Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cub Corner: Marshmallow gun

I had to change browsers to even get into my Blogger account - COME ON GUYS! FIX THIS THING! Ahem!

Okay, here's a little how-to for a mini marshmallow gun. Yes, you could probably just give the kid a single piece of PVC as a blowgun, but these actually give the kid something to assemble and take apart and reassemble etc. These are the basic instructions with basic parts but I notice the boys like to mix things up a bit to make their guns a little different.

So you will need:
24 inches of 1/2 inch PVC pipe (Comes in 10 foot lengths at the hardware store. I used electrical conduit instead of the white plumbing PVC because it happened to be cheaper that day.)
A PVC cutter (Kind of looks like pliers. A hacksaw would also work but it's MORE work. Spend the $15.00 to get a cutter.)
1/2 inch PVC elbow joints (2 per gun). Make sure they are smooth on the inside, no screw-type threads.
1/2 inch PVC tee joints (2 per gun.) Again, no threads inside or the PVC won't fit.
1/2 inch PVC end caps (2 per gun.) Once again, just in case you missed it, no threads inside.
A ruler or measuring tape.
Permanent marker in the color of your choice.
A bag of mini marshmallows (and some friends to shoot them at.)

Start out on one end of the PVC pipe and measure out your pieces and mark where you will cut. You want three 2 inch pieces, two 3 inch pieces, one 4 inch piece, and one 7 inch piece. I label each piece with the number of inches it is so I can keep them straight later. Keep measuring and marking out your pieces until you run out of pipe. With a 10 foot length of PVC, I can cut out the pieces for five guns.

This is a PVC pipe cutter. Kind of looks like plier handles with a blade on one side and a curved piece on the other. You don't squeeze straight through with these, it takes about three squeezes and the tool cuts into the pipe a little at a time. You squeeze until it clicks and then open the handles up and squeeze again and repeat until the PVC breaks apart. Try to keep the blade as straight on the pipe as possible before you start cutting. It's not absolutely critical to make a 90 degree cut on the pipe but it looks better.

So here are the straight pieces; one 7 inch, one 4 inch, two 3 inch, and three 2 inch pieces, all labeled with a number.

Here are the connecting pieces needed for one gun: two elbow joints, two tee joints and two end caps. You can put these and a set of straight pieces in a bag to give to each person. Then you can either make a little drawing to include with instructions on how to put it together or just demonstrate, as I will now do.

When I did this with my Cub Scouts, I had everyone put their name on EVERY PIECE before assembly. Once they start "customizing" there is a good chance pieces will be misplaced and I wanted to make sure everyone went home with all the pieces to his gun. Call me picky - I hate teary disappointment in a scout.

Take the three 2 inch long pieces and insert them all into one tee joint. Put them in as snugly as you can.

Put the 7 inch piece in the side of the other tee joint, and the 4 inch piece in the bottom of the tee joint. (The 7 inch piece will be the "barrel" and the 4 inch piece will be a "grip".)

Now put the two tee parts together, flipping the smaller one upside down so the tees are pointing in opposite directions.

Put an elbow joint on each of the three inch pieces. One of these will go on the 2 inch piece at the back of the gun to form another "grip" and the other will go on the 2 inch piece sticking up to form the "blowpipe" portion of the gun. Then you stick the end caps on the two grips (a 3 inch piece at the rear and the 4 inch piece in the middle of the gun.)

And this is what it looks like when it is done! Encourage the kids NOT to put the marshmallows in their mouths! No one likes a sticky marshmallow in the face. One marshmallow at a time helps to prevent the gun from "jamming". Fortunately, no glue or tape is used so it's pretty easy to clear obstructions if they occur.

If you have the Cub Scouts do all the cutting and measuring, with supervision of course, this could satisfy Wolf Elective 3A or Bear Requirement 20c.

If you play "marshmallow tag", whoever gets hit with a marshmallow is out, this could satisfy Wolf Elective 4f.

Of course you can also teach about Leave No Trace when everyone helps to pick up the marshmallows at the end. A Scout leaves the area better than he found it!

Have fun!


Patty Ann said...

My girls love these and you can use colored duct tape to make them look really awesome!!! Nothing like shooting marshmellows to remind me of the things that are important.

Lourie said...

HAhahaha! I like the marshmallow detail! LOL. Sounds like fun.

And yeah, what the heck is up with blogger anyway?

Grateful Grandma said...

We did this for our family reunion this summer and it was an instant hit!! Thanks so much for the good directions and for the idea. Most of the kids took their parts home with them and made much more complicated things with them, and had a ball doing it. Thanks again.