Boing Boing 

How to make squash soup [a recipe for kids]

squash-soup
(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.

Cleopatra in Space: trailer for kids' graphic novel

[Video Link] I'm a big fan of Mike Maihack's artwork, and he's got a new graphic novel called Cleopatra in Space. It's published by Scholastic. My 11-year-old daughter, Jane, enjoyed it.

cisWhen a young Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, REALLY far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian. She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo's style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, while trying to figure out how she's going to get her homework done, make friends, and avoid detention!

Cleopatra in Space

App to make your own platform games

[Video Link] I haven't tried Pixel Press Floors yet, but I like the idea that you design the game using pencil and paper! I'm going to ask my 11-year-old daughter to check it out and report back.

Pixel Press Floors for the iPad lets you create games with platforms, coins and ladders. Once you’ve mastered the basic creator elements – try enemies, spikes, lava pits, powerups & more.

Zombie Dice: eat brains, avoid shotguns

Zombies aren't known for their critical thinking skills, but in Zombie Dice, a fast-paced, risk-vs-reward dice-rolling game designed by Steve Jackson, you play a zombie who must balance its desire for human brains with its fear of getting blasted to necrotic bits by a shotgun.

The game comes with 13 specially marked dice. The dice have three kinds of markings: brains, shotgun blasts, and footprints. (Green dice have more brains, red dice have more shotgun blasts, yellow dice are in-between).

The rules are simple: two or more people can play. Everyone is a zombie. The dice represent humans. When it's your turn, pull three dice from the cardboard cup (without looking) and roll them. Set any brains to one side. Set any shotgun blasts to the other side. Footprints mean the human got away - keep those in front of you. Do you want to roll again? No problem. Just re-roll the footprints dice along with enough fresh dice from the cup so that you roll three dice. You can roll as many times as you like in an effort to eats lots of brains in your turn (my record is 11 juicy brains in one turn), but if you end up accumulating three shotgun blasts, you lose all your brain points for that turn and the next player-zombie gets its turn. When one player gets 13 points, play continues until the round is finished and whoever has the most points wins.

Here's a sample turn:

Colorful keyboard how-to

The process shots for Chica and Joe's colorful keyboard how-to are like photos from a candy factory.

DIY Colorful Computer Keyboard

77 fun ways to play fast-moving Tenzi dice game

A couple of weeks ago my friend Kent Barnes recommended a simple, fast-moving dice game called Tenzi. I bought it and my wife, 11-year-old daughter, and I had fun playing it. The rules are simple - everyone starts out with 10 dice and the goal is to roll your dice as fast as you can until all of them show the same number. Every time you roll, you are allowed to set aside any dice that match your desired number. When all ten of the dice show the same number, you shout "Tenzi!," throw your hands in the air, and gloat while the other players gnash their teeth. The game rules included a couple of variations on the basic rule set, which we also played and liked.

A few days later Kent told me about a $10 deck of cards called 77 Ways to Play Tenzi. I ordered the deck and last night my wife, 11-year-old, 16-year-old daughter (who doesn't like games and joined us reluctantly), and I tested the deck out. Ninety minutes later we decided that this deck takes Tenzi to a new level. The deck adds variety, surprise, and humor to Tenzi. It makes Tenzi so much more fun that I think the company shouldn't sell the dice without the cards. My 16-year-old daughter was surprised that she had such a good time.

77 Ways to Play Tenzi | Buy Tenzi cards and dice as a set See example cards

Kandu: kids' app development program on iPad

[Video Link] Kandu is an iPad based app for kids that lets you make apps and games. Here's co-founder David Bennahum demonstrating it at New York Tech Meetup earlier this month.

There are more ways to arrange a deck of cards than atoms on Earth

[Video Link]There are roughly 80,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 unique ways to order 52 playing cards. “Any time you pick up a well shuffled deck, you are almost certainly holding an arrangement of cards that has never before existed and might not exist again.” (Via Adafruit Industries)

Tenzi: fast dice game with simple rules

My friend, Kent Barnes, told me about Tenzi, a simple dice game. The object of the game is to end up with all of your dice showing the same number.

