Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What to do with siblings during Pinewood Derby!

Of all the things I keep telling myself "I should blog that," this one had to go up because it really could help!

It is with great pride I compliment the leaders and Committee Members of Packs 7 & 17. Last night was our Pinewood Derby and it was a HUGE SUCCESS!

For those who don't know, Pinewood Derby is where little Cub Scouts (7-11yrs old/8-10yrs in LDS groups) make cars out of a block of wood then race each other down a wooden track propelled only by gravity. Most Packs invite the whole family to come watch and cheer for their boy. However, the races can take quite a while depending on how many racers there are and what kind of ranking system is in place. So, what do you do with all the younger brothers and sisters who come along?

The past 3 races in which I had a son, I was only a parent. I spent hours telling little ones, "sit down," "come back here," "don't touch," "just a little while longer," and missing half my son's races. Then my son would come running, "Mom, did you see that?!?" No. I hadn't. Now that I could have a say, I wanted something different, and the great leaders really brought it all to life!

Some of these ideas could be addapted for Space Derby or Raingutter Regatta as well.

There were 2 things we did that helped:
1) For snacks we did "Twinkie cars." During weigh-in all the kids went to the "Fast Food" place and built Twinkie cars using icing to glue on gummy wheels and decorate. We had 3 different colors in bags with just the tip snipped so they could only get a little at a time. We put their name on their plate then set them aside "for display." They got to eat them after the last race while we were filling out certificates and preparing awards. You could make yours as fancy as you would like. Do make sure to keep at least 1 or 2 adults at the table to help out.

2) We also had a "Little Racers" corner. It had a coloring table with cub scout pages, race cars, and little "flags" to decorate. The coloring pages were from the internet. The flags were just plain paper cut diagonally to create triangles taped to sticks or straws. You could also provide tape and a wall for them to post their pictures if you wanted. This might encourage greater production if you needed to fill more time. Then, we used masking tape to make lanes and a circular track on the gym floor. We had bigger toddler type plastic cars as well as hot wheels for the kids to play with. There was also a younger kid board game at a round table, like 6-8 yr old game. This area was mostly just free play, letting the kids move about doing what they wanted. A few parents kind of kept an eye on things.

We got tons of compliments. Parents loved getting to relax & enjoy the races without having to keep siblings under such tight control. Even the scouts loved it. They would occasionally run to the play corner too.

Another thing that helped a lot was breaking up the action some. After about 20-30 mintues of racing, the Cub Master would have everyone stand and stretch or one of the Dens would do a little skit. It really helped things from getting too monotonous. We tried to do a wave, but failed, though you might have a more agreeable crowd.

We highly reccommend "roping off" at least 3/4 around the track. This also helps keep little ones back and reminds absent-minded adults to walk around. Nothing breaks up the action like someone tripping and breaking the track!

Good luck at the races!

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Blogger Jim McKeeth said...

I think it was one of the most successful pinewood derbies I have been too as well. Good ideas!

Mon Feb 09, 04:43:00 PM MST  
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