Post by Candice Blansett-Cummins of The Wishcraft Workshop
Our Wishcraft Workshop team had full-tilt fun launching into summer with little Chicagoans at the Land of Nod store this past weekend and the kiddos did too! We used mechanical “pinball machines” to play with fancy topics like gravity and conservation of momentum in a colorful and playful way.
Let’s keep this fun going and turn stuff from around your own house into a STEAM learning and playing adventure by making your very own DIY pinball machines, shall we?
But first, what is STEAM? STEAM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Wishcraft Workshop makes it their job to make STEAM stylish and fun all year long.
To make your very own DIY Pinball machines, the first thing you’ll need to do is grab an Art Jar from The Land of Nod. Inside you’ll have just about everything you need in one (cheery) reusable plastic jar. This project uses small parts and little-littles should be supervised when building and playing.
DIY Pinball Machine Supplies
- Corrugated cardboard (we suggest a rectangle at least 8” x 12”)
- Sticky glue
- A clothespin, popsicle stick and two spools (or two things of equal size about 1” tall)
- Some push-pins and rubber-bands
- Something small and round like a large bead or a marble
- Stuff! Bottle-caps, pom-poms, pipe-cleaners, buttons, wooden spools, googly eyes, sequins, small toys,
caps from old colored-marker pens.
- Optional- plain or pretty paper to cover the cardboard and popsicle sticks to make a decorative backboard.
Make It Up
- Prepare the base – draw on the cardboard or cover it with colored paper.
- Build the launcher – clip a clothespin to a rubber-band stretched between two spools (glue these on to the
base) and held in place with a popsicle stick affixed to the top of the spools. Done!
- Install the edges – gently stretch rubber-bands between push-pins inserted around the perimeter of the base. Use a little glue if needed to hold the push-pins in place.
- Add fun stuff against which the ball will bounce, travel around or pass under.
- Give your machine a name and make a backboard with popsicle sticks and paper.
Add To The Learning!
- Assign numbers to the machine’s parts: how many points does each launched ball earn?
- Elevate the back end of the base using objects of different heights: how does this change the speed of the ball when it launches and returns?
Interested in even more STEAM activities for your and your kids? Check out Wishcraft Workshop’s summer programs here.
Candice Blansett-Cummins is the Founder and Chief Giggle Officer of The Wishcraft Workshop. Candice is a parent, wife, friend, artist, teacher, and student.