Looking to add to your list of fun art projects for kids? If so, you have to try catapult art with your students!
Catapult painting is perfect as part of your summer activities for preschoolers and kindergarten kids. And take my word for it, older children will get a kick out of it, too. So be sure to add it to your summer camp plans right now.
This definitely qualifies as messy art, so I highly recommend you take it outside. Once there, help the children explore a variety of art techniques and science concepts. Process art with catapults is an engaging and educational experience for kids of all ages.
Related: Process Art
The catapult painting fun originally came about during preschool summer camp in 2014. My awesome summer co-teacher (I affectionately call her Miss Smarty Pants) and I had such an amazing time trying this with the kids.
While we integrated it into our summer plans, you can also use it as part of your spring activities for preschoolers (and older kids). Of course, any time of the year will do, really. As long as you can set it up outside, you should be good!
Now, I cannot take responsibility for the catapult. That was all Miss Smarty Pants’ idea, and her mother-in-law ran with it and created something awesome! The plans they used to build the catapult came from Storm the Castle, so be sure to check out the ideas over there.
How to Prep the Catapult Painting Experience
Start off by grabbing the materials you’ll need for the catapult art (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
Once you have the basics, it’s time to build your catapult. Again, we found the directions on Storm the Castle. Here are a few different catapults you can make:
Depending on the ages and needs of your students, they can even get in on the catapult creation! Next, decide where you’re going to set up the catapult painting activity. We chose the playground shed as our backdrop.
Once the location is decided, tape a large piece of butcher paper up. A vertical “canvas” works best for catapult art. Be sure to make it as large an area as possible.
Finally, add some liquid watercolors to a few small bowls. You can dilute the liquid watercolors with water if you want to, but we chose to leave it full strength. At this point in our preparations, the kids were asking all kinds of questions about what we were doing. My response of, “painting with the catapult!” was met with giggles.
How to Create Catapult Art with Kids
Now that everything is prepped and ready to go, bring on the catapult process art! Here’s what to do:
- Dip a large pompom into the paint.
- Then place the pompom into the bowl of the catapult.
- Bring the catapult’s bar down.
- Next, count to 3 and let it go!
Each time we’ve made catapult art, the kids (and adults!) have really enjoyed the experience. Each time we released the catapult, we watched with excitement as the pompom flew through the air and made a paint splat on the paper.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, the watercolors came off of the shed! We simply hosed it down when we were done.
Do you think your students would enjoy making some catapult painting? If you give it a chance, be sure to let me know all about it!
A Few More Ideas for the Catapult
If you’re anything like me and Miss Smarty Pants, you’ll want to break out the catapult for all kinds of activities! So here are a few more ways to use it, for catapult art and more:
- Launch water balloons!
- Combine the catapult with our snow painting idea and fill the water balloons with paint, too!
- Challenge the kids to see who can launch non-painted pompoms the farthest.
- Have the kids experiment with how far different materials fly through the air using the catapult.
- Make individual catapults and let the kids paint with those.
Have you ever used a catapult with your students, for art or other activities? I’d love to hear about your ideas, if you have.
More Science Art Projects for Kids
As I mentioned earlier, the catapult art was a great way to explore science concepts on top of the arty fun. If your students enjoy it, here are a few more science art ideas to try:
- Splat Art
- Salt Crystal Painting
- Name Ice Melting
- Oil and Water Droplet Painting
- Firework Splatter Painting
- Prism Rainbow Mobile
- Coffee Filter Flowers
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Originally published August 2014.