Got kids who love cars? Whether your child (or your student) is a preschooler, a teenager or somewhere in between, here are some creative ways to keep kids happily engaged at home while they’re dreaming about cars. These activities are appropriate for any age to help nurture and inspire a fascination with cars.
1. Take a virtual field trip to a car factory
For kids who are curious about how cars are actually made, you can virtually visit one of nine U.S. manufacturing plants and automotive experience centers at TourToyota.com. You and your child will be able to see how the many people — and robots — work together to make each vehicle in a behind-the-scenes look at manufacturing plants around the country. Each tour is a little different, so it’s worth checking them all out to find your favorite.
If your kid is interested in learning about the vehicles of the future and robotics, you can watch a video to learn about the latest cutting-edge research on artificial intelligence and automated vehicles at TeenDrive365inschool.com/CarsOfTheFuture.
2. Read or listen to stories about cars
For younger children, you can read along with YouTube videos featuring popular children’s books about cars, such as “If I Built a Car” by Chris van Dusen and “Going Places” by Peter and Paul Reynolds.
Or for older kids and teens, you can listen to podcasts about cars on the series CarStories, such as “How to Design Cars”, a discussion with real-life car designers about how they first began their lifelong love of everything automotive — by drawing cars when they were young kids.
3. Watch a video about automotive design
Check out the short video “Making the Origami-Inspired Lexus” for a mind-blowing look at how a couple of designers used cutting-edge technology to create a complex, detailed replica sculpture of a Lexus IS car — that’s actually drivable by real humans! — out of corrugated cardboard, complete with wheels, seats, headlights and more.
Also, see an automotive designer from Toyota’s CALTY Design Research team demonstrate how he sketched out an idea for what became the 2021 redesign of the Toyota Sienna minivan.
4. Draw your dream car
First, let your imagination go wild. What would your dream car look like? Would it fly or swim? Does it look like a train or an animal? Dream of the coolest car you can come up with. Then follow these steps:
- Gather materials. To start, you’ll need paper, pencil and an eraser.
- Decide the shape. Sketch lightly, focusing on the overall shape. Draw your car at a slight angle to show both the front and the side. This is called “three-quarter perspective.”
- Fill in details. Draw the parts your car needs. For example, will it have wheels, or will it move differently? Use darker lines or add color to highlight each part of your car.
- Refine and complete. Retrace shapes and angles of your car as needed. Erase light lines and strengthen the most important outlines. Shade with your pencil to give the car depth and perspective. Congratulations! You’ve drawn a car!
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to practice and add a little imagination — and maybe win a prize. The Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest encourages kids ages 4-15 to draw their ideas of the future of transportation. Flying cars, underground passages, space exploration or magnificent beasts: no idea is off limits. But there are some rules.
The original illustrations must be done on paper using colored pencils, crayons, markers and/or paint (any kind). No digital tools or elements may be used. All submissions must be accompanied by a completed entry form signed by a parent or legal guardian. Each year, nine winners receive first, second and third place in each of three age categories (4-7 years, 8-11 years, 12-15 years). Prizes include a Toyota MasterCard® Reward Card, a ready-to-frame copy of the artwork and an award certificate. For details about this free youth art contest, go to ToyotaDreamCarUSA.com.