Boing Boing 

Unbored – A zillion ways for kids to keep busy and engage with life

I’m always amazed when one of my daughter’s friends comes to me and says she’s bored. As if I’m supposed to put on a pair of tap shoes and dance a jig for her. My daughter knows better than to say the B-word, but I can always tell when she’s at a loss for something to do by the way she lies limply across the arm of the couch, her head dangling towards the floor, her voice depleted of emotion. Next time this happens I will suggest Unbored (which, when she picked it up for the first time yesterday, didn’t put it down for almost an hour).

A collection of inspiring activities, projects, and articles on freeing up your creativity (by the authors as well as many other DIY experts, including an introduction by my husband Mark), Unbored offers a zillion ways to keep busy, stay engaged, and connect with the outside world. Start a band, make a zine, teach “your grown-ups” how to geocache, trick your friends into saving the planet, tell your politicians what you think, build a backyard fort, make a pet robot controller… The book is fun, instructional, edgy (create different colors of fire, take an adventurous gap year between high school and college, spray paint your bedroom walls, read banned books), and has insightful lessons on how to engage with life rather than allowing life to pass by like a boring television commercial. And as a parent, it’s nice to be reminded not to fall into the trap of smothering helicopter parenting, passive parenting (screens!), over-scheduled parenting, and all the other pitfalls of modern life that turn our kids into lethargic, helpless, unthinking slugs. Unbored belongs in every kid’s – and parent’s – library.

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Geometry Dash: jump, fly and flip your way through dangerous passages

This episode of Apps for Kids is brought to you by Shoparoo – start earning for your school today.

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How to Be a Math Genius - Illustrated examples to show your kid the power, beauty, and joy of math

I enjoyed learning about statistics, probability, zero, infinity, number sequences, and more in this heavily illustrated kids’ book called How to Be a Math Genius, by Mike Goldsmith. But would my 11-year daughter like it as much? I handed it to her after school and she become absorbed in it until called for dinner. She took it to the dinner table and read it while we ate. The next day, she asked for the book so she could finish it. Loaded with fun exercises (like cutting a hole through a sheet of paper so you can walk through it), How to Be a Math Genius will show kids (and adults) that math is often complicated, but doesn’t need to be boring. (This book is part of DK Children’s How to Be a Genius series. See my review of How to Be a Genius.)

See sample interior pages at Wink.

Giant Bubbles - let me show you how to make them

Jane and I made this tutorial to show you how to easily make Giant Bubbles. We're going to run a free live video workshop with a dozen other fun grown-up-and-kid projects on August 4 and 5. You can RSVP for the workshop at CreativeLive. (If you live in the SF bay area and want to be an in-studio participant, apply here.)

Make your weekends more awesome with activities you and your kids can get their hands on. Join Make Magazine editor-in-chief Mark Frauenfelder — and his daughter Jane — for a class on cool, simple projects you can do with your kids.

In DIY Projects for Dads to Do with Kids, you’ll get the blueprints you need to complete projects with the whole family. You’ll learn how to whip up a mixture that makes enormous bubbles, and how to get started with polymer clay — a medium you can use to create custom toys, shapes, and figurines. You’ll engage in a little trial and error learning by creating your own simple board and dice games. You’ll also learn the more advanced magic of constructing a Drawbot – a simple robot that can make abstract art all by itself.

This course will have even your most reluctant kid excited to get their hands dirty and experimenting, making, and creating, together.

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Make a PiGRRL - Raspberry Pi Gameboy

From our friends at adafruit: "Celebrate the 20th anniversary of that classic gaming device by building your own with 3D printing and DIY electronics from adafruit. The 3D printed enclosure (files here) will house all the components and you can print it in your favorite color. Find out how to assemble and program this project by checking out the guide on the adafruit learning system.

A better version of Werewolf

The original game of Werewolf, also known as Mafia, is a party game of bluffing, paranoia, and wild accusations invented (appropriately enough) in Soviet Russia in the 1980s. It pits a small number of Werewolves (who know each others’ identities) against a larger group of Villagers who have no information; the Werewolves select a Villager to kill each “night” (while everyone’s eyes are closed), and the entire group votes on a player to lynch as a werewolf each “day” until one team or the other prevails. Jon Seagull reviews a much-improved version.

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Free live video course with Mark on making for parents and kids

mark-jane

Sign up for my free 2-day video course on making cool stuff with your kids.

Make your weekends more awesome with activities you and your kids can get their hands on. Join Make Magazine founding editor-in-chief Mark Frauenfelder — and his daughter Jane — for a class on cool, simple projects you can do with your kids.

