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Blow to the Finish Line: Wind car race

Children playing wind race cars
Children playing wind race cars

What you need

  • Some small toy cars
  • Card and tape to make a wind sail
  • A place to race your cars – a flat surface is best


Racing cars is lots of fun and provides an opportunity to develop your child’s mathematical language as you discuss speed and distance. This twist on a typical car race adds an extra challenge as you and your child will have to blow the car to the finish line! It also develops scientific understanding of forces and motion and can open up discussion around sources of energy.

The experience

Gather your selection of cars and choose a place to race them. It may be a flat and clear floor surface, or you could race them from one end of the table to another.

Provide your child with the card and tape to create their sail. Older children can enjoy cutting out and making their own, whilst younger children may need you to provide the cut out shape, and they can then assist you in sticking it to the back of the car. 

Explain to your child that to make the cars move, you will be using your own energy by blowing on the car to make it move. Explain how the sail is a bit like the sail on a boat, where the wind helps the boat to move along water. Demonstrate to your child how they can make the car move by blowing on the sail. 

Challenge any family member who wants a turn to race against each other. It can be a race to see who meets the finish line first, or perhaps a ‘beat the clock’, with an agreed time on a stopwatch. 

You can talk about how far it is from start to finish line and whose car has got the furthest/is nearest to the end, to develop your child’s maths language. Adding a stopwatch to the experience also opens discussion around time – who will be the quickest/fastest?

Older children may be interested to learn about wind turbines; look some up online and discuss how wind is a great source of energy that can help power things.