Posted by: Kate | June 17, 2010

Make It or Buy It?

Bush Boy wanted a slingshot the moment he saw the instructions in the book he was given for Christmas. He finally convinced a friend to help him out one day. I took them to the beach and they searched for the right piece of wood, which wasn’t easy. We came home with a few candidates. Once the hacksaw was found Bush Boy cut one of the pieces of wood to size and it was decided that the piece would work. The first attempt was with large elastic bands and a small piece of leather. It worked well enough for the boys to play with it (shooting at a tire in the backyard) but the elastic wore out quickly. Rubber tubing was required.

Rubber tubing, it turns out, needs to be bought at a sports store, so Mr. Kate picked it up at the local fishing goods store one day. Bush Boy cut himself a bigger piece of leather and tied on the tubing as it showed in the book. Seemed to work well, but it needed a better testing ground, as the rubber made it too powerful for the backyard.

So on Saturday, the trip to the beach was really for Bush Boy to shoot his slingshot. With no one around he was allowed to shoot rocks down the beach towards the water. What a happy guy.

At school when he and his friend mentioned the slingshot, several of their friends told them they could buy a slingshot, at the same store where Mr. Kate got the rubber tubing. The friend was quite interested, but Bush Boy couldn’t quite see the fun in that. Why spend $50 when he could make a perfectly useful one himself? He did want to see the slingshot, to perhaps pick up some tips on making his next one better.

He has grand plans on shooting a grouse with his slingshot. The rule is if he shoots it (in season of course) he has to clean it, cook it and eat it. He thinks that is fine. I don’t think he’ll actually shoot one.

(The slingshot falls into the same category as his knives. Used, with rules, under supervision.)



  1. It’s great to read about such an outdoor boy, enjoying natural outdoor activities. So many of the children I teach rarely seem to venture outdoors. Enjoy the weekend! Ros

  2. I think there is no greater gift to a child than for them to figure out that they want something, AND that they can make it themselves. The lessons in that journey are endless. Bravo!

  3. What a great kid! Says lots about the great parenting too. :)

  4. What a great story! BB looks super happy with his made-it-all-by-myself slingshot. I agree with Sarah, great parenting, too! (funny I was recently thinking about slingshots (??) and here is a wonderful story about a boy & his slingshot! My Finnish grandfather used to carve flutes or recorders out of a piece of wood found at our campsites. It really worked, too!

  5. Only reinforces my opinion about boy and parents! Thanks for sharing!

  6. i love everything about this story kate. why buy it when you can make it, you are instilling some very important ideals in your son.
    and i hope you’ll keep us updates when grouse season rolls around!

  7. Just watch out that stick doesn’t dry out and get brittle…my face STILL stings, 24 years later, from being snapped in the kisser while stretching the tubing back, getting ready to fire, and the V busted right off and came back in my mug. Yowch!

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