For-Mar Nature Preserve Launches Catapult Program


Exactly how far and how high will a homemade catapult launch an object? These and other intriguing questions will be a part of For-Mar Nature Preserve’s exciting catapult program for kids July 10, scheduled 10am to 11:30am.

The summer catapult program is an extension of For-Mar’s Wild Adventure program held during the school year. Organizers were looking at what types of activities the kids really enjoyed doing in the Adventures class and found that building and engineering were huge draws. The summer catapult program will incorporate those kinds of skills while also emphasizing teamwork, social skills and sportsmanship.

“It’s getting kids engaged with hands-on activities,” says Nicole Ferguson, Head Park Naturalist at For Mar. “They’re using their brains to create things from basic materials. The goal is to build their social skills and to have them working together. Plus, it’s just fun!”


Nicole has served as For-Mar’s Head Park Naturalist for nearly four years and holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology & zoology from Michigan State University as well as a master’s degree in education and a teaching certificate from the University of Michigan – Flint. “I have my dream job – I get to introduce people to different aspects of the natural world,” she says.

In the upcoming catapult program, children will watch a brief science video and then learn as a group how to build a catapult and a slingshot with everyday items, including hot glue, popsicle sticks, rubber bands and marshmallows. Kids will work in teams to build a catapult; then they’ll take on a team challenge and determine how far and how high their machine will launch a marshmallow, whether they can knock something down with it and how accurate it is. Finally, they will have an opportunity to make a catapult on their own, see how well it works, and then take it home with them.

Teamwork, communication skills and good sportsmanship are emphasized while kids are engaged in the machine-building process.

“Here we’re always encouraging cooperative play and learning,” Nicole says. “Being able to work together is important. We want to make sure kids can work with a new person and not just their friends. We’re building a more diverse community that way too.”

The catapult program is for kids age six and older of all abilities. The cost is $3 per student and pre-registration is required by July 8. Call 810-736-7100 ext. 6 to pre-register.

For program information, check out the Genesee County Parks Facebook Page or Click Here.


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