Wednesday, January 14, 2015

DIY Toy Launcher!

With the nights still being quite long, we often find ourselves stuck inside twiddling our thumbs... and going kinda bonkers.  :)  So one day we took matters into our own hands, and our family worked together to tinker and turn a long, narrow box into a DIY Toy Launcher!

DIY Cardboard Toy Launcher

DIY toy launcher!  fun STEM activity to build and play with kids!
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It's really amazing how many moving types of toys you can make from with rubber bands!  The stretchiness of the rubber bands provides ample opportunities for fun STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) activities and crafts.  (For example, we've made this DIY Rocket Launcher, this DIY Paper Slingshot, and this Cardboard car... that uses potential and kinetic energy to MOVE using rubber bands!)  

So here's what the DIY Toy launcher looks like head-on:

how to build a DIY toy launcher with kids- fun STEM activity!

On one end of the launcher, you'll cut out a hole for your car (or pom pom, or airplane) to fit through.

Then, the other end will be your launcher.  Here's how we made it!

how to build a DIY toy launcher!

How to build the launching component:

Cut out a small rectangle from a cereal box.  Then, fold it in half.  Drill 2 holes through your cardboard.  Then, kinda push out the open side to create a larger surface area.  This little cereal box bit will be the part to actually push your cars.

Then, take 2 pieces of tape and cover both sides of your box.  (This will make the cardboard sturdier when you drill through both sides.)  Before you drill the holes, stop and think!  Make sure that you leave some space for your cereal box launcher to be pulled back.  Now, take an extra long rubber band  band (ours is green) and cut it.  String it though the sides of the box and your cereal box rectangle.  Double knot it in place.  (We got our rubber bands from Staples.)

Now, place a piece of tape over the back of your box.  Again, drill 2 holes in the back of the box.  And once again, cut an extra long rubber band (ours is purple) and string it through the back of the box and the cereal box rectangle.  Triple knot it.

"X" Marks the spot!

Your launching component is ready!  After several test runs, we found that toys went the farthest when they were placed slightly behind the horizontal (green) rubber band.  To help us remember that, I marked the spot with an "X."

To operate your toy launcher:

To operate the launcher, pull back on the purple rubber band, place your toy on the "x", and then let go!  Your toy will fly out and (hopefully) through the opening.

And, (hooray!) Chuck actually wanted to do some drawing.  So he doodled all over his launcher.

color in your diy toy launcher

Hope you have fun making, and playing with this toy!  It's a really fun activity!  Plus, it provides a hands-on opportunity to practice problem solving and use engineering skills!

This toy launcher is also great for launching other toys besides cars!  So far we've used it to launch planes, balls, and pom poms too.  :)  (Although this DIY  Rocket Launcher is still hands-down the best pom pom launcher around!)

Fun STEM activity- build a DIY toy launcher with kids!

Let's keep in Contact!

Like this idea?  You can always find other fun ideas on my Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts!  (Or subscribe to my email mailing list by filling out the pink bar at the top of your screen.)

Happy Making!