Kids interested in building robots? Most kids love the idea of making robots, but robots are one of the most complicated engineering systems that humans have ever made. Younger kids can get started making real robots by learning the basics of programming, engineering, and electrical systems. This DIY motorized toy car shows kids on the most basic level what sort of work goes into making a real robot. After working to power their toy cars, kids will appreciate the real work that goes into engineering bigger robots!
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DIY Motorized Toy Car: STEM Challenge for Kids
What you’ll need for the motorized toy car:
- Toy car (the lighter the better)
- 1.5 or 3 volt motor
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- AAA battery pack
- Duct tape or electrical tape
- Needlenose pliers
- Play tray (optional)
- LEGOs (optional)
- Mini clothespin
The trickiest part of this activity is getting the motor in the right place on the car. First, connect the wires to the battery pack if the aren’t already connected. Needlenose pliers help make this task easier. On our motor, it didn’t matter which battery line led to which side of the motor.
Fiddle around with the placement of the battery pack and motor until the car will move forward when the motor is turned on. Use tape or glue or whatever you can to make it stick. We found a combination of glue and tape worked best to hold everything in place.
In our first try, our car was too heavy, and it just wouldn’t move. So, we switched to the lighter yellow car and it worked perfectly.
You can just let your car bounce around in a play tray, but we decided to give it an obstacle course. We glued Duplos down onto our play tray with hot glue and let the car bounce around between the pieces for a while.
We thought the car could move through the maze, but it didn’t quite work without a bit of our help. If we had adjusted the placement of the motor further, I bet we could have gotten it to work. When we tried with our heavier, orange car, it just didn’t move at all.
There are so many fun things you can try with a motorized car!
What Kids Learn Making a DIY Motorized Toy Car
My favorite part about this STEM activity is that it opens up a whole new world to kids. Kids don’t usually realize they can motorized and alter the electronics of their toys, and this project shows just how much fun it can be to modify toys! They are not only learning about the basics of electronics but also important lessons in design, engineering, and creative thinking.
Looking for more STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) projects and inspiration?
Looking for some more STEAM inspiration that use can use right now? Instant gratification style? Check out STEAM Kids: 50+ Hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math Hands-On Projects for Kids ebook! It’s packed full of a year’s worth fun learning activities that will wow the boredom right out of your kids.