Grab the kids and make some Paper Cup Ping Pong Ball Shooters! This easy activity is perfect for fun on a rainy day. It also makes a great learning activity with science and math concepts. I’ll explain more at the bottom of the post!
My kids have been playing with their ping pong ball shooters all week and having so much fun! It’s a great way to be active indoors, and yet the ping pong balls won’t damage anything or hurt anyone.
Here’s how the ping pong shooters work. First, load the shooter by putting a ping pong ball in the cup.
Then pull on the knot of the balloon to stretch it.
Let go of the balloon, and the ping pong ball will launch into the air! These little shooters have a satisfying amount of power.
Ready to make your own Paper Cup Ping Pong Ball Shooter?
- Paper Cups – We bought our solid color cups at Walmart and Hobby Lobby.
- Balloons – 7 inch or 9 inch balloons work well.
- Duct tape
First, cut the bottom off of the paper cup. It’s very hard to get a nice straight line, so even it up after you’ve cut off the bottom.
Then grab a balloon. Tie a knot in the end of the balloon. Cut off a bit of the balloon on the other end.
Stretch the balloon over the open bottom of the cup.
Secure the balloon by wrapping a strip of duct tape around the balloon and cup. This will keep the balloon from sliding off. Narrow duct tape works well for this, or you can tear off a strip of regular duct tape.
Then you’re ready to play!
Make it a science and math activity!
These ping pong shooters are a great boredom buster and homemade toy. But you can easily add some science and math learning!
Shoot and Measure
Choose different objects to shoot, and compare how far they travel. Discuss that it’s important to hold the ping pong shooter at the same angle each time so that the trajectory is the same. Measure how far each object traveled and make a graph with the information. Suggested items to shoot: marshmallow, pom pom ball, plastic water bottle cap, small eraser, grape or cherry tomato, etc.
Potential and Kinetic Energy
Discuss potential and energy and then observe how that works with the ping pong ball shooter. When you pull back on the balloon, it has potential or stored energy. Let go, and that stored energy is converted to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. Does the amount that you pull back on the balloon affect how far the ping pong ball travels?
Need more activities that launch, shoot, or explode? We’ve got several!
Make a Paper Airplane Launcher – this will really power up your paper airplanes!
Or grab the LEGO bricks and try Building a LEGO Catapult! Instructions in the post.