Father’s Day Book Ideas for the Tinkering Dad
With Jake more or less finished with classes for the summer, he has been highly motivated to get working on some projects he’s been mulling over for the past several months. This past week around our house has been full of cardboard, cutting, magnets, and stencils. While the outcome of the project is still not finished, he’s well on his way to creating a super geeky, but very creative cover for our bookshelf that will double as a magic square math game (I know, I can’t even describe it. I’ll share a picture here when it’s finished).
If you have a husband who likes to create, invent, or tinker, then perhaps the perfect Father’s Day gift would be one of the following books. Jake has read them all, and has whipped up a review to help you decide which one is best for your dad or husband for Father’s Day!
explosion of making and the mainstreaming of geekdom, or perhaps just the beginnings of the
replacement of the mainstream with the multi-stream (or the long-tail/niche market getting thicker). The first three
books I’m reviewing are from WIRED’s Geek parent bloggers and the last from another maker
blogger. There is also The Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists in the
series that I am not reviewing.
out Made by Dad. If your library system doesn’t have it, encourage them to
purchase it. I think this type of book is best shared among a large group,
though it would take one family plenty of time to get through all the projects
in any of these books.
wasn’t geeky enough to care about his distinctions among nerd, dweeb, etc., so I
flipped past to the bullet points. Essentially, he claims geeks are curious,
imaginative, experimental, and creative. If those adjective describe you, even
if you don’t self-identify as a geek (or nerd, etc) and you spend time with
kids, like myself, you might want to check out some of these.
They present a large variety of projects ranging
from Electronic Origami to Slip N Slides to Hydroponics. Each project is
labelled for cost, difficulty, time, and reusability with an appendix at the
back charting all projects. Each also lists the materials and tools needed.
innovate and use the featured projects as springboards, not recipes. I plan to work
through a few of the lower costs ones, though I really also want to try the
helium balloon camera project.
labeling system, also with appendix. It features new projects with a similar
diversity of genres. The projects feature more guest writers, including the
four authors of Geek Mom, discussed below. This edition also adds a couple of
non-project articles, such as The Care and Feeding of Young Geeklings and Going
force their “cool” hobbies/projects onto their kids, but instead to just put it
out there and see if they’ll get interested, like the Invitation to Play strategy. Denmead explains hacking in the DIY/DIT culture as repurposing and
“adding creativity on top of creativity,” a phrase I really like.
drops the reusability label, adds age, and has no
appendix. It packs in a lot more images, more color, more non-project
articles like “Organizing a Home Learning Center” and “Girls and Science,” as
well as a “Meet the Moms” page giving the bios of the authors up front. And the
text is purple, literally (not to be confused with purple prose, which I don’t think it suffers from). It
has the wide variety of projects one would expect after seeing the previous
books, but clearly has a feminine bent.
boys and 3 girls. In Geek Mom, 27 boys and 23 girls, not counting illustrations
seeming to be adult, which of course represent predominately moms. My major
critique of this series is the strange assumption that dads do projects with
sons and moms do projects with daughters. This is not absolute but the vibe is
definitely present. If you want to push the gendering envelope away from
tradition, you’ll have to do it yourself, this series isn’t going to go very
far for you.
may want to check out geek mom as well.
by Scott Bedford is exactly what the subtitle expresses. Compared to the
previous books’ projects, these are predominately smaller scale, heavily
cardboard based and household item sort of ideas, with a particularly heavy
focus on decoration-type projects. The book has lots of projects with great
illustrations and templates. Each project lists the materials needed and the only
label is difficulty level. Bedford reminds the reader that the “fun is in the making” not just the product. The other
distinction of this book from the others is the author focuses on projects
parents make “for (and with)” their children. I think the parenthetical “with”
gives a good hint that the kids won’t necessarily be creating alongside for all
these projects. Given my love for cardboard projects, I’m going to give a few
of these a try. I think the kids would love the Bunk Bed Communicator.