When planning our super hero themed Maker Camp for 2018, we wanted a simple activity for the end of the day that we could take outside and play with. This was perfect. It's easy to make, super cheap, demonstrates some cool physics, can be customized and decorated and uses marshmallows as ammo, so any ammo left behind dissolves in the rain.
Because it as such a huge hit at Maker Camp, we brought it to World Maker Faire 2018. By the end of Saturday, we were out of pool noodles. Since it was fall we couldn't find any in stock anywhere. Instead we picked up inexpensive foam pipe insulation, which worked just as well.
The build is really simple.
- Cut your pool noodle or pipe insulation into 3-4 inch sections using the knife.
- Tie a knot in the neck of the balloon as close to the body of the balloon as you can.
- Cut the rounded top of the balloon off, 1/2 to 1 inch from the top.
- Stretch the balloon over the pool noodle, pulling the knot as close to the base as possible, centering it over the hole.
- Secure the balloon with duct tape.
- Decorate as desired.
It can help to put a small piece of foam in the hole at the back of the noodle, pressure fitted near the balloon. Not only does this keep the marshmallow from falling into the balloon, it seems to help concentrate the force of the balloon snap, giving the marshmallow a better launch.
To launch, put on goggles and place the marshmallow in the hole. Pull back on the knotted neck of the balloon and then release.