Whether your child (or your student) is a preschooler, a teenager, or somewhere in between, here are some creative ways to keep your kids happily engaged at home while they’re dreaming about cars. These activities are appropriate for any age to help nurture and inspire a fascination with cars.

Take a Virtual Field Trip to a Car Factory

For kids who are curious about how cars are made, you can virtually visit one of nine U.S. manufacturing plants and automotive experience centers at TourToyota.com. You and your child can see how people – and robots – work together to make a vehicle in a behind-the-scenes look at manufacturing plants around the country.

Each tour is different, so it’s worth checking them all out to find your favorite. If your kid is interested in learning about vehicles or the future and robotics, you can watch a video to learn about the latest cutting-edge research on artificial intelligence and automated vehicles at TeenDrive365inschool.com/CarsOfTheFuture.

Read or Listen to Stories About Cars

With younger children, you could read along with YouTube videos featuring popular children’s books about cars, such as “If I Built a Car” by Chris van Dusen and “Going Places” by Peter and Paul Reynolds.

For older kids and teens, you can listen to podcasts about cars on the series CarStories, such as “How to Design Cars,” a discussion with real-life car designers about how they first began their lifelong love of everything automotive — by drawing cars when they were young kids. You can also listen to the Toyota Untold podcast to go beyond the cars and into the journeys, featuring exclusive stories of drivers, engineers, fans and experts from the Toyota and Lexus family.

Watch a Video About Automotive Design

The video “Making the Origami-Inspired Lexus” gives a mind-blowing look at how designers used cutting-edge technology to create a complex, detailed replica sculpture of a Lexus IS car made of corrugated cardboard, complete with wheels, seats, headlights (it’s even actually drivable by real humans!).

Also, see an automotive designer from Toyota’s CALTY Design Research reenact his sketching of an original idea for what became the redesign of the Toyota Sienna minivan.

Draw Your Dream Car

Let your imagination run wild. What would your dream car look like? Would it fly or swim? Does it look like a train or an animal? Dream of the coolest car you can come up with. Then follow these steps:

  • Gather materials. To start, you’ll need paper, pencil, and an eraser. Decide the shape. Sketch lightly, focusing on the overall shape. Draw your car at a slight angle to show both the front and the side. This is called “three-quarter perspective.”
  • Fill in details. Draw the parts that your car needs. For example, will it have wheels, or will it move differently? Use darker lines or add color to highlight each part of your car.
  • Refine and complete. Retrace shapes and angles of your car as needed. Erase light lines and strengthen the most important outlines. Shade with a pencil to add depth and perspective on your car. Congratulations! You’ve drawn a car!

Then, consider entering the Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest.

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to practice and add a little imagination — and maybe win a prize. The Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest encourages kids ages 4-15 to draw their ideas of the future of transportation.

Flying cars, underground passages, space exploration or magnificent beasts: no idea is off limits – but there are rules. The original illustrations must be drawn using colored pencils, crayons, markers, ink pens, paint, and now even digital tools, then submitted online or by mail with an entry form.

For details on this free youth art contest, visit ToyotaDreamCarUSA.com.

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Originally published November 22, 2021

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