Soapbox Derby

April 27 – June 7, 2015

Throughout this 6-week workshop, 16 kids, ages 8-12, built 16 soapbox derby cars out of recycled wood and lawnmower wheels. Each student worked independently to bring their original concept to life. Friends and families gathered on June 7th to see the cars race down the hill at Knoll Farm in Fayston, Vermont. This project was inspired by The Incredible San Francisco Artists’ Soapbox Derby, an event organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1975


Session 1

April 27, 2015

Play is back in session at Knoll Farm. With the first yellow flowers come the kids with eager hands and minds. Our goal is to build a gravity powered car by the end of 6 weeks. And there’s no better way to begin than by making catapults! The kids worked in 2 groups to build an egg launching catapult. They used 2×4’s recycled from a previous project and a 36″ steel threaded rod that will be used next week as an axel on our soapbox cars. This project introduced kids to hardware and wrenches while producing some fist pumping and egg smashing action. But of course, even before that we needed to warm up by practicing Dragon Ball! A combo of basketball and flag football, the kids have to pass the ball down the pine tree court without getting their flags yanked and score into a square goal. Did I mention there is a goalie holding a broomstick?


APRIL 28, 2015


APRIL 30, 2015


Derby Day

June 7, 2015

16 cars flew down the hill. None fell over, all were thrilled. Families and friends gathered at the hillside racetrack on Sunday to watch the grand finale of the Soapbox Derby workshop. Spirits were high as Leonardo the Pineapple, Pink Lady, Spaceship Spiff, Blueberry Pie, Hot Dog, Turtle and many more raced down the hill. These past 6 weeks have been a wild adventure as we hammered, sawed, paper mached and played all kinds of games. Every car grew out of the unique vision of each maker. A vent frame transformed into a sunroof, plexiglass became a hot commodity, spaghetti got flung, balls were dodged and corn was popped. Thank you to all the families who made this possible and to all the kids for staying focused, being spontaneous and learning from your mistakes. Everyone gets 1st place for their wild imagination!