In anticipation of Father’s Day (this weekend!) we’re offering this review of Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun. We think the book is, well, fun, and we think you’ll agree. And as an added bonus, we’re giving MAKE readers a free, downloadable PDF of one of the book’s projects, the really fun NERF Dart Blowgun. Enjoy!
Ken Denmead is Wired‘s resident Geek Dad and his second book of geeky projects is a wacky, fun, and inspirational collection. From making a NERF Dart Blowgun or a Trebuchet out of LEGO, to building robots from scratch or making stop motion movies, there’s a wide range of projects to appeal to kids of all ages.
The projects range from simple to moderately complex, and many involve recycling, reusing, and hacking things you’ll already have around the house. Most can be completed on a weekend afternoon, so if you’re looking for some quick and educational activities, there is plenty in here to thrill your kids, as well as the kid in you.
Denmead rightfully points out that kids will often be put off by a project that their parents think is “cool,” but even the most jaded teenager won’t be able to avoid having some fun with these original and quirky ideas. Our 15-year-old had a blast building and playing the “Alien Drums” and the Lego Trebuchet turned out to be a great bonding project for him to do with our younger son.
Each project includes enough detailed instruction for the most novice makers, and helpful indicators for approximate cost, difficulty level, duration, reusability, and a list of the tools and materials needed. Many of the projects also include suggestions for ways to extend, hack, and tweak the original design.
Besides Ken’s inspired activities, there’s also contributions here from famous Geek Dad emeritus Chris Anderson and other guest authors like Rod Roddenberry, keeper of the Star Trek flame.
Bio: Bruce Stewart is a technology writer and contributor on radar.oreilly.com.