Today we talking about how to make a pulley with kids!
Your kids are never too young to learn about simple machines like a pulley. Even though pulleys look straightforward and elementary, they are actually powerful machines that are the foundation of many of the machines we interact with every day.
We at Kids Activities Blog believe that science for kids should be hands-on and always fun. It is one of the reasons we love science so much. It is play!
Simple machines have always fascinated my son. He loves to build them and explore them.
Simple Machines for Kids
What is a simple machine?
Simple machines are all around us and help make our work easier. When simple machines are combined, a compound machine is created. —NASA
Simple machine, any of several devices with few or no moving parts that are used to modify motion and the magnitude of a force in order to perform work. They are the simplest mechanisms known that can use leverage (or mechanical advantage) to increase force. —Britannica
There are 6 identified simple machines. Have kids watch for these around them:
- Wheel and axle
- Inclined plane
Today we want to explore the pulley!
Make a Pulley System
After making him a mobile for my son’s room, I looked at the empty ribbon spool that was left from ribbon on the mobile. It would be perfect I decided for making pulley.
My son and I gathered a few other supplies to create a homemade ribbon spool pulley.
Supplies We Used for DIY Pulley System
Be sure to substitute what you have around the house! This is a simple machine that can be made with all sorts of different things.
- Two band-aids
- Empty ribbon spool
- Plastic Applesauce cup
- Hole punch
- Plastic army men
How to make a Simple Pulley System
- Punch three holes into the applesauce cup.
- Cut three pieces of yarn the same length.
- Tie one end of each of the pieces of yarn through a hole in the cup.
- Tie the loose ends of the yarn together.
- Tie a really long piece of yarn to the three pieces you just tied together.
- Tape the other end of the long piece of yarn to the inside of the ribbon spool.
- Wrap the yarn around the ribbon spool.
- Place a band-aid at each end of the chopstick. The band-aids will keep the chopstick from rubbing against the wood of the banister or where ever you secure the pulley.
- Slide the ribbon spool onto the chopstick.
- Find a location to use your pulley. The length of your chopsticks may determine that.
Our Experience with making a Simple Pulley System
Once you have created your pulley you will need set it up in location you want to use it in. We set ours up on our stairs. The chopsticks were placed behind two sections of our Bannister. If you have headboard of a bed or chair with slats, you could set up your pulley there.
To work the pulley my son pushed the spool towards himself with one hand and held one end of the chopstick. Just rolling the ribbon roll would have worked too.
It is more fun when you have something to lift with your pulley. We placed a couple of plastic army men in ours. They are light and small. They made great items to lift.
More Science & STEM Kids Activities
There are several types of simple machines and even young kids can enjoy learning about them with the right hands-on activity. We’d love to hear if your child tried to make a pulley.
For more fun science kids activities, we think you’ll enjoy these ideas:
- Here is another way we made a pulley simple machine and they will learn as they play and discover how it works.
- Make a car pulley for Kids on a Road Trip!
- Try this really simple way to make a boat out of aluminum foil.
- Check out our simple way to fold a paper airplane and then use it in a STEM challenge!
- Try this origami frog for a fun kinetic energy experiment at home.
- We love using LEGO STEM! The bricks you have at home make great simple machines.
- Try this straw challenge and make the most amazing things!
- This engineering challenges for kids uses red cups.
- Science is super fun with this giant bubble recipe!
- Find oh so many more science experiments for kids.
- And a bunch of really fun STEM activities for kids.
How did your homemade pulley turn out?