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Geek Dad book giveaway

Geek Dad book giveaway


Gotham Books has generously given us three copies of Ken Denmead’s wonderful Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share. We think this is a perfect giveaway for our MAKEcation theme.

To be eligible, all you have to do is tell us what geeky projects you’re doing with your kids this summer, or what projects you’d like to do with them. Brownie points for sharing pics in the MAKE Flickr pool. It won’t impact the drawing, but we might use them in a follow-up post here on the site.

The entry deadline is Wednesday, August 25, midnight PDT. Winners will be announced on Thursday morning. Good luck!

Update: And the winners are:

Andy Johnson

Congrats! Please email me your mailing addresses and I’ll have the books sent to you.

Geek Dad book site


52 thoughts on “Geek Dad book giveaway

  1. CircuitGizmo says:

    My son and I made a mini laser light show with a laser pointer, two motors, and two small round mirrors mounted on the motor.

  2. TheOneEyedMan says:

    Hoping to teach my kid Baby Sign Language.

  3. Andy Johnson says:

    I’ve created a technology blog detailing the projects I do with my son, a very precocious three year old. We made the air compressor rocket, but his attention focuses on hoarding the paper spacecraft, and not letting me launch them. I have to make extra just so he has one for each hand. “Dylan… let Daddy shoot that off…” “NOOO!”


    P.S. Dylan loves Weekend Projects. Everytime he hears the intro music on my laptop he drops his legos and comes running. That kid is going to be a bigger nerd than his daddy… he beat me and my wife at a tabletop wargame at age 3…

  4. mensreaj says:

    How fun, and coincidental. Today my boys and I are going to (attempt to) find the height of our stairs by way of the Pythagorean theorem. One holder, one writer, and 3 gueestimations at “b2” and we’ll be golden.

    We’ve gone through most of the cheap experiments in library books this summer; the baloon/straw races were a big hit, as was the venerable vinegar+baking soda=co2 volcano.

