Prepare for Launch!

My five year old daughter has recently discovered the fun of catapulting things with her spoon. To bring the action a bit further away from the table, I decided to make some very simple catapults out of scrap wood. After dinner we spent the entire evening catapulting Star Wars Lego figures outdoors. It was super funny, and I was surprised at how high the figures were flying. We’re already thinking of more things to launch tomorrow.

Making it was very simple. I just took a strip of scrap wood, and attached a small piece of wood onto the bottom with wood glue. Or, of course, you could just use a spoon. Either way, a pretty fun activity!


  1. May 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    great! Thx! I remember kids at school.... a rubber, a ruler, and an angry teacher!!! LOL

    1. May 18, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Ha, yes, I remember that too!

  2. May 17, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Super Cool! The kids are going to love this. Apart from already being a cool Idea, the mini-figs make for super rad photos. Nice!

    1. May 18, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Yeah, you can't beat Star Wars mini-figs!

  3. May 18, 2012 at 12:55 am

    I love Ewoks!! Maybe I'll head out to the backyard and catipult some stuff!

  4. May 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Fabulous! We've been doing this with plastic rulers and erasers underneath up till now. Time to experiment. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Caroline French
    May 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Maybe you could try a little parachute action! That looks like fun for everyone!

  6. May 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    love it! going to write about it in my blog!!! love it a lot!!!

  7. Laura
    May 20, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Your little boy always has the most awesome pants.

    1. May 20, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      Thanks everyone! Yeah, parachute would be sweet! And yeah Laura, ha, he does sport some pretty sweet pants. I wish I could get away with wearing pants like that.

  8. May 21, 2012 at 11:23 am

    This is very simple and cute. It reminds me of one I pinned that looked pretty neat:

    1. May 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Ah, that's a great way to make an easy catapult. I love it!

    2. May 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      We've been really into these lately, too! Ours are just like Laura's except they have a plastic spoon stuck on with more rubber bands. We got the idea here: We've been having fun shooting cotton balls into a big bowl. They require a little more fine motor skill to shoot. I like how Joel's look like you just pound on them... FUN!

    3. May 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      Awesome Maiz! Yeah, I love the fine motor challenge too. A bit different kind of fun when compared to the pounders. ha. Also a good idea with the cotton balls. Marshmallows would be gone very quickly, ending the game!

  9. May 22, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Another fun idea, I love it. I bet this will keep the boys busy for a bit. Thanks.

    1. May 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Thanks Phoebe! Yeah, I'm sure you could make some awesome designs on your catapults too! I wanted to try painting mine, but haven't had the time yet.

  10. May 25, 2012 at 7:29 am

    [...] Made by Joel always has the best (and simplest) DIY projects. What kid wouldn’t love these scrap wood catapults? [...]

  11. May 25, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Great toy! There is nothing our 17-month old likes better than toys flipping into the air! Had to share:

    1. May 25, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Thanks Mina!

  12. May 28, 2012 at 2:45 am

    This is so cool! I had a few pieces of driftwood and cork. From this I've made ​​your catapult and two ships: My little one had so much fun with it! Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. May 28, 2012 at 10:07 am

      Wow that looks brilliant! What a great set of toys! I'll have to make it with the kids next time we go to the beach.

  13. jo
    June 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    thanks! these are great! my girls wanted something more elaborate... but after they saw how fast these could be made they were more than happy :) i modified it using a plastic lid (off a pop bottle, or a larger tea bottle) and glued & nailed it onto the top to hold a nut easier. thanks again, jo

  14. December 13, 2012 at 7:31 am

    [...] can see this small toy catapult adding a whole new storyline to LEGO minifigure [...]

  15. TristyK
    January 6, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Love the idea of simple machines for launching - any form is fun and by making a few different examples as a starting point you can really challenge kids to be inventive and create their own... My long time fav's for introducing the concept in the classroom has been Lincoln Logs. They lend themselves to this activity quite nicely as they are small, easily knocked down and re-built (adds a sweet little touch of problem solving), only two pieces are needed per catapult so each child can have their own, and aren't sturdy enough to launch anything dangerous! A smallish (1x2') flat board with a colander screwed to the top of one side & a fulcrum attached securely to bottom, along with hula-hoop targets and beach balls presents an excellent invitation to practice critical thinking and gross motor skills, too. Wish I had my pic's on this computer: I have FAB ones of my son with a plank, a small piece of firewood, and his large T-Rex... Maybe next time.

    1. January 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks for the great comment! And yes, I'd love to see your photos sometime. Great ideas!

  16. February 6, 2013 at 6:00 am

    [...] designer behind Made By Joel created these simple & mini catapults for his daughter out of scrap wood & wood glue. Serves as a perfect reminder that the simplest [...]

  17. March 19, 2014 at 1:55 am

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