I created this project for a large-scale Treasure Island event, so it’s designed to be quick to make, cheap to produce, and fun to play with. It was a huge hit. The brave crew at the Historical Society of Princeton helped kids make 500+ cannons at the event. Arrr!
If you are looking for a picture book connection for this project, please consider Drummer Hoff Fired it Off by Barbara & Ed Emberley (Aladdin,1972). In the book, a succession of soldiers and officers put together the pieces of a cannon that ultimately produces a very satisfying KAHBABLOOOM!
- 1 paper towel roll
- 1 piece black construction paper
- Metallic markers for decoration
- A cannon wheel template printed on an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of card stock
- 2 jumbo paperclips
- Hot glue or glue dots
- Tape for construction
- 1 jumbo 2″ pom-pom (any color)
Wrap the paper towel roll in black paper and tape to secure. Then use the metallic markers to decorate the cannon and the wheels. We used metallic Sharpie markers. Silver showed up the best on the black paper.
Slide the two jumbo paperclips on one end of the tube. These are the “weights” on the base of your cannon so it won’t slump forward when sitting on a table. I found it’s best to put the clips side by side, like so:
Now it’s time to attach the wheels. I used hot glue for the version you see here, but we used glue dots and/or tape at the event (while I love hot glue, I’m not big on running a hot glue gun for 5 hours amongst thousands of kids).
You’ll notice that the wheels are attached almost in the center of the cannon. You’ll have to play with the placement of the wheels a little to get the cannon to tilt just right.
Ready to fire? Hold the cannon aloft in one hand, push the pom-pom into the “mouth” (i.e. the non-paperclip end) of the cannon, and then blow a big puff of air into the opposite end. The “cannonball” will launch!