An Easy Guide to Building an Air Cannon for Kids - SPARKLEBOX
How to Build an Air Cannon for Kids?

How to Build an Air Cannon for Kids?

air cannon


Making Science DIY toys, such as DIY vortex air cannon for kids, is a lot of fun. But it becomes more interesting if we can explain the science or logic behind it. A vortex air cannon is a cannon that releases vortices of smoke in the air instead of cannons or balls. These vortices look like rings of smoke but are bigger, powerful, and almost invisible. 

You must be thinking, throwing balls of air sure sounds like fun! However, it is not easy to push and throw air in one direction. Unlike solids and liquids, the molecules of gaseous substances aren’t closely knit together. Molecules of air do not attract each other, and their collisions rarely happen. It only occurs when a specific external force acts upon them or due to pure luck. Therefore, to make a DIY vortex air cannon for kids, we need something to store the smoke in a compact space so that they do not go away from each other.

parents and kids making an air cannon

How to Make a Vortex Air Cannon Out of a Box?

Things we need to prepare air cannon

  • A cardboard box big enough to store plenty of smoke in it
  • A sealing tape to ensure that the smoke doesn’t escape through its edges and gaps
  • A scissor and a marker 
  • A smoke pump

a child doing craft activities


  • Start by sealing the ends and edges of the cardboard box nicely with the help of sealing tape. Make sure that the lids of the box are tightly closed, and then tape it as well. 
  • Now, draw a circle on one of the front faces of the cardboard box with a marker, and cut it with a scissor or sharp blade. The circle should not be too big or too small, as the smoke ring should be big enough to travel a distance or be visible.
  • Note: Do not use a loose cardboard box, as you would need it firm enough to create pressure inside when you press the box from outside.
  • Fill the cardboard box with smoke from the circle that you have made. You will need a smoke pump for it, or else it would not be easy to contain the smoke inside for too long. If you don’t like smoke, then you can simply fill the air in it with the help of a gas balloon.
  • If you want to know how to create a vortex in air, simply hold the box or keep it on a table and press the horizontal sides hard enough to create a vortex. Making a DIY vortex air cannon for kids is really that simple. 
  • To add more fun to this activity, you can arrange plastic or paper cups upon each other and aim at them using your smoke vortices from a distance. 

a child engaged in making air cannon

What Happens in a Toroidal Vortex Cannon?

While making the DIY vortex air cannon for kids, smoke or air fills the entire space inside the box. When you press the box from the sides, the pressure forces some of the smoke outside. The amount of gas released in the form of a vortex depends on how hard you press the box, aka, the pressure exerted on it. The circle you cut on the box helps the smoke escape in the form of smoke vortices.

If You Want to Learn How to Make a Simple Air Cannon, Then Follow the Below Steps:

Take an unused plastic bottle, and cut its bottom end neatly with the help of a sharp blade or knife. Now, take a good quality balloon, cut its narrow end, and stretch it over the open end of the bottle that you have just cut. 

Seal the balloon with sealing tape so that it does not slip out. Now, pull the balloon from behind and release it at once to create invisible vortices of air. Test it on another bottle or plastic cup to see the range of its effectiveness. This DIY vortex air cannon for kids is not only simple and easy to make but also consumes less time. Your kids will learn how to create a vortex in the air, and you will see a beautiful smile on their faces when the plastic cups fall as they get hit by the vortex. 

a craft teacher and her students

You can also make a vortex air cannon cone by taking a cone-shaped plastic container or barrel. There are many ways to make DIY vortex air cannons for kids, but the science or principle behind it remains the same. We, at Sparklebox, indulge kids in doing simple projects like DIY vortex cannon for kids to improve their creativity. We provide grade-wise kits for kids of pre-nursery to grade 9. The kits and toys are developed to inspire kids to think beyond books and theory. We also offer educational toys that educate your kids about robotics, science, maths, etc. Therefore, do visit our online store once and see what it has in store for your kids!


We should try to involve the kids in the same activities that have been mentioned above to enhance their creative and motor skills. Conducting these activities at home is easy and provides you time to spend more time with your kid. Not only this, sparklebox even offers many more such science kits for your kids so that they can be prepared better for the future.

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