Do you have a child who loves cars? This might be just the activity to get their motors running! [Ok, ok, I’ll go easy on the puns!]

In this activity your children will have a car race, but not of the traditional kind. Let them use their creativity in creating a car for themselves out of an empty box. They can decorate it as much as they like. Once that’s done, it will be time to help them create the odometer for their car.

The aim of the game is to see who can reach a 100 clicks of the odometer first (you can make that a smaller number if you like). This is a great introduction to place value, addition and chance and will certainly engage any child with a passion for racing and cars.

You will need:

2 tin cans (to make two odometers)

Lined paper

Pens

Scissors

Dice (one 10 sided or two 6 sided)

Sticky tape

Instructions for making the odometer:

Cut three thin columns vertically along the length of the paper. Wrap each piece around the curved part of the tin can and mark with pen on the paper the point where it overlaps.

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 From the top of the column down to the marking, write the numbers 0 – 9 spread evenly.

Repeat this for each of the paper columns. Wrap each column around the tin and fasten it to itself with a piece of sticky tape. Ensure that the sticky tape is only on the paper and does not stick the paper to the tin. Also ensure that the paper is not pulled too tight.

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 The paper needs to be able to rotate around the tin. Repeat for the other two paper columns lining them up next to each other on the tin can. Take the remainder of the paper (or a second piece of paper) and cut a window for the three columns. Only make the window as high as each number on the column strips. So if each number covers two lines then make your window only a little more than two lines in height. Sticky tape this sheet over the strips of paper on the tin.

Repeat all instructions for a second odometer.


Race to 100 game:

Show your child the odometer in your car [or perhaps a video of an old odometer on a youtube clip or in an old car, since most odometers are electronic now].

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You are going to pretend to be cars and race to 100 km on the odometer. Take turns rolling the dice and adding the numbers to the odometer. If you’re using two dice, add the two totals first and then add this number to the odometer reading. Take steps forward with each number added and remember to turn the odometer. As the far right dial turns over from 9 to 0 and then the middle column goes up by one your child will be experiencing place value first hand while pretending to be a car!

We’d love for you to share your experience with this activity in the comments below. Also, please consider sharing this activity with someone whose child would love this game!