In DIY Projects for Dads to Do with Kids, you’ll get the blueprints you need to complete projects with the whole family. You’ll learn how to whip up a mixture that makes enormous bubbles, and how to get started with polymer clay — a medium you can use to create custom toys, shapes, and figurines. You’ll engage in a little trial and error learning by creating your own simple board and dice games. You’ll also learn the more advanced magic of constructing a Drawbot – a simple robot that can make abstract art all by itself.

This course will have even your most reluctant kid excited to get their hands dirty and experimenting, making, and creating, together.

If you have a kid and would like to be an in-studio participant sign up here.

Apps for Kids 057: Mega Dead Pixel

Mega Dead Pixel is an endless runner game where you have to avoid colliding with retro-shaped obstacles while collecting coins and special pixels. This episode is brought to you by Care.com, offering any type of care your family needs. As an Apps for Kids listener, you can save 25% when you become a Premium Member.

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7 fun toilet paper tube tricks

Seven tricks you can do with empty rolls of toilet paper, written by the late Martin Gardner.

5. A Mysterious Force: Two tubes are alongside each other on a table. Rub your hands vigorously together to generate a psychic force. Place your hands palms down fingers pointing toward the tubes. Lower your head slightly. Move your hands slowly away from the tubes, and at the same time secretly blow on them. They will roll toward your hands as if drawn by a mysterious attractive force. You'll be suprised at how many people will be totally mystified by this simple trick.

7 fun toilet paper tube tricks (Via Reality Carnival)

Printeer - a 3D printer for kids


Printeer is a kids 3D printer that runs on an iPad and "doesn't require any intermediate steps between design and 3D printing." This is a good idea because 3D printer software is still clunky and finicky.

Father's Day: A Bear for Punishment

In honor of Father's Day, here's one of the great, classic animation celebrations of the pater familias: Warner Bros' Three Bears celebrate in "A Bear for Punishment."

Giant bubble fun


It's great to see people making the projects in my book, Maker Dad! Thomas Beckett and his daughter did the giant bubbles project and posted this photo to Twitter.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue - a game of high-stakes trade-offs

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a co-operative game about firefighting for 1-6 players. Both its difficulty and its complexity are hugely adjustable, such that it’s suitable for anyone from families with elementary-age children to groups of adult gamers. Where Escape: Curse of the Temple is frantic and breathless, Flash Point is deliberate and tense. Jon Seagull reviews.

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Recess Monkey's "Wired" video

[Video Link] I love this power-pop ditty from Recess Monkey. It's called "Wired," which is also the name of their new album.

Inspired by the breathtaking creativity and inventiveness of today’s DIY kids, kindie music icon Recess Monkey celebrates maker culture with the band’s eleventh studio recording, Wired, which will be released on June 17.

Wired, a collection of super-eclectic “gadget rock” songs about inventions, machines, and electricity, also highlights the richness of life beyond batteries: Grandpa’s wisdom, board games, singing with others, storytelling, and the fine art of duct tape.

Says Recess Monkey’s Drew Holloway, “Wired is all about design-thinking and innovation. We live in a ‘wired world’ with so much at our fingertips, yet it’s easy to lose touch … but not on this record!”

How to make squash soup [a recipe for kids]

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(click image to embiggen) This wonderfully cute yet sophisticated cookbook for children reminds me of when I took my picky 3-year-old to Paris. She lived on bread and butter for a week while I noticed with astonishment that the French children ate whatever exotic dish was put in front of them. American “kid menus” of white mac and cheese and white buttery pasta trains children to fear food that has any real taste or texture to it. The antidote to this is Big Meals for Little Hands, filled with recipes created by French Michelin chef Sébastien Guénard. The book, which has a slick waterproof cover, is divided into seasons, offering dishes such as cold cucumber soup in the summer, a mushroom omelette in the fall, banana fondue in the winter, and deviled eggs in the spring. While these recipes would work beautifully at any adult party, they are also simple, fun, slightly exotic, and will expand your child’s palate beyond chicken nuggets and cheese pizza. (See more pages from this book at Wink.)

Apps for Kids 056: Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island is a board game (and iOS game) where you and the other players work together to collect treasure from a rapidly sinking island.

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12-hour Brady Bunch "Alice" marathon airs Saturday

TV Land's “Celebrate Alice” marathon airs Saturday, June 7th, 6am-6pm ET/PT.

aliceJoin TV Land this Saturday, June 7th, in celebrating Ann B. Davis, who played lovable housekeeper and friend Alice on “The Brady Bunch.” Alice was an essential member of the Brady home -- shown by the fact that she was the center square in the title sequence!

The marathon features some of the most memorable moments with Alice and the Brady family – like when the house turns chaotic after Alice sprains her ankle; the time Alice decides to leave and the kids try to win her back; and when Alice’s cousin Emma (played by Davis) fills in while Alice is on vacation and ends up driving the Bradys insane! There’s no question that Alice is one of the most devoted and beloved housekeepers in TV Land.

