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This past week I hosted a Google+ hangout on air with members of WGBH Boston’s “design squad nation.” The hangout featured easy-to-build projects ideal for birthday parties or regular weekend fun and included making an air cannon,a two-wheeled balloon car, and an indoor slingshot. Design Squad Nation is a PBS KIDS website that promotes the message: You are creative and can solve problems. You can make things that help people. You can dream big. On the site, kids can post real-life solutions to real-world problems and respond to challenges by sketching and building their own prototypes.

Watch the video right here:

Stett Holbrook

Stett is a senior editor at MAKE with abiding interest in food and drink, bicycles, woodworking, and environmentally sound human enterprises. He is the father of two young makers.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Contact Stett with tips and story ideas on:

*Sustainable/green design
*Young Makers
*Action sports



  1. Sitting here with Maria (she’s 8) and we cannot wait to lern how to get the skewer
    through the balloon, without popping the balloon! Maria says, “They definitely have my attention. We should try that!”

    1. Natalie, the Chickenblogger says:

      Okay… we are nine minutes in, and Maria is riveted, but she asks, “What’s a pom-pom?”
      I know how to Make pom-poms, but is that what you are using? A yarn puff?

      1. Natalie, the Chickenblogger says:

        Got it! I think we are going to bring out the mini-marshmallows for this air cannon!
        Maria likes that this is a quick, and easy Make project. And she hopes you enjoy seeing the air cannon her brother, Max, built:

  2. Seriously?
    One commenter, one question… and no reply?

  3. Design Squad says:

    Hi Natalie,

    Thank you for your interest in the Design Squad projects! We are glad to hear that you and your kids have been having fun building! In terms of your question about what a pom-pom is. Yes, you are correct – it is basically a yarn puff. You should be able to find them at your local craft store. One of the reasons why Air Cannon is such a great activity is because you can really use anything that is small and light (and covers the hole in the cup completely) to catapult across the room! Please let us know if you have any additional questions!

    If you had fund with Air Cannon, here is a link to some other fun builds to try:

    Design Squad Nation

  4. Natalie, the Chickenblogger says:

    Thank you.

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