Get back to some good old fashioned fun with your kids. Make a billycart together and your children will have hours of healthy, outdoor entertainment. It's not expensive and if you are not known for your hands on DIY talents, Bunnings make it easy for you with a PDF instruction file, in store Build a Billycart nights and even a 5 min DIY video you can watch online.
If you decide to make a custom built one, under your own steam, then the first challenge is to find a suitable set of wheels to use. For us it was first stop Op Shop and after the purchase of a pram we were ready to start. Big wheels are handy since if you don't have siblings, or can't persuade the ones you do have, to push you, then you can easily push yourself along. A seat is handy, you'll need a simple steering mechanism and brakes are certainly a useful feature (many carts just rely on you using your feet to stop). Practice on small hills until you get the hang of your steering and stopping. We are lucky in that we have a long concrete drive which makes for a perfect race track. A bike helmet can be used for races. Pick up a box of bandaids for your cupboard next time you are at the shops, as scrapes are inevitable and are worn proudly as medals of billycart honour.
There are lots of You Tube videos on the subject, with kids showing how they made their billycarts. They remind me of the cult classic "Why Don't You..?" (Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go And Do Something Less Boring Instead?" ) TV series I watched on British TV when I was growing up. Check out this video by Steven.
Billycarts are loved so much in Australia, there are Championship races. Brisbane's takes place on Sunday 19 August in 2012. The Australian Billycart Championships will be on Saturday March 30th, 2013, in the town of Corowa, Southern NSW. The more you look on the internet, the more you realize how many billycart events there are, all over the country.
Billycarts are part of Australian history. There's one in the powerhouse museum collection. They were used in the late 1800's and were drawn by a billygoat – hence the name billy cart. In the UK, the name gocart was used, which comes from "goat" cart. They were originally a type of animal propelled baby carriage and were still seen giving rides on English beaches in the 1930's.
There are all levels of sophistication of billycart design but the important thing is just to do it. Don't make your cart too complicated or there's a danger you won't get around to it. Your kids will tell you what they want. Here's a sustainability challenge – make it from completely recycled materials.
Oh and Dad's – don't hog the cart in the beginning – let the kids have a go first and wait your turn, for your ride down memory lane.