What happens when a Junior High Director watches the Red Bull Soapbox Race? The idea for Skateboard Derby is birthed. Fair warning: this one requires a bit of prep work, but your kids will love it! HereÕs how you pull it off.
Start collecting cardboard boxes right away. Simply call furniture stores and the like, tell them itÕs for a worthy cause, and you will get all you need. Depending on the size of your group, you will need a lot!
At least one week prior to the event, call around and collect enough skateboards and helmets for every team. You just need one board and helmet per team. Check with the kids that are bringing their skateboards to make sure they're okay with their board getting a few extra nicks and scratches on it.
Don't worry about other protective gear; it will be made on-site! (ThatÕs what the cardboard is for.)
This is best played on a street with a downhill slope. Almost every city/town is willing to shut down a portion of a street, and supply a law enforcement agent to help regulate traffic away from and around your event! You just got to start early enough, so plan well! If you canÕt get a side street, the church parking lot is fine, too.
Every team gets:
– A bunch of cardboard
– A roll of packing tape (masking tape is too weak and duct tape is too hard to work with)
– A helmet
– A skateboard
One person on each team is elected to be the rider, and two people are elected to “launch” the car. Teams have 30 minutes to construct a derby board out of their materials, with these guidelines (designed for the kids' safety).
* Your rider MUST be outfitted with kneepads and elbow pads! A helmet will be provided.
* Your skateboard MUST have a wall completely surrounding the rider that is at least 1 ft. tall.
* Your rider MUST sit down on their bottom in order to ride! NO STANDING or KNEELING or BELLY RIDING!
* Your rider MAY NOT touch the ground with any part of his/her body. A braking/steering system must be designed for the skateboard that will, at the very least, allow the rider to brake at will by using cardboard as a source of friction.
When it comes time for the main event, hold races of various difficulties and strategies. Announce that there will be points awarded for the winners of each race:
Some race ideas are:
1. Fastest time downhill (or from point A to point B)
2. Longest distance traveled from ÒlaunchÓ
3. Precision – ability to steer through or around cones
4. Stopping skills – ability to stop at a certain point. (This is where the well-designed brake systems come into play!)
Additional Points will be rewarded for:
1. Most creative skateboard car
2. Best dressed rider
Have the video camera ready! You will get lots of YouTube worthy footage. Have fun & be safe!
Idea by Alli
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.