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Learning about cars - resources?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My 9 y/o ds is very interested in cars - car design specifically but cars in general - how they are built, how they run etc.
Our library has a limited number of books on the topic - lots of repair manuals and lemon-aide guides but that isn't what he is after.

Has anyone got suggestions for resources - books, hands on stuff, computer activities or dvds?

thanks in advance
post #2 of 11
Do you ever listen to Car Talk on NPR? Their website has a lot of stuff, too.
post #3 of 11
There's a great book called Cars and How they Go by Joanna Cole. It is a very simple explanation of how the car works for young kids (say about 5-8 or 9 years old).

post #4 of 11
Little Mammoth Media has an awesome video called "The Big Auto Plant." It's about 50 minutes long and shows the production process for the Mercedes M-class SUV, starting with the design process and going right through to quality control and factory test drives. (Actually all of their videos are awesome. I highly recommend them!)

I also really like DK Publishing's series of books for kids, as well as Eyewitness Books. Both lines are large (probably 9" x 12") hardcover books with tons of illustrations and photos. The information is presented in single paragraphs kind of scattered all over the page, so even though there's a huge amount of text on each page, it doesn't look intimidating. And it's highly accurate without being overly technical.

You could also check out a major bookstore if there is one near you (here we have Chapters and Indigo) and looking on the sale tables and discount section. You can usually find books like "50 fastest sports cars" or "Great cars of the 70s" for $9.99 or less.

If he's into LEGO or kit-building, you might check out LEGO's Technic line. It's a nicely complex building system (compatible with other LEGO of course) that's more accurate than regular LEGO. The cars have rack-and-pinion steering, with tiny little gears that really work! It's cool. And if you have an independent toy store near you, check it out for science kits related to automotive stuff. For mail-order, you could try www.hobbyandtoycentral.com (full disclosure: I used to work there and it ROCKS) or www.mastermindtoys.com
post #5 of 11
I bet he'd love if you let him do some repair work on your car.

I recently bought a real beater of an old truck. A total project vehicle. Ds(9) has been having a BLAST helping fix it up. He started with putting on the license plates and cleaning it all up so we could work on it. You'd think getting all the old junk out of the bed would be a real chore, but he loved it. It was so empowering for him to be doing real tough work that was really needed. He cleaned out the whole thing, cab and all, and noticed that the glove compartment was broken. He fixed it himself, and let me know that to fix it right he needs me to buy a new "door" for it. He's right, but I didn't tell him. He told me, you know? It's a big deal for him. Since then he's repaired 2 of the 3 malfunctioning seat belts and believes he can fix the third if I buy him a part for that too. I can fix or replace all the things wrong with the truck myself, but I'm backing off and taking a support role. I will tell him what needs to be done if he asks, and buy him the parts, but I'm letting him take first shot at it all.

He's slowly working into more and more difficult parts of the truck, too. After the seat belts, the broken locking mechanisms on the doors and the radio are his next points of interest.
post #6 of 11
If you consider online, www.howstuffworks.com is great.
post #7 of 11
post #8 of 11
post #9 of 11
We have this great little show here in Canada called "Mighty Machines". They have tons of different episodes and are available on DVD. I'm sure there is one on how they make cars in the factory. I know they have one on how transport trucks are made. My son LOVES these shows. They're told from the perspective of whatever the machine is. ie. "Hi kids, I'm 18 wheeler. This is my driver, Ted"......but its not a cartoon. They're available from ToysR Us in Canada, not sure about the U.S., and are quite reasonably priced.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great suggestions everyone!
post #11 of 11
I don't suppose you're in the bay area? This is a cool tour: Nummi tour.... and it looks like they have a cyber-tour now, too, so you can do it online.

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