Both of my young fellows are back-seat drivers and recently I had an idea to make them their own steering wheels, both for safety reasons and for fun.
Since they upgraded to their “bigger kid” car seats I have had to regularly tell them to sit back, because they enjoy gripping the back of the seats in front of them as they pretend to control the vehicle. I hear the kids chattering away behind me about how they are participating in a race, rushing in an emergency vehicle or leaning to take a turn on a motorbike. Rather than continuously reprimanding my children for not sitting properly, I decided to encourage the imaginative play by making it possible for them to “drive” while safely strapped in.
This was the thriftiest possible project. I found the wooden plates for twenty cents each at the local second-hand shop and I simply used a large nail to hammer a hole through the centre.
Once the holes were done, I set about painting some “steering wheels” based on pictures I found on the internet. It took me quite a while to complete them, from start to finish, because I simply added a layer of paint and detail whenever I had a chance and hid them away to dry; I wanted the finished products to be a surprise for the kids.
When I was happy with my final paint work, I strung the wheels to the back of the car seats using elastic.
I made large knots on the front and then pulled the ends through the hole to the back. Couldn’t be simpler.
The kids are utterly rapt with their new steering wheels. Funnily enough, there is now very little chatter from the back seat when we drive, and when I glance at them in the rear-view mirror I see very serious faces. They concentrate! They really drive along with me, turning their wheels at corners and watching for obstacles on the straight stretches.
It took me some time and effort to make these steering wheels, but these simple home-made playthings really fit into the category of cheap thrills.