About a year and a half ago, my son had the opportunity to participate in a Cub Scout Day One Event. It was our first exposure to Boy Scouts and at the end of our very full day, my son told me he had the best day ever. I knew it was something we needed to look into him joining. When he started 3rd grade the next year, we signed him up for Cub Scouts. I’ve loved seeing all of the fun activities he does each month and the things that he has learned over the past year. But if I had to share what his most favorite thing really was about being a Cub Scout this year? It was the Pinewood Derby.
Creating a Pinewood Derby Car
From start to finish, the Pinewood Derby taught my son so much. Before he even got started, we searched the internet for different designs. He wasn’t sure what exactly he wanted his car to look like. When you start searching, prepare to be sucked in for awhile! We saw so many amazing cars and designs that he could use for the Pinewood Derby. Once Hayden figured out what he wanted the car to look like – blue and to feature a LEGO Batman – we spent some time learning about HOW to make a car go fast and what he needed to do to it.
My son received his Official Pinewood Derby Car Kit at one of his scout meetings and then there was a day where the whole pack could come to one of the Dad’s garage to use all of his tools. There, Hayden was able to pick what design he liked best for the look of his car and trace it onto the block of wood. After that, he worked with the adults to cut the wood and sand it smooth.
Painting the Car and Using Science to Build!
At home, Hayden, his Dad and I watched lots of videos and read up on the technical stuff on how to make his car go fast. I loved that this activity was not only giving us a bonding experience but teaching my son STEM – science, technology, engineering and math!
Before you start, make sure you check the official rules for your Pack’s Pinewood Derby race. We would come across information during our research that wasn’t allowed in our rules, so it’s always important to read your rules first.
Hayden decided that he wanted to get some weights for his car and he wanted to make sure to add it to the back of the car as he learned that the heavier the back of the car, the quicker it could go as the weight adds speed. He also learned that you wanted to make sure your car was as heavy as the rules would allow so he spent a lot of time weighing his car and adding on weights.
We spent some time at our local hobby shop with Hayden as he picked out everything for his car. He knew he wanted blue paint, a weight and some cool decals in addition to a LEGO Batman he already had at home. His kit came with wheels and axles, so we didn’t buy different ones from the store.
He had so much fun designing and building his car and was SO proud of the finished product!
The Pinewood Derby Race
The night before the race we brought Hayden up to school where he had to have his car weighed and then drop it off for the evening. It was one ounce over what we had weighed it at home, so Hayden worked with someone to figure out what weight could come off. Another weigh-in and it was perfect!
For the big race, Hayden was so excited! We got there early so he could vote for his favorite car design and cheer on the other dens. It was his first race so we weren’t sure what to expect but it was very exciting and even my 4 year old twins had a blast.
Even though Hayden didn’t win, he enjoyed cheering for the other boys. He also learned that winning isn’t everything but it’s about the whole experience of building the car from start to finish. But, he’s already started designing and thinking of ideas for next year’s Pinewood Derby!
This post was sponsored by the Boy Scouts but all thoughts and opinions are my own.