This past Saturday we took part in the Pinewood Derby at our church. This is our 4th year and our 3rd state to participate in. We LOVE Pinewood Derby!! This is an opportunity for us to work together with our kids on something fun that we can ALL help in. We buy the kits with the block of wood, wheels, axles, and instructions in December usually with a big plan to work on them over Christmas stand down. (Christmas stand down is the time around Christmas when Mr. M has shorter hours and more time off then usual due to the way they schedule every one's vacation time.) We usually don't start the cars till February though, lol.
The kids pick a theme for their cars and then pick out the design for the frame. Mr. M then cuts the block of wood. I couldn't tell you what he used to cut them with, but this year he finally bought a new power tool to cut them...I couldn't tell you what kind either! All I know is what a difference it made!! He was happier, the cars turned out nicer, and it went a lot faster!!
Then comes the sanding. I don't like this part. Just when the kids get them sanded down to perfection, Mr. M breaks out a finer sand paper to start all over again! We went through this 3 times before I finally said enough! They are fine enough and I have wood dust all over my kitchen!! Lol, but the kids do have fun doing it and even Scooter did some sanding on his car.
On to the painting! I think this is the kids favorite part. They pick their main color for their cars and we get all set up at the table and paint away. Then they have to let it dry before they can put on the 2nd coat, and sometimes it even needs a 3rd or 4th. This year was great cause we have finally built up quite a collection of paint colors so we didn't have to buy any! Although next year we may try spray painting. We saw some friends cars this year that looked pretty cool and shiny! Princess for sure liked that! But I don't know if spray painting will produce these smiles!
So after all the painting, we then put the design on the cars, the names of the cars and anything else special. Once the cars themselves are totally done, it's time for the wheels. This is probably the hardest part of the car. You want to make sure the wheels are on the axles tightly enough...but not too tight! Then you want to make sure the axles go on the car straight and centered. However, our cars had slots for the axles that were not straight...so we had to adjust the axles for that and I don't think it worked great...since a couple of our cars didn't do so great! We even used one of our table leafs on the floor propped up to make sure the car would run straight! Lol, wish I would have gotten pics of that! We had a great time though!
Once the cars were totally done, we did our photo shoot and then put them up so there was no playing with them before check in! We also included pics of their previous cars.
Tink's car - The Bubbler - She wanted to put a motor in it so that it would actually blow bubbles as it went down the track. She has such creativity! We did not do that as it's probably not allowed to get the track wet! Her other cars were: Star Car, Hummingbird Dasher, and Flower Power.
Princess's car - Scissor Flash - was fun for both of us! She really, really wanted a scissor-tailed fly catcher painted on her car. I told her she needed to do something that she could do herself, but she was very persistent! I had done it for Tink when she did her Hummingbird Dasher, so I finally said yes. It is only by the Grace of God that it looks like it does!! I am not an artist by any means and have NO IDEA how it looks as good as it does! Tink also wanted us to put a sound chip in it for Princess so it would sound like a scissor-tail fly catcher. Yeah, that didn't happen either! Her other cars: Princess Rocket Car, Speedy Num Nums (which looks like a Zhu Zhu pet), and Peace Dasher.
Little Man's car - Night Fury - turned out really good! He wanted a jet car. You can't put wings on a car or it will be too wide for the track, so we had to figure out how to make it look like a jet. He was very happy with the results. He named it Night Fury after the dragon in How to Train Your Dragon. His first car was one that we did mostly for him since he was only 3, then his 2nd one I did the shield and the outline on the sides for the wings and he painted them in, this one he did much more of. I look forward to how much more he'll be able to do it next year! I love watching their cars grow with them! Previous cars: Lightening McQueen and Captain America.
Scooter's car - Thomas the Tank Engine - was so much fun! Last year we just bought a little wooden train for him to paint while his siblings were painting their derby cars. When we were at race day he was very upset and had a total melt down that he didn't get to race that train! So this year we decided to help him do a car. I was surprised at how much he did do of the car, he really wanted to do it. He painted a lot of the main blue color and he even did some sanding! Then I had fun doing the rest! We used wooden dowels for all the parts that are round and just glued them on. The face took me 6 tries!!!! As I said, I am NOT an artist! But I finally got it to look ok! The best part? Scooter LOVES his car!!!
This past Wednesday we helped with check in for the cars. They can weigh up to 5.0 oz on the "official" scale and if they are over or under you can request for the team of guys there to help get them to standard. I did the paperwork side and Mr. M helped with the cars. It was a lot of fun! We added some graphite to the wheels and said goodby to our cars till Saturday.
Race Day! We got to church at 9am and got seats right up front. We got to hang out with great friends and just had a wonderful morning! Little Man's car was one of the first to race and it was doing really bad!! I think his was one of the worst with the axle issue. I mean, his car was like a foot behind everyone else. He was SO disappointed! The last run, one of the guys sprayed the bottom of the car with silicone and then it came in first!! Little Man was ecstatic!!! The guy came over to apologize for not doing it sooner but it didn't really matter, we were having a great time and that one race was enough for Little Man! He was all smiles! He didn't need hardware to make his day!
After a few other groups it was Princess's turn. Her car didn't do so well either, but she came in about the middle of the pack. She was a little disappointed but still had a great time and loves her car! We got a nice shot of her race.
Then one of the last groups was the 13 and up open category. Tink is in this category and so was Scooter. They don't have a category for 2 year olds, and since I did most of the car, this is the group it went in. We got some great shots of this race, as did another friend whose pic was my opening picture at the top. Each car had to run in each lane so that is why they are in different lanes every time.
Tink's car did ok and was in the middle of the pack like Princess's. She was disappointed too, lol. They have always done pretty well...but people here take the Derby pretty seriously so we got some great tips for next year!
Now Scooter's car did pretty good!!! He got 1st in show and 3rd for the race! He was SO excited!! We let him go up there himself and get his car and his trophies. He was so cute and took home trophies for both! He marched up there and took his car and his trophy and got in line with the other teens and grown ups. I wish I had video taped it, it was so funny!
A great time was had by all! And we can't wait till next year! Maybe I will make my OWN car next year! :o)