Toys for the Small Boys, Part 2

So your kid is way past his toddler days, huh? Don’t lose heart! There are still plenty of racing toys that you can give. Or better yet, let him feel the excitement of racing against other vehicles, without actually strapping him in a race car and zooming around the oval. We know you want to, but that would be dangerous. And crazy. And your wife will probably kill you first. So what to do? Here’s a suggestion: why don’t you and your kid join a celebrated rite of passage that are close to the hearts of many Cub Scouts then and now? A tradition that is actually, yes, a car race? That’s right—the Pinewood Derby.

The Pinewood Derby is a miniature car racing event solely for Cub Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America. A kit is provided to each Cub, which includes a block of pine, 4 plastic wheels, and 4 nails. Parents can help their kids build their cars, so it’s a good way to bond with your budding race champ too.

Every piece of material provided in the kit must be used, and the finished car must not exceed the set weight and length. It must also fit the track that used by the scout pack. The winners (1st, 2nd, and 3rd placers) are given trophies and medals. Special awards (like best car design) are awarded, too.



The first Pinewood Derby was held by Pack 280c, on May 15, 1953 in Manhattan Beach, California. Cubmaster Don Murphy organized the event because his son was too young to participate in Soap Box Derby races.

Even if your kid is not a Cub Scout, you two will surely have a great time making miniature cars. You can even make or rent a track and race against each other. Your son will definitely get a kick out of beating you, and you’ll get some satisfaction seeing him so excited over cars and races—just like you are.