Rubber Band Racer

I’m a huge race car fan, so when we started experimenting with wheeled vehicles in our kid testing lab, I knew just what I wanted to create! Using simple household materials and tools, it was super easy to create a rubber band-powered racer. The steps below require some adult assistance as we used an electric drill and a hot glue gun, but our kid testers were happy to help with the other steps -- and of course experiment with wheels, rubber bands, and different surfaces to see how fast their racers could go!

  1. Ages: 5 - 16

  2. 30 minutes - 1 hour

  3. A little messy

  4. Grownup needed

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Gather your materials!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Cut your lollipop sticks so they are both 2.5 inches in length. Cut the tip of the wooden skewer so it is 0.75 inches long. Cut the rest of the skewer into two 4 inch long sticks. Using a marker, mark the midway point in one of the 4 inch long wooden sticks.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    With a ruler and marker, mark the 1 inch and 2-inch point from both ends of a straw. Each straw should have 4 marks. Repeat with the second straw.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Using a small drill bit, create holes over each marked spot on the straws. You’ll want to make the holes wide enough to fit the skewers and lollipop sticks. Drill a very small hole through the midway mark in the skewer.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Stick the lollipop sticks in the two inner holes, creating a ladder shape between the straws. Use a hot glue gun to glue the sticks in place.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Step 6

    To prep your wheels, mark the center of each container lid with a marker. Drill holes into each lid. The holes should be wide enough for your sticks.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

  • Step 7

    Stick the skewers into the outer holes on the straws. The skewers, which will serve as the wheel axles, should be a little loose so your wheels roll smoothly.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 7

  • Step 8

    The skewer with the drilled midway hole will serve as the back axle. Attach the larger wheels to the back axle with hot glue. Stick the 0.75-inch long skewer tip into the drilled hole. Also, secure that with hot glue.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 8

  • Step 9

    Using hot glue, attach the smaller wheels onto the front axle. Test to make sure that both sets of wheels can freely roll.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 9

  • Done!

    Take a rubber band and loop it through the lollipop stick near the front axle. Hook the other end of the rubber band around the skewer tip attached to the back axle. To wind up your car, carefully turn the large wheels of the car so that the rubber band winds around the back axle. Let go and watch your car spin off! Continue experimenting with your car and try different size and length rubber bands. What combination works the best?

    Photo reference of how to complete step 10

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