A few weekends ago we popped into the city to meet up with a blogger friend of Lin's. She was working with Gever Tulley on a tinkering workshop. We were a little late but caught the tail end of people as things were winding down and being cleared away. Carys was very excited to see that the kids in the workshop had make some go-karts. She immediately wanted to make one of her own and when we got home she drew up some plans at the kitchen table.
I was so impressed with this that, of course, I had to help her build it. We headed out and picked up a few supplies:
- 2' x 4' board of plywood (just about fits in the trunk of our Nissan Dissapointment)
- 4 casters (I got ones that were rated up to 80lb)
The base of Carys' car is a big circle, so we first drew out two circles on the plywood (I thought we were going to make two cars, but we've only made one so far). I wanted Carys to do as much of the building as possible so we drew the circle by hammering a nail at the center of the circle and then tying a pencil to the nail with some string. I measured out enough string to have the pencil reach the edge of the board - this gave us a 2' diameter circle, plenty big enough for the kids to sit on.
I used a jigsaw to cut out the circle - this was the only step I didn't let Carys do (partly because she couldn't stand the noise and partly because she wouldn't take off her roller-skates). The kids then sanded down the rough edges.
Time for a quick break :) It turns out tape measures are also good for pulling people round on roller-skates. Who knew?
Then we cut a couple of lengths of 1' x 2' wood for attaching the casters to the base (this was part of Carys' plan). Both Carys and Ffion had fun sawing the wood (with a hand saw). Then I marked out the hole placements for the casters and Carys drilled the pilot holes.
Time to attach the casters. Carys was really steady and accurate with the drill, but she needed a little bit of extra weight (i.e. me pushing down on the back of the drill) when using the screwdriver bit.
The plans also had a rope loop tied to the front to pull the car around with. I decided to add handles to the side to keep the kids on the car during the inevitable speed racing. I marked out the positions and Carys drilled the holes using a 1/2" drill bit - this looked comically large with her using it! I put some scrap/sacrificial wood under the car whilst drilling so that the drill-bit didn't hit concrete on it's way out.
By now it was getting dark and cold so we retired to the kitchen where the kids set about decorating their creation using permanent markers.
Then it was just a matter of adding the rope (2 handles and 1 long line for pulling).
Carys is immensely proud of her car. Doing all the planning, building and decorating has given her an amazing sense of ownership and accomplishment. She's already planning a ton of new projects, unfortunately this includes a death-defying bionic zip line out of the bedroom window to the reclaimed play structure... I wonder if I can persuade her that she wants to build an electric guitar or a laser cutter.