With the Kids

Making Straw Rockets with the New Tinkerlab Book

Summer is upon us and we’re just getting into the swing of things. To help us get a little more creative over the next several weeks, we’ll be diving into Rachelle Doorley’s new kid crafty book, Tinkerlab, a hands-on guide for little inventors!

Tinkerlab Book Cover

There are 55 different activities and crafts to do with your kids, as well as some serious tinkering! So much fun for summer! Rachelle has graciously offered to share one of her ideas from her book, Straw Rockets. Your kids could whip these up in a flash and get to flying for some serious summer fun!

Straw Rockets by Rachelle Doorley of Tinkerlab.com

STRAW ROCKETS by Rachelle Doorley of Tinkerlab

I am an adviser for the kids’ creative activity kit company Kiwi Crate, and during one of their in-house kid-testing sessions, my three-year-old learned how to make a simple straw rocket. In the process of making a fleet of rockets, she tested a variety of straws and paper. The results: She learned that the shape and size of her rocket affected its speed and the distance the rocket traveled related to the direction and force of the launch. There are plenty of store-bought rockets and launchers out there, but children take a lot of pride in making their own collection of rockets, and these are beyond simple to make.


  • Straws (We prefer the wide variety that are made for milkshakes and bubble tea.)
  • Copy paper, half the length of the straw and about 3″ wide
  • Circular piece of paper that will become the nose of the rocket, approximately 1.5″ in diameter, with a slit cut along the radius of the circle
  • Clear tape


Set out the materials and show your child how to make a straw rocket. First, roll the paper loosely around the straw and tape the paper at the top and bottom so it stays together.

Curl the base of the circle around from the slit until it becomes a cone shape.

Secure it with tape and attach it to the end of the paper cylinder with two more pieces of tape. This is the nose of the rocket. It may not look elegant, but it should do the trick.

Place the paper rocket on one end of the straw and blow through the other end. Repeat. Laugh. Repeat. Make more rockets, because everyone will need (and want) one.


  • Collect a variety of straws and tubes that can act as rocket launchers, and build rockets to fit them. Take them outside to test and compare the results. Which are easiest to use? Which launch the farthest? Why?
  • Build rockets with different weights of paper. Which work better? Why?
  • Tape triangle-shaped rocket fins to the tail of your rocket. How does this help or hinder the distance your rocket can travel?

From Tinkerlab by Rachelle Doorley, © 2014 by Rachelle Doorley. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Be sure to pick up a copy of Tinkerlab at your local book store or online at Amazon or Roost Books!

1 comment

  1. This is very creative, Marie! My nephew loves rockets, I bet we’ll have a fun time creating one ourselves! Thanks for sharing this!

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