Warmer weather is finally here to stay… and so it’s time to take the Architecture and Engineering for Kids series outdoors! The girls get total credit for this one: who knew race cars could provide such a great engineering lesson?
Engineering in Action
Baby M got these fun, pull back race cars for Christmas. The girls have been DYING to play with them, and now that he is old enough to actually sit up and play with them himself, I finally let the girls open them. Perhaps we have one too many princesses and not enough cars!
Of course, as soon as I said okay, they opened them and started racing them up and down the upstairs hallway, and after one too many collisions with the wall, I suggested we take the game outdoors.
Learning with Race Cars
While most kids grasp the concept of the wheel at an early age, the pull back mechanism takes some learning and practice. Before beginning our race, I let the girls experiment a bit. Big M (age 4) quickly discovered that the farther you pulled the cars back, the farther they would ultimately go. We also worked a bit on aiming.
Then, Big M, ever the competitor, wanted me to get out the measuring tape to see who could get the most distance out of their car. We did that for a bit, practicing measurement and numbers. And then, I told her we could do one better – we could make a race track to race them on.
Using sidewalk chalk, I marked a starting line and finish line on our driveway. The girls lined up the cars behind the starting line. On my signal, the race began. They chased them down, and set them off again to reach the finish line. They played over and over again, trying to get a car to make it all the way from the start to finish on one pull back…
… until they finally did it!
With their grand mission accomplished, they decided to make use of the race track themselves on their bikes. And who was I to argue?
To the first of many action-packed, warm weather days… and even better night’s of sleep!
Want more great STEAM ideas for kids?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can catch all the activities in our Architecture and Engineering for Kids series, with a new one added every Wednesday! Some of the most popular in the series to date are Build a Bridge for Twenty-One Elephants and Architectural Scavenger Hunt. You might also enjoy Painting with Race Cars from Fantastic Fun & Learning. You can find all of these on our STEM for Kids – Engineering board on Pinterest!