If your kids love nothing more than hurling missiles at each other (as is often the case), why not save some money by eschewing expensive shop-bought toy launchers in favour of this DIY crisp-tub cannon?
This handy how-to guide comes from the Royal Institution, the home of British science, who have released a series of videos aimed at teaching children scientific concepts through fun science projects.
What you'll need:
- a sturdy card cylinder (the video uses an empty Pringle tube but you can get creative)
- an empty plastic bottle
- rubber bands
- various projectiles (tennis ball, ping pong ball, even screwed-up paper)
Watch the video below to learn how to assemble the parts to create a two-part launcher formed from a plastic bottle and a card cylinder hitched together with rubber bands.
It's cheap, simple and guaranteed to keep children (and even grumpy teens) entertained for hours as they re-enact their own Gunfight at the O.K Corral.
But this is a video from the Royal Institution, after all, so there's an educational angle to this home-made artillery. The rubber-band cannon is the perfect way to teach children about the principles behind energy and motion.
By pulling back on the rubber bands and releasing them, we are transferring kinetic energy from ourselves onto the projectile, enabling it to move forward (but then you already knew that, didn't you?).
Download a helpful rubber-band cannon fact sheet here.