Racing Wind Up Dinosaurs

It can be difficult to entertain young children during the school holidays, especially if the weather is not particularly settled and they can’t go outside.  What a relief it was to find this racing wind up dinosaurs set with its four different dinosaurs to  make and race against each other.  For a young dinosaur fan and would-be palaeontologist who just loves dinosaurs, Mums can struggle to find creative, imaginative things for them to play with which tick all the educational boxes but also helps them to indulge their passion for all things prehistoric, especially dinosaurs.

Wind Up Dinosaurs

The Wind Up Dinosaurs Race Set

Make a dinosaur race across a table top.

Make a dinosaur race across a table top.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

This set contained four wind up gears plus press out cardboard templates to make up four racing dinosaurs, along with additional card to make two small trees, these acted as the start and finish line for our table top races.

The models represent an armoured Stegosaurus, there was even a set of six, bright red cardboard plates to press out and secure along the back of this animal’s cardboard body, the second model was a very colourful (orange), long-necked dinosaur.  I was reliably informed that this was a Diplodocus and this particular replica was to be called “Dippy”.  It was also pointed out to me that running along the back and the tail of the “Dippy” dinosaur was some light speckles, contrasting nicely with the very bright orange of the rest of the model.  These were of course “Dippy’s racing stripes”.

The Dinosaur Called “Dippy” with the “Racing Stripes”

"Dippy" the Dinosaur with racing stripes

“Dippy” the Dinosaur with racing stripes.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Included in the set are all the items needed to make a purple racing Triceratops, complete with green spikes that point out from the back of the head.  Fortunately, these were already attached to the card that made up the front of this model, otherwise they would have been quite fiddly to attach.  The fourth model represents a meat-eating dinosaur.

A Racing Tyrannosaurus rex

A racing Tyrannosaurus rex, with bright green spines running down its back and short arms ending in those famous two-fingered hands.  Included within the set were four pairs of “goggle” eyes for you to attach to the faces of the models – a nice touch.  Just peel off the backing and stick them onto the models, although it would be sensible to leave this job to all the models had been built.  The double-sided foam tapes helped to secure the cardboard models together along with some round stickers so no glue was required, much to my relief as this prevents glue covered sticky fingers  The various cardboard pieces had slots that when folded could be inserted into corresponding parts of the model so making the models was relatively quick.

The wind up gears already had their wheels attached so there was no mechanical assembly required.  Sticking out of all the gear boxes there is a metal bar with a white grip handle that when turned provides the power to make the models race.

A Quick Tip

One tip when constructing the dinosaurs is to make sure that the double-sided foam sticker used to adhere the gear mechanism to the cardboard body of the dinosaur is not to close to the actual gear axle.  It is also best to check when lining up the the gear box to insert into the holes to hold the wind up handle and the wheels, that you have the gear in the right way round, otherwise when you turn the handle and let your dinosaur go it shoots backwards not forwards.  To avoid confusion, it may be a good idea to test which direction the gear turns the wheels and make a mark using a felt tip pen so that the front of the gear assembly can be identified.  Then it was simply a case of orientating the gear box properly and carefully securing it to the body of the model.

Excellent Instructions

The instructions were very well laid out, with lots of handy pictures to illustrate what needed to be done to make each model and then we were set to start our races.  It would be sensible to have some adult guidance when making up these wind up racing dinosaurs, although the box says that this item is suitable for children from five years and upwards, a little bit of adult supervision over the assembly would be advised.  A course was set up using the “start” and “finish” tree cones that had come with this kit and then we were able to race the dinosaurs across the table.  These racing dinosaurs run quite well on any hard, flat surface, although the T. rex fell over once or twice when racing on the carpet was tried.

Easy to Follow Instructions with Lots of Diagrams

Simple instructions with lots of pictures.

Simple instructions with lots of pictures.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

We made a race track that was about a metre long and I got my young dinosaur races to make a league table with four points for a win, three for a second place, two for third and so on.  A little bit of maths could be introduced as the children calculated their scores and worked out their points for each race run.

We tried a set of ten races over varying distances, getting my young charges to measure the distance and make a note of how much shorter or further the models had to race each time.  Shorter races worked well, as anything over a metre and a half and the dinosaurs ran out of “puff” and come nowhere near to the finish line.  Fortunately, most times the models did run in a straight line.  To challenge the children with their maths a couple of races were made with double and then triple points scored and all of the model had to cross the line to win, this prevented the long-necked models from having a distinct advantage over their shorter-necked rivals.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of dinosaur themed arts and crafts: Dinosaur Toys and Gifts.

All in all, this is a fun table top activity, the models were simple to make and the instructions with lots of pictures were easy to understand and follow.  By racing the models a number of times, addition and subtraction exercises could be included to help these budding dinosaur experts with their numbers.  The models even ended up being used a board counters for another game we played.

As for the winner of our dinosaur racing medley – it was “Dippy” probably because of those racing stripes that were on the model!

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