My son is 4.5 now, and he goes to pre-school. After school and during vacations, weekends, and even during the regular week we are always looking for cool adventures and projects to embark on. We've gone to museums, ate donuts, baked muffins, gone shopping, played baseball, walked on stilts, gone to movies, been superheroes, and lots of other things. Some of them are educational, some of them are fun, and the best ones are both. And I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting ideas.
So when I heard that Mike Adamick, dad blogger par excellence , had written a Make style book about cool projects to work on with your kids, I jumped at the chance to review it. (DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this book to review it. My review is not based on the free-ness of the book.)
In case you don't know Adamick, he writes for the San Francisco Chronicle parenting blog, Jezebel.com, and a host of other places. His blog Cry It Out was touted by Disney's Babble.com in 2011 as "The best daddy blog in cyberspace."
His book is really great-- it features over 30 Do It Yourself, build it with your kids projects of all stripes, sizes, and levels of difficulties. From making goo slime in your kitchen to popsicle stick bridges in the kids room to a rope swing or a fruit crate scooter for outdoors - this book really does have a variety of projects to try.
The projects are divided into how long it will take to do something. There are three basic categories-- Afternoon crafts, Weekend Projects, and School-Break projects.
While some of them seem a little bit beyond my technical abilities or interest (or my kids- at 4.5, we are not going to build a bike jump ramp anytime soon) And while he has a backyard swingset on the list, since we have 4 parks within walking distance, and live in a pretty urban environment, I think we will probably pass. But there's still plenty for us to do.One of the great things about the book. is that the projects are very well designed and well-explained. Each project has a materials list, a step by step, some intermittent check-in photos to reference when you are afraid you did something wrong, and even some extra tips.
With most of these projects the fun is in doing it with your kids, and Adamick has embodied this in his text. As long as you are doing it with your kid(s), there's not too much you can actually screw up. (And if your bird-house is not quite level, so be it!)
My son and I can't wait to try some of these projects!
**A version of this blog entry is also cross-posted on Adam's Blog, DADAPALOOZA**
Adam Gertsacov is an actor, clown, director, and fulltime dad. He wears a lot of hats, including those
of a flea circus impresario, a PT Barnum impersonator, a published author, and the esteemed hat of the Clown Laureate of Greenbelt Maryland. He blogs at dadapalooza.com, clownlink.com , and now with the NYC Dads Group. He and his wife are the founders of the Digital Family Summit, a first-of-its-kind annual conference where teens, tweens and their parents connect to learn how to live as a family in the digital world. Find out more at digitalfamilysummit.com.