Lego Club Challenge–Zip Line Racing

Go Lego Go!!  This one is a favorite for my kiddos because it’s definitely not something you do everyday.  After I explained the rules of Lego Club, I told them the day’s challenge.  They first had to build a car, plane, boat, carplane, boatcar, or any other combination.  But they had to work into their design some sort of loop to attach a paper clip too.

There are lots of Legos that could work so kids didn’t really have problems figuring it out.  I went around to each table and explained it again just in case anyone was stuck.


Setting up the track in my room is actually pretty easy.  I have a large coat rack at the back of the room that’s attached to the wall.  So all I have to do is tie some string to the coat rack, measure out the string for my tracks to make it kinda even, add some pulleys, and then tie all the strings to the leg of some tables.  You might have to get creative if you don’t have a similar setup like my coat rack, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of distance or height to make it work.


This time around I did four tracks (MORE is BETTER) but that turned out to be harder to manage.  People were able to race faster, but getting kids to hook up their vehicles, then getting the parent volunteers to drop at the same time was a bit of a hot mess.  So I would recommend only doing two lanes.


So anyway, once kids were done building, they could practice on the track, but only one at a time.  Otherwise they start racing each other and it’s too distracting for everyone then.  Once they were ready, I would attach their paper clip to a pulley; from there I would try to bend the paper clip to make their vehicle face forward so that it actually looks like it’s flying.  It doesn’t really have the same effect if it’s flying sideways.


I would tell them to wait to the bottom of the track to catch their piece.  Most of them made it down the track just fine, I told them to add weight if it didn’t make it all the way down.  And if it exploded when it hit the table leg from going to fast, I would tell them to make it a bit sturdier.  Kids LOVE it when their cars explode though, so no one ever follows that advice.  Although I did have a few kids try to make bumpers for when their car hit the leg of the table.


If there test drive was successful, I told them they could either try to add more weight to make it go faster or they could build a garage for their piece.  We built and tested for about 40 minutes, cleaned up for 5 minutes, and then spent the rest of the time racing.  Great fun!!  Thanks to Little Bins for Little Hands for inspiring the idea.


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4 thoughts on “Lego Club Challenge–Zip Line Racing

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  1. This is a fun idea for a LEGO challenge! It seems like the kids really enjoyed this one. One question I have is – where did you get those pulleys? Is there any specific size you would recommend? Thanks for all the work you put in to share these challenges.


    1. THANKS!! The pulleys pictured I just picked up from the local science/surplus store. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend any particular size–mine are kind of big, your piece needed to have some weight to make sure the pulley stayed upright. Just test it out beforehand is my big advice.


  2. i,m about to build a similar thing for my son to fly his lego star wars spaceships. using a couple of technic motors and IR receivers . the string will be a loop which can be driven by a pulley at one end and the spaceship will be harnessed and move as the string is turned by the pulley. as well as this i will create a system where the tension of the string can be tightened or loosened which will essentially allow the spaceship to fly higher or lower and even land. it will only allow a straight line but if that works ok i might then think about making a rotating roof mounted line to allow the spaceships to fly in cirlces and go up and down and land .

    i spent hours as a kid doing this sort of thing with my lego and i,m keen to get my son doing this rather than video games and electronic entertainment , it teaches kids how to build ,develop perseverence and creativity . i’ll let you know how i go and send some pics , glad i stumbled onto your article , i really enjoyed it and it brought back memories too.


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