Cars, cars, cars. It’s all about the cars these days. Drifting, shifting, crashing, skidding, jumping and…rallying. My son is 8 yrs old and fascinated by the world of rally cars. Ken Block is his favourite professional rally car driver and racing his little Hot Wheels is his favourite pastime.
While I was digging up the dog damaged urine burns in the grass this Spring, the idea came to me to build a miniature rally where I had removed the old grass. Why not turn a negative into a positive? And so, while my son was at school, I got to work! The project turned out to be very simple and inexpensive, and so VERY appreciated!
Here’s what I used to build the rally race track…
1. One coil of garden bed edging from the garden centre.
2. Two $2 aquarium trees from the pet store.
3. Several collected river rocks.
4. One block of scrap wood and one thinner piece of scrap wood to form the ramp.
5. Wire brush trees from our Christmas decoration bin.
6. One aquarium fake rock tunnel from the local pet store.
7. PVC plumbing tubes from the hardware store.
8. One can of orange outdoor spray paint.
After I had dug up the grass in the shape I wanted, I dug around the outer edge and installed the black garden bed edging. You’ll notice I was about 6 inches short. Oops. No big deal, that’s where we will build a little garage to hold his cars in the future! A negative to a positive, remember?
I spray painted the PVC tubes to become tunnels for the little cars…
Make sure you don’t make the tunnels so long that your child cannot reach his hand in one end and out the other…we don’t want the cars to get stuck somewhere in the middle! I buried the tunnels about a third of the way in, leaving enough room to fit an arm in, but with enough dirt on the bottom of the tunnel to keep it anchored.
The big purchase for the track was the aquarium fake rock tunnel. It was only $16, and so very worth it. Some of the drivers try to sneak through the tunnel to get ahead of the others!
I painted the wooden block with black and white checkers and sprayed it with a water-resistant polyurethane craft spray. I buried the block in the dirt so it was flush with the rally road. This created a finish line…
I used the river rocks to divide up the roadways, giving the cars alternate routes in order to get ahead of their opponents. I also created a ramp with a scrap piece of wood on one of these “alternate routes”.
Under the ramp, there is a 6 inch deep pit. Sometimes taking the alternate route means taking a bigger risk!
My boy is a big risk taker. He climbs trees, scales fences, and jumps rails. He is no different on the rally track. He creates scenarios of close calls, near misses, death-defying jumps, and straight up crashes…oh,and the sound effects he makes!
Building this little track took only an afternoon and has provided him with a place to use his imagination to create risks, to learn about physics, to build language skills, learn cause and effect, to make predictions based on past experience, and most importantly, to BE a rally driver. All right here in his very own back yard.
Race safe! And thanks for stopping by!
~Arlee, Small Potatoes