Christmas Party - Kid Games and Ideas November 27 2017

Simple Machine Science for Kids: Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen by Buggy and Buddy

Whenever I  invite my kids to participate in science experiments, my main goal is NOT to make sure they master a set concept, but simply to allow them to explore the activity in their own way. Giving this freedom to children inspires them to make predictions and critically think about the world around them in a pressure-free setting.  

We don’t really get snow in our neck of the woods so we have to create our own imaginary snow activities~ like our indoor snowy toy car ramp, or like this activity- launching ping pong ball snowmen!


Ping Pong Ball Snowmen

Materials for Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen

  • Ping pong balls (Optional: Draw snowmen faces on the ping pong balls with Sharpiesto make this science activity winter themed!)
  • Wooden yardstick
  • Something to use as a fulcrum (Examples: coffee can, large wooden toy block, a log, or a brick )
  • Small plastic cup
  • Strong tape (like packing tape or masking tape)
  • An open space to do the activity (like your yard or a nearby park)
  • Optional: Paper and pencil for science journaling 



1. Tape a plastic cup to one end of the yardstick. (We started off with just a few pieces of tape, but soon realized we needed to add quite a bit more to keep the cup from flying off the yardstick. Really tape that baby down with some strong tape.)


Building a lever from a yardstick


2. Grab your ping pong ball snowmen, your yardstick (with cup attached) and whatever you’re using as the fulcrum (in our case a coffee can) and head outside. Find an open space (like your yard) to set up your activity.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


2. Place the yardstick over the coffee can (or whatever item you’ve found to use as the fulcrum).


Building a lever from a yardstick


3. Put a ping pong ball snowman into the cup.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


4. Give the snowman a little pep talk before his launch.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


4. Push down on the opposite end of the yardstick quickly (with either your hand or foot) and observe what happens to the ping pong ball.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


5. Allow plenty of time for children to explore launching the ping pong balls. Optional: Encourage children to record what they are noticing in their science journals. Younger children can illustrate what is happening with simple pictures. 


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


6. Depending on the age and interest of your child, introduce the terms lever and fulcrum. (A lever is basically a stick or rod that uses a pivot point or fulcrum to move something. In this case the yardstick is the lever, the coffee can is the fulcrum, and the lever is moving the ping pong ball.)


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)- Buggy and Buddy


7. Invite your child to observe what happens to the ping pong ball when changing the position of the fulcrum. Older children can use the markings on the yardstick to record the location of the fulcrum in their science journal and how each location affects the distance the ping pong ball travels.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


This activity can be a great learning experience for any age! Theo at 2 years old had a blast launching his ping pong ball snowman! He felt proud being able to set up the activity on his own and gained experience with cause and effect.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)- Buggy and Buddy


Lucy, age 5, was determined to see how she could set the lever up to get the ball to go the furthest by changing the location of the fulcrum after each launch. And she was very excited to find out what would happen when she launched lots of snowmen at once. She made all kinds of predictions as she explored our lever activity!


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)- Buggy and Buddy

Want to Go Even Further?

Related activities to extend the learning for various ages.

  • Play on a seesaw at your local playground. How is the seesaw the same and different as your ball launching lever? Do you think the seesaw is a lever? Why or why not?
  • Where do you see levers being used in your everyday life? (Some examples: scissors, seesaw, pliers)
  • Go online or to the library and research first class, second class, and third class levers.
  • Design and build a smaller version of the lever we made today.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)- Buggy and Buddy

 Winter STEM for Kids: Launch Ping Pong Ball Snowmen

Buzz, Your Girlfriend Woof! Make A Home Alone GIF November 05 2014

There's an app for that! Did you know that you can take your favorite scene from Home Alone - Kevin finds a picture in Buzz room of his girlfriend and says, "Buzz Your Girlfriend, Woof!" 

Now you can insert a picture of your friend, co-worker, family member, etc.

Little known fact - the real image used in Home Alone was not a girl, but the son of the films Art Director.  John Hughes felt it would be mean to actually cast a girl for the role, so they found a boy willing to dress up!

Seven Facts You Didn't Know About Home Alone (from WetPaint)

Kevin's Little Brother Was Played By Macaulay's In Real Life Little Brother

Kieran Culkin, who eventually became a movie star in his own right, played Kevin's Pepsi-chugging little brother, Fuller. Kieran went on to star in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Igby Goes Down, andThe Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys.

Originally, the Whole House Was Supposed to Be Evil

Unfortunately, they ran out of money before they could make a sentient house, according to AMC. They had to settle for just the evil furnace, which taunted Kevin with a "Ha ha ha. Hello, Kevin."

The Movie Kevin Uses to Fake Out the Pizza Guy Isn’t Real

That film that Kevin watches on TV in that infamous movie dialogue scene? It's a fake movie! It's called Angels With Filthy Souls, a parody of the 1938 gangster movie Angels with Filthy Faces. The fake movie scenes were shot on cardboard sets before filming for the rest of Home Alone began.

Robert De Niro Turned Down a Role

Joe Pesci played one of the crooks hunting Kevin, but originally, his Goodfellas co-star Robert De Niro was offered one of Home Alone's baddie roles. He turned it down, according to AMC. Too bad — he never got a piece of that.

People Used Home Alone as Proof Elvis Was Alive

We're sure you're aware of the ol' "Elvis is alive" conspiracy, but did you know that those who believe the King never died love the film Home Alone? Some Elvis devotees say that an extra standing behind Kevin's mom at the airport as a dead ringer for the Hound Dog singer.

The Talkboy Started Out as a Home Alone 2 Prop

'90s kids remember the Talkboy, ahandheld tape recorder that distorts the pitch of the user's voice. Kevin had one in Home Alone 2, but at the time the film was written, it wasn't a real-world product! The real tape recorder became available due to popular demand after kids saw Kevin using his sweet piece of cutting-edge technology.

Clark Griswold Says 54 Days Until Christmas 2014! October 31 2014

Have a fun and safe Halloween! We'll all wake up tomorrow to November 1, which means the world officially kicks things into high gear with the 2014 Holiday Season!

We certainly have our favorite faces of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays - Clark Griswold.  We're happy to name him our official unofficial Christmas 2014 Countdown Captain...

Give Us a Review! September 20 2014

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If you have a Gmail / Google + account, it's quick and easy to write a review on our Google Business Page.

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Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas on Pinterest June 27 2014

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