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Play with snowball slingshots

IOP play activity


We've teamed up with the Institute of Physics to help overcome the stereotypes that surround learning about physics, encourage parents to become great role models for this subject and to inspire children to enjoy learning more about science. Have a go at the activity below to show your child how physics can be relevant to their everyday life.

Make and play with snowball slingshots

Make your very own snowball slingshot and uncover the science of sending snowballs soaring through the sky!

You will need:

  • A plastic bottle
  • A marker pen
  • Tape
  • Balloons
  • A pair of scissors.

What to do:

  1. Draw a circle around the neck of your bottle in marker pen
  2. Cut along the line you have drawn. To get started you have to stab a hole in the bottle first using the pointy end of your scissors, an adult should definitely do this part.
  3. We are only using the top of the bottle here, you can use the bottom part to play ping pong pick up! If you have made any sharp or jagged edges with your scissors, cover them up with sticky tape so that your slingshot is safe to hold and use.
  4. Take off the cap and stretch the balloon over the mouth of the bottle. If your balloon bunches up when you do this, gently pull it, so that it is even all the way round. Now is the time to test your launcher. We recommend launching rolled up bits of tin foil or cotton wool balls so your home remains unscathed. And it should go without saying - don’t fire them at each other!
  5. Put your snowball into the bottle, hold onto the neck with one hand and pull the balloon back with the other. Then take aim and release the balloon to shoot snow through the sky.
  6. Challenge your friends and family to see who can shoot the furthest and who has got the best aim – we created targets on the floor, you can use bowls or boxes and place them wherever you like:

a. An easy target scores 10 points

b. Medium target, 20 points

c. Difficult, 40 points The competitor with the most points after 5 launches is the winner and you don’t have to play nice!

This activity helps your child to understand more about distance.

Watch the video

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