What to expect when you make things with your kids


Lisa Butterworth of Etsy interviewed me about my new book, Maker Dad.

As a dad who’s done these projects with your daughters, what would you tell other dads about what they might get out of making things with their kids based on your own experience?

One thing I think they’ll get is patience. It’s going to take a lot longer to do a project than if you just take over and do it yourself. You have to hand the tools over to the kids and realize that they’re going to make cuts that aren’t straight, drill holes in the wrong places, be sloppier with the paint than you might be, but that’s just part of learning. You’re also going to learn that they want to try, they have their own ideas about how things should look that might not match yours. But that’s a good thing, I think, and it’s going to also teach kids compromise and bargaining. You get the whole operation.

What are diodes? [video]

[Video Link] Amanda Wozniak hosts the latest Circuit Playground video, which is about the diode, a common and useful electronic component.

The videos are based on the A-Z coloring book that Adafruit Industries published last year. So far, they've released 3 episodes: A is for Ampere, B is for Battery, and the latest, C is for Capacitor.

Maker Dad's projects for kids and parents

[Video Link] Here are a few of the 24 projects in my brand new book, Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects.

Moonlight Corn-Hole

The city of Cincinnati has brought the world a remarkable collection of wonders. Carmen Electra. Cincinnati chili. Jerry Springer. The Filet O’ Fish sandwich. And perhaps most notably, the game called Corn-Hole. William Gurstelle shows you how to do it in the dark.

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Easy drawbot how-to

[Video Link] Sean Michael Ragan and Mikal Hart of MAKE built this nifty gadget that draws Etch-a-Sketch style pictures with two servomotors.

Funny videos for new Toca Town app

Here are a couple of videos [one | two] that poke fun at parents who get irritated with activities that make kids happy, like making rude noises with a ketchup bottle and having a pillow fight. It's to promote Toca Boca's newest app for kids, Toca Town.

Escape: The Curse of the Temple (game review)

Jon Seagull reviews a board game in which players must team up in a race against time to escape a cursed temple, grabbing as much treasure as they can along the way.

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Maker Dad presentation at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014

[Video Link] Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 was a blast. On Saturday I interviewed author and biohacker Tim Ferriss, and on Saturday my daughter Jane and I demonstrated some of the projects we built that are in my book, Maker Dad (get a copy of the book here). Above, the video of our talk, which lasts about 25 minutes. We show the Ice Cream Sandwich Necklace, a cool card trick, mind-boggling non-transitive dice, a drawbot, and more.

Zombie Dice expansion pack: the hunk, the hottie, and Santa

zombie-expansionMy family and I have been continuing to enjoy Zombie Dice, a "press your luck" game in which you play a zombie who wants to eat as many human brains as possible without getting shot in the head. We recently picked up the expansion pack, called Zombie Dice 2 Double Feature, which adds good complexity to the game.

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Sounds of the Friendstrument

[Video Link] Here's the circuit that started out as a lie detector but turned out to be more fun as a way to turn your friend into a music instrument. It can be packaged in a bracelet or other small container.

Here are step-by-step instructions for making a Friendstrument, which is featured in my new book Maker Dad.

Mark's online Arduino and intro to making classes

Skillshare is a online learning community that costs $10 a month. Subscribers get access to hundreds of video classes on a wide variety of topics. I have two classes on Skillshare that were released today. One is called Introduction to Arduino: Creating Interactive Projects, and the other is called Introduction to DIY: Becoming a Maker. I'm excited to have discussions with the folks who take my classes!

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Maker Dad: DIY projects for grownups and kids

maker-dad-cover-300[Video Link] My new book came out today. It's called Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects.

The books is focused on teaching girls lifelong skills -- like computer programming, musicality, and how to use basic hand tools -- as well as how to be creative problem solvers. The book’s twenty-four projects include:

• Drawbot, a lively contraption that draws abstract patterns all by itself
• Ice Cream Sandwich Necklace
• Longboard
• Antigravity Jar
• Silkscreened T-Shirt
• Retro Arcade Video Game
• Host a Podcast
• Lunchbox Guitar
• Kite Video Camera

Above, a video about the Friendstrument, an electronic musical instrument girls can play with friends. Tomorrow, I'll run the complete step-by-step instructions for building it here on Boing Boing. If you can't wait that long, you may purchase the entire Maker Dad book with all 24 projects as a Kindle ebook right now for $5.99.

Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects

(Thanks to Eric Mittleman for directing and editing the video!)

Fun video series teaches electronics to kids

Circuit Playground is a cute and informative video series created to teach kids (and everyone else) about electronics. The videos are based on the A-Z coloring book that Adafruit Industries published last year. So far, they've released 3 episodes: A is for Ampere, B is for Battery, and the latest, C is for Capacitor. I learned quite a bit by watching them.