band stretched by your fingers has lots of potential energy!
- Kinetic energy: The amount of energy an object has when in motion. When your hand releases the rubber band, it loses potential energy but gains kinetic energy.