Here's how to play: Each player gets 10 dice. When one of the players says "go!" everyone rolls their dice. After the first roll, you set the dice with the most matches, and roll the remaining dice to try to match the ones you've set aside. You don't take turns; you just roll as quickly as you can. It usually takes less than a minute for someone to win. It seems idiotically simple. It's more fun than it sounds.

We play a variation: the winner of the previous round gets to choose the point number (between 1 and 6), and everyone has to try to match their dice to that number.

Tenzi $14

Arduino for Beginners, by John Baichtal

John Baichtal is a contributor to MAKE online, and is good at explaining complex things to newbies. He's put this talent to use in his new book, Arduino for Beginners, which assumes nothing from the reader except for a willingness to learn. (Arduino is a inexpensive electronic prototyping platform.)

The Arduino projects in the book are presented in full color: a laser/infrared trip beam to protect your home from intruders, a Bluetooth doorbell, an LED strip coffee table, a plant-watering robot, an ultrasonic cat toy, a bubble-blowing robot, and more.

The book goes far beyond teaching you how to make cool things with Arduino. His chapter on maker tools (hand tools, power tools, laser cutters, 3D printers, design software, etc.) alone is worth the price of the book.

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BB exclusive: What does it take to make the creator of Adventure Time laugh?

Here's an exclusive Blu-ray clip from 3rd season box set of Adventure Time, which went on sale this week. The Blu-ray and DVD both feature all 26 episodes from the series’ third season, as well as bonus features including episode commentaries for all 26 episodes, an interview with series creator Pendleton Ward, and an alternate show introduction. Plus, the packaging for the DVD and Blu-ray is a custom die-cut BMO slipcase, which transforms into a figurine of the beloved mini-computer.

Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season

Learn to Program with Scratch - tutorial to kids' programming language

Scratch is a free drag-and-drop programming language for kids, developed at MIT. My 10-year-old daughter Jane uses it to create puzzles, games, and interactive cartoons. In 2012 I reviewed a book called Super Scratch Programming Adventure, a comic book guide to Scratch. I recommend it.

I also recommend the new book, Learn to Program with Scratch: A Visual Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science, and Math. Like Super Scratch Programming Adventure, this book is aimed at the complete beginner, but it goes deeper, exploring powerful programming concepts that show how useful Scratch is, for kids and adults.

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Meet Sabine, a character from Star Wars Rebels who "likes to blow things up"

A fun video from the creative team making Star Wars Rebels, about Sabine, a character with a "love for blowing things up and tagging her work with graffiti."

Star Wars Rebels is scheduled to premiere in fall 2014 as a one-hour special telecast on Disney Channel and will be followed by a series on Disney XD channels around the world. I have not been a fan of Star Wars movies except for the first two, but I'm willing to give this a try.

Wonderfully weird 1961 Russian kids book about space flight

Dreams of Space is an excellent blog that focuses on a single subject: nonfiction kids books about space flight between the years 1945 and 1975. The publisher, John Sisson, recently posted scans from a 1961 Russian children's book called As We Were Flying on a Rocket. The photos are wonderful.

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Encouraging kids to complete chores by paying them with screen-time tokens

Little Mom on the Prarie made game tokens that she gives her daughter to do chores.

"I started using an alternate version of the reward system with my daughter, to balance out our struggles of getting her to help out with chores and limiting her computer/game time. I made these little "game tokens" that she can earn by doing her chores without complaining, and when we ask her to do them (not later, not in 5 minutes, now!) Each token has a different time allotment on it; 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and there is one token good for 1 hour.

It would be fun to add RFID chips to the coins so that the kid can spend the coin by passing it over a USB-RFID reader connected to the computer.

Game Tokens (Instead of Allowance) Reward System