My boys love anything that can launch or fling items, and this homemade paper airplane launcher really fits the bill! It’s easy to build and will take ordinary paper airplanes to a whole new level. Very fun for a stuck-indoors sort of day, and building and testing the planes involves all kinds of science, so it would make a great scouting or school activity as well.
Our paper airplane launcher is a simple design. Aidan drove two nails into the end of a scrap board, added a long rubber band (from the office supply aisle at Walmart), and that was it!
We tried shooting planes by just holding the tail of the plane against the rubber band, but the planes kept getting bent and they really didn’t shoot that far. I saw this idea to add a paper clip to the nose of the plane on Housing a Forest, and we decided to give it a try. The paper clip works amazingly well! It’s easy to launch planes with plenty of power!
To modify your plane, you will need a paper clip (bent as shown), a hole punch, and tape.
Tape the paper clip to the nose of the plane as shown. Yes, there is a point involved, so use your own discretion as to what ages would be appropriate. With proper supervision, I do not consider this to be a dangerous activity.
Then simply pull back and shoot! Our launcher worked the best on top of a tray table rather than on the ground. We also propped up the front of the launcher with a few books to get a better trajectory.
We haven’t found the limit yet of how far planes will go because they kept hitting the wall! We can’t wait for a decent weather day to try this outside!
More things that launch and fling: