Getting Children Interested In Cars

There are hundreds of ways of getting children interested in cars. As may be understood if you regularly follow us, it leads to hundreds of careers and side projects – go karting or visiting a racetrack for instance. But it ultimately comes down to the child themselves.

We just wanted to point to some, in case you have some time off this Christmas and want to do something fun with your kids.

Lo Tech

There are many different craft videos out there, telling you how to make a car out of popsicle sticks or even matchboxes (the business Matchbox was named after the practice of homemade cars). For the more technically minded there are videos on making battery-powered toy cars and propeller cars. There are videos about general propulsion and how exactly they move designed for young minds.

Or you could choose one of the many balloon cars designs, whether out of cardboard or out of Lego. It teaches children about propulsion, as the balloon deflates the car goes faster. Or you use a zip line or rocket to propel it. Again, videos to make these items are available online with simple research.

Robot Cars:

There are several online challenges out there for those who wish to design their own. Robot cars can be customized into different designs and by following online guides, step by step instructions are needed to bring about positive results. An Arduino car for instance works through a USB and microcontroller. It creates its own path through obstacles.

An Elegoo robot car (as well as various robot tanks) can be programmed online via code. It could take some time to become an expert.

Remote Control Cars:

Remote control cars may be thought by some as yesterday’s toys by some but options include:

  • Those which can be controlled via Wifi
  • Those with a HD camera
  • Those which may be driven in all terrains

There’s even one made for the Nintendo Switch that works with VR (Virtual Reality) to impose a virtual racetrack onto your floor. You can drive the remote-control car around the virtual track and compete with virtual opponents.

There’s a range of colors too, including camouflage green and metallic blue.

Other ways to Play, er we mean Experiment…for education…

Even with regular toy cars your child can make ramps out of cardboard, wood or plastic. Sticking a block in the way in a car could teach about what forces cause a car to stop for instance. They can also alter the height and length of a ramp to see how fast a car goes when launched by gravity.

Another thing to look at is the size and weight of a car. Why do small cars start quicker but larger cars in the end go faster? They can also experiment on which surface works for the toy car.

There’s also the possibility of marking out a racetrack on the floor with colored masking tape. It comes down to how much mess you want your child to make!

Depending on the age of your child and the amount you’re able to be involved with the project the “shed projects” that involve building the car or obstacles before using them seem to fascinate more than the items you may find in the stores. However, both are useful if you want to teach about science and technology, or pass on your passion for cars to your own kids.

If your child doesn’t enjoy getting their hands dirty, there’s still encouraging your child to draw various types of cars and trucks, just whatever piques their interest. Car design is a great career and who knows where the next car startup will come from. If you get them to keep it up, you may have a genius on your hands. They’ll be working for Elon Musk – or one of his competitors – in no time. Maybe they’ll be the next Elon Musk?

Best of the Web: Car Toy Projects

Were coming out with our own story about toy cars that help you share your passion for cars with your kids. But we found this one and thought it was really good. So build a car with your kids and share something you love.

12 Self Propelled Car Projects & More

Welcome to make it move STEM challenges!  Our Summer STEM activities are all about things that go, move, fly, bounce, spin, and more. Use the materials you have on hand to invent your own simple machines designed to move in some way, shape, or form. Get ready to design, engineer, test, and re-test your own things that move with the following STEM activities for kids.

Link to original Story

Gifts for Race Enthusiasts

How can you treat your car-mad acquaintances for Christmas? Many people spoil their loved ones with racing car events and supercar events, especially those who love pistons and adrenaline. Use any gift vouchers quickly, even if they may be valid for several months. As with all gift cards, racing gift cards cannot be exchanged for cash.

Another sticking point is to make sure you can use the voucher locally, some of these vouchers are designed to be used in several places around a specific state or even nationally, so have a venue in mind. Many racing tracks allow you to experience racing cars of various vintages; even off-road driving is possible.

Before you can start driving you will need to show a driving license. If you book a time for your drive and wish to change it you could have to pay an admin fee. It’s always dependent on how close you are to the event whether you can alter the date. They tend to supply you with racing gear-but this doesn’t tend to include sensible shoes.

For those who want to continue beyond a single day could look into obtaining seasonal passes, becoming what used to be known as a “gentleman driver” or a “lady driver,” that is, a non-professional one. If your budget is in the four figures you could look into training to drive a speedster over several days. Usually, insurance is included in such activity, but it’s best to check.

It’s not essential for a trainer to be with you in the vehicle, indeed NASCAR trains people via a radio device. For those who only drive on the main roads it can be hard to become accustomed to driving on a track, especially racing at fast speeds on long periods. A trained racing driver may be on hand to assist you in increasing your timings, even if many drivers seem to prefer riding without the instructors. Due to the layout of most racing cars, especially Formula One types, it may be impossible to carry any sort of teacher or passenger.

Not all of these driving experiences are the same; some allow you to pass the slowcoaches on the track, some do not.

For those who don’t want to race there are opportunities to be a passenger on supercars or racing cars. There may be sticking points if you are above average weight or height in fitting in a racing car, it’s best to check these things beforehand.

The look of racetracks can vary. A drag strip is a length of track to test acceleration of vehicles. Other tracks are ovals or “figure eights”. If you are going round in a circle track you will begin and end your journey in the pitstop or the pits. But there are so many terms in driving you will find it hard to remember them all.

Hopefully, you will be able to enjoy your race day in perfect health. Have a great Christmas as well.

Merry Christmas Part 3

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Christmas in the Car

With all the hassle of Christmas, trying to get everything cooked in the kitchen and making sure that you have all the presents correct, spending Christmas in a car certainly has some appeal. It’s evidently an old troupe in films and TV shows that you don’t spend Christmas at home with your folks, but spend it miles from anywhere, whether in your car or old shack. Why this is so common a theme that you almost think it’s preferable.

Generally, we decorate our houses, but lately decorating the car is a trend. It starts with the little things like reindeer antlers on the side windows, or bumper stickers with a holiday theme. Santa is my co-pilot or I brake for reindeer. But more and more you’ll see clever use of LEDs to mimic house holiday lighting. That’s not even including decorating for a big event like a parade or tailgate party.

A word of warning to add lights to your car without an additional power pack is probably not a good idea and will drain your battery. In most states, sticking lights on your car is technically illegal, although the police tend to turn a blind eye at Christmas if you refrain from anything blue and flashing. And if you are using your car on private land and not entering a public road it is completely legal.

ba327f52c97b66a7273a8bed456a82adIf you use lights with their own battery pack it prevents a drain on the car’s resources. The more lights you use obviously the bigger power pack that you require.

As well as using zip ties, you might also use magnets to attach decorations to the car (the car being mostly made of magnetic metals). You should only use lights which are suitable for outdoor use. It’s important that anything attached to the car is completely secure and cannot fall off.

When it comes to the aesthetics of the vehicle a holly wreath at the front creates a nice picture. If you have a spare tire on the front of back sometimes you might find a cover for it with a picture of a wreath on it already.

christmas-car-decorations-e1570768937901An inflatable Santa tied the hood doesn’t look very classy but is certainly original. Then there are those who have a complete tree on the roof of the car. It takes all sorts out there.

You can still choose to decorate a car that is stuck in the garage, by wrapping up in crepe paper for instance.

Lights inside the car also work but remember to take them down after Christmas as they are considered a distraction.

Link to Pics of Crazy Christmas Cars

If you are going to use lights on your car and drive the public roads you have two strategies for not being pulled over: use tiny lights or use all white lights. Either way don’t have them flash. Blue, as already mentioned, are reserved for police. Red, Yellow and Green lights can be mistaken for traffic signals.

The final thought on spending the holidays in your car is this: Do not drive if you’ve been drinking. Most people know this, but it is worth repeating.

 

Merry Christmas part 2

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Buying a car for Christmas

Op-Ed by Paul Wimsett (from the British Desk)

It seems that all retailers are obsessed with making sure that items arrive in time for Christmas, which shines a light on the number one concern of Christmas giving—having a gift appear at just the right time, not early or late. From a PR standpoint its smart to address the more concerning factor for online shoppers; will my gift arrive in time to give it away. Perhaps the only thing better would be not calling attention the chance, no matter how slim, that your gift might be delayed at all.

If you’ve been watching ads this year, you’ve been urged to buy a car for your loved ones…but when? The practical thing to do is to buy the car in early December so you can use it to do your other Christmas shopping. Or, to drive to and from relative’s houses for holiday parties. Can’t you just drive it off the forecourt in any case?

Factor #1 Timing

But no, people want a car to be delivered in order to give a shock value. It might be that you have already left it too late if you want it to happen, the 11th or 12th December if you search online for the two recommended dates to buy for a Christmas Day arrival. That’s assuming you don’t want to get a custom color. Now all you have to do is find someone willing to drive it to your house on Christmas day.

Factor #2 Price

The other difficulty with buying a car at the end of the year is that prices tend to go up at this period in order to meet sales targets. Most dealerships don’t run sales—technically they run end of year sales in early fall to make room for the next years models. Generally, it’s a quiet month for car sales and the forecourts are on the quiet side.

Factor #3 Weather

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…well not always, but car shopping isn’t fun in the rain either. You have to go outside to look at car lots. Sure, these days you can shop online, which would keep you warmer, but statistically most people who car shop use a mix of online and offline methods. It is always possible to haggle as the salespeople are probably yearning after more money, but recall dealerships aren’t desperate, so be realistic with your haggling.

Factor #4 Peace of Mind

So, you choose the cosy alternative, or maybe you do want to see what the local car sales offices have on their books, just for peace of mind? But it’s worth backing up a step and asking if you even want to take on the hassle of car shopping during an already hectic season. If you’ve got the bandwidth or you’re one of those individuals that likes car shopping then go for it, just don’t rush. Your spending a chunk of money and rushing will cost you. Take time to test drive. Have the car inspected by someone who works for you, like TireKickers.

And don’t forget to arrange financing. Banks can be slow this time of year.

Factor #5 The Extras

Just because you get the car to show up and surprise your loved one, doesn’t mean you’ve got it insured and good luck calling your agent on Christmas so you can legally drive it. Be sure to make these arrangements ahead of time and set them to take effect on the date of delivery.

Then you have all the other bills for this period, office parties, presents, heating bills, it might just be best to leave it? If you can live with your old one, that is.