Pom Pom Launcher: Discovery at Home


  • Paint stick
  • Sand Paper
  • Small binder clip
  • Rubber band
  • Pom Poms!


  1. Grab a paint stick. This is the base of the shooter.
  2. Grab some sandpaper and sand the paint stick. Make sure it is smooth. (sandpaper is a sensory tool )
  3. Grab your binder clip and rubber band. Clip the rubber to one end of the paint stick.
  4. Duct tape the clothes pin to the other end of the paint stick.
  5. Make sure the clothes pin is secured down to the paint stick.
  6. Decorate your paint stick with markers or paint.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.