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Rubberband Car Video & Lesson Plan

In this activity kids will build a four-wheeled car from random materials you likely have lying around your house like water bottle caps, rubber bands, and an empty plastic container.

Activity Supplies

Pantry Staples

  • Elastic rubber bands
  • Empty mustard bottle or another plastic container
  • Two wooden skewers
  • Plastic container tops (examples: water bottle cap, peanut butter lid)
    • two small
    • two medium
    • two large

Specialty Supplies

  • Hot glue gun/super glue
  • Craft knife or X-ACTO® knife
  • Wire cutters or another way to cut a wood skewer 
  • Optional Add-Ons:
    • Sticky tape
    • Measuring tape

Activity Steps

  1. Choose your car’s body. For our design, we used a mustard bottle.
  2. Parents - you’ll need to help with this step! Use a sharp craft knife to cut out one side of your car body so that you can easily access the inside.
  3. Use the knife to poke four holes in the sides of your car body that will allow your skewers (wheel axles) to pass through.
  4. Now start by making the rear axle. Poke a wooden skewer through the smaller, sturdier bottle lids. Depending on your lids, you may need to start this with the knife as well.
  5. Attach the small bottle cap and skewer to the large container top (the wheel).
  6. Now use a small and a large rubber band to make a cow hitch knot on the skewer (axle).
  7. Insert the skewer through the hole in the car body and use the wire cutters to cut the skewer down to size. Tip: You want the wheels to be reasonably close to the body.
  8. Attach the wheel on the other side just like you did in steps 4 and 5. This will complete your rear axle.
  9. Now we’re going to make the front axle. Attach one container top that will make your front wheel to the other wooden skewer. Whether you poke the skewer through or glue it depends on the lid you’re using.
  10. Push the skewer through the remaining holes on your car body. Loop the other end of your rubber band onto the front axle skewer (shaft). Tip: You want your rubber-band motor to be fairly tight and stretched out between the axles! You can tie extra knots in it to make it tighter.
  11. Use the wire cutters to cut the skewer down to size before connecting the final front wheel.
  12. Stretch some more rubber bands over each wheel.
  13. To power the car, turn the back wheels so that the rubber band tightens by wrapping around the rear axle. 
Official Lesson Plan