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.

Ping pong ball shooters

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.

Ping pong ball shooters

Ready to make your own Paper Cup Ping Pong Ball Shooter?

Supplies Needed:

  • Paper Cups – We bought our solid color cups at Walmart and Hobby Lobby.
  • Balloons – 7 inch or 9 inch balloons work well.
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
How to make ping pong ball shooters

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.

Have fun!

Ping pong ball shooters


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  1. Sheri Oct 14, 2012

    SOoooo excited to try this out with the 7 boys at my house (including my husband, lol)! How fun!!!

  2. Christy Oct 22, 2012

    DUDE! This is awesome. I will be making my boys some this week. Thanks for linking up to tip-toe thru tuesday. I hope we see you again this week!

  3. Tonia Mar 28, 2013

    What a great idea! I had seen this done with the pom poms and marshmallows, like you mentioned, but ping pong balls will be way more fun, especially for my older boys. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Jenn Nov 25, 2013

    I love this idea! I was wondering if you knew of a substitute for the balloon? I'd like to try it but need to avoid latex.

    1. An Feb 6, 2014

      Perhaps you can try a latex free plastic glove? Tie the fingers into knots and slip the wrist over the cup mouth, to get the same result. This may take a bit of experimenting, but that is half the fun! Good luck!

  5. Karen Jun 9, 2014

    I'm looking for class party ideas and stumbled upon this. What a great use of those plastic cups... I have tons of them from restaurants.

  6. Nov 30, 2015

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing a little research on this.

    And he in fact ordered me dinner due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him...
    lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!!

    But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this issue here on your web page.

  7. Norma Jan 26, 2022

    You Rock !

  8. Barb Crispin Feb 17, 2022

    My twin granddaughters are going to love this! Can't wait to make these with them after school!

  9. Emily Aug 28, 2022

    Oh my goodness, this was the perfect activity to keep my 6 year old engaged while I do school with his older siblings! Easy and fun, perfect combination. Any other recommendations for things like this that are easy to put together and keeps them busy?


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