PVC Pipes are awesome for building projects any day! They are awesome STEM learning, think engineering and designing! Plus, our new PVC Pipe Kit is an easy, frugal alternative to the pricey toy alternatives.

PVC Pipe Pulley Engineering Project

PVC Pipe Pulley for Kids Simple Machines Engineering STEM Activity

The hardware store is an amazing resource for alternative toys. Did you see our PVC Pipe House we made! The possibilities are endless. My son loves using “real” household items for play rather than toys. This PVC pipe pulley engineering project was right up his alley.

PVC Pipe Pulley Engineering Project Set Up

This was an awesome father/son project! My husband took the lead and showed our son all about how pulleys work! He even showed him about Z Pulley Systems {used mainly in rescue situations}. They explored the concept of friction, weight, and gravity. Plus they hauled legos, so that’s always fun.


PVC pipe heart materials for building project

Supplies Needed to Make PVC Pipe Pulley Systems

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1/2 inch PVC Pipes sold in lengths of 5′ and 10′. All the pieces you see in photos are from 20′ of pvc pipe.

1/2 inch  PVC Pipe Fittings including 45 degree, 90 degree, straight connectors and three way connectors. There are so many more possibilities once you get started!

Tape Measure and pencil

Small Saw or Sawzall {Adults only please!}

PVC Pipe Pulley System Engineering Project

We used the pieces we already had available from the PVC pipe house building project earlier. We simply needed a tall structure with a sturdy base on either side. You can design it any way you want. Ours is 29″ high. We used a piece of parachute cord and a small plastic cup as our rope and bucket.

PVC Pipe Pulley Sytem Simple Machine Engineering STEM Activity

Here are some close up photos and a side view of our pulley system! Design one all of your own! Working with an older child? Have him or her draw it out and add measurements. Our son enjoyed using his tape measure to check out the lengths of the different sections and he also helped us make both sides even. He has an amazing ability to look and quickly problem solve.

PVC Pipe Pulley System for Kids Simple Machine Not only is this PVC pipe pulley system a great toy, it’s also an amazing learning activity! My boys had a great time making their PVC pipe pulley system, testing it, and adding it to our PVC pipe house we made earlier!

Explore different weights with the PVC pipe pulley system.

  • How does friction and gravity  work with different weighted objects?
  • By arranging angles for lines  around the PVC pipes can you make a Z shape for a Z pulley?
  • How is a Z Pulley different than a regular pulley?
  • Can you make the bucket go up by pulling the rope down?
  • Can you make the bucket go up by pulling the rope up? {depends on anchor points around pipes}

PVC Pipe Pulley System PVC Pipe House Simple Machines for Kids

It’s amazing what you can make for play and learning. STEM activities are easy and engaging for young children! Give it a try and head to your local hardware store the next time you want to find a new activity. These PVC pipes are pretty and easy!


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  1. Excellent short article, i did read it twice so sorry for this, i’ve passed it on to
    my mates, so with a bit of luck they will enjoy it as well.

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