Task: Make an awesome shooting tool.
Rubber bands (Medium to long rubber bands work best. You can always tie a couple together if you don’t have bigger ones on hand.)
Scrap of leather or cloth
Pebbles, peas, flower buds, acorns … pretty much any small object for ammunition.
Clear area (without people, pets, or other things that might get damaged)
Danger to others (depending on your aim!)
Projectiles (you’ll shoot your eye out!)
How It All Went Down:
In a circumstance of happy coincidence, Eli and I found the perfect forked stick on our way to throw rocks. Therefore, that’s my first piece of advice if you want to make your own slingshot: always be on the lookout for the perfect stick. Nothing will slow your weapon-making roll like not being able to find a single useful forked stick when you want one.
After that, it was pretty simple. We chose a piece of fairly thin, supple leather for our ammunition pocket. Elena followed the instructions and put the slingshot together herself in about 5 minutes. It’s a sturdy little weapon (okay, we might have needed a little bit of duct tape), and it’s been fun for the kids to work on target practice. It’s not hard at all to launch a pebble a great distance … it’s the aim and accuracy that takes lots of practice.
We’re on the prowl for more perfect sticks. One slingshot isn’t going to be enough, especially over the summer. They’re fun and very portable and the envy of the neighborhood. Every kid wants to try it and every parent yells at the other kids to get out of the way (rightly so). Without realizing it, the kids are learning about aim, trajectory, effect of ammunition size and shape … basically their own little hands-on version of Angry Birds.
If you just can’t find that perfect stick or you want to bypass the whole DIY bit, you can purchase a ready-made slingshot.
- Make a pocket for your slingshot. Cut a small rectangle out of leather or a scrap of sturdy cloth. You can either tie the rubber bands to the pocket, or cut two small holes at the edges and loop the bands through.
- Assemble the slingshot. Tie the rubber bands to the ends of a forked stick.
- Gather your ammunition and get ready to shoot! Place your ammunition in the pocket and trap it by pinching with your thumb and forefinger. Hold the handle steady at an arm’s length. Pull back on the pocket, aim, and fire!
- Have fun coming up with different targets and ammunition. Aluminum cans, paper bulls-eyes and lines of action figures make great targets. Of course if you have terrible aim, you can always start with the broad side of a barn.
Want more? Read about the rest of our experiences with 50 Dangerous Things. Inspired by Gever Tulley’s book 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do).