Raising a gearhead   5 comments

Today Jalopnik asked, “What’s The Best Way To Turn Your Kid Into A Gearhead?”

It’s a good question and it’s  something I’ve pondered a lot since the birth of Mary, our daughter who is now 20 months old. I don’t believe in pushing your children into things but rather gently guiding them into interests and this what I’m trying to do with her by encouraging her to get into cars. If it turns out it’s not her thing as she gets older, that’s fine, but it would be a nice hobby for us to share.

So how am I doing this? Well, there are some obvious things. I’ve bought her a few Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels (she really loves the  Datsun 510 and Ford Bronco). She makes the “vroom vroom” noises — music to my ears!

I’ve even let her play with some of the more well-worn now-vintage Matchbox cars that I played with 30 years ago.

Toddler playing with toy cars

She also has the Playsam Saab 92 Roadster, though she’s still not quite tall enough for her feet to reach the ground. I picked it up on Craigslist before she was even born and displayed it in my office at work until the nursery was finished!

Baby playing with a toy car

Actually driving some interesting cars has surely helped too. She thinks that “Dadda’s cars” are pretty cool, I gave her her first ride in a vintage Saab, my ’72 96, when she was still an infant.

Baby in a car seat

And then there are the books. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go is a classic, I remember my parents reading it to me and now I enjoy it with Mary.

Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

As she gets older I look forward to teaching Mary the names of various cars, taking her to car shows, and having her help me as I wrench on my own cars. I’m hoping that someday she’ll even want to get an interesting old car to restore, much like the 14 year old girl who is rebuilding a Fiero as her first car. Now that’s some serious inspiration right there.

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Posted August 7, 2012 by jonathan in Car life

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5 responses to “Raising a gearhead

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  1. That picture of MH with her Saab is so cute!

  2. Lily has been growing up with a gear head Daddy for the last 4 years now and it has definitely rubbed off on her. By the age of three she was able to name a Jeep from all of the lineup without getting a single one wrong. Now that we have since gotten rid of all our Jeeps she is stuck with the word Subaru which in her mind translates to “Supado”. She loves cars and trains and things like that just by being around me I think. Whatever Daddy thinks is cool Lily thinks is cool at this age. I really hope it continues on through her childhood years.

  3. Just having the young ones around when enjoying cars will help alot. My daughter and I even raced cars togather. Her driving and us repairing for a year.

  4. I share your memories of that book! Where’s Goldbug ?!
    I wonder if it’s still hanging around my folks’ house…

  5. I may have failed with my children, but my 4 yo grandson is well on his way. Just tonight at the DQ (we rode there in my daughter’s C900 convertible, just the ticket for a warm summer night) he yelled as each car drove by on the highway. What kind of car is that? What kind of car is that? What kind of car is that? What kind of motorcycle is that? And on and on. And, since one of our C900s currently has an open exhaust, he loves the big noise and calls it a ring ding car (his generic name for 96s and earlier).

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