As the founder and director of a makerspace for kids, I’m always on the lookout for fun and inexpensive projects. A few months ago, I hit upon a treasure trove when I stumbled on SonicDad.com. SonicDad is a website founded by three friends — Abe Shreve, Jake Hoopes, and Ritchie Kinmont — that is chock-full of tried and proven projects. While SonicDad is about the cool projects, it’s just as much about building relationships as people building things together. This comes from their personal experiences making with their own kids, who range in age from 10-months-old to college aged.
The videos and PDF directions are downloadable for a small fee. Out of the 60 available projects, 12 are completely free. SonicDad has even added a new Super Sonic category for more advanced projects. The videos have a high production value and their printed and online documentation are all very well written. While their business has taken about four years to grow, they’re now a well-established business with hundreds of thousands of projects downloaded and over 100,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel.
The project I worked on with a group of kids was the Flying Popsicle Stick Helicopter: Project #35. I love all kinds of flying stuff, and the simplicity of this stick helicopter is fantastic. With the PDF directions, printable templates, and step-by-step video, the build was doable for kids of all abilities. I appreciated the easy-to-find supplies: a small dowel, big craft sticks, and a sewing bobbin. The kids had to measure the parts correctly and make sure they installed the blades in the right direction. Using a glue gun, there was no waiting time and we were able to go right out to the field for testing!
The SonicDad dads have been fans of Make: magazine for some time. As a thank you for the inspiration Make: has provided them, they wanted to give back by offering a 20% discount on an annual membership. Sounds like the perfect gift for Father’s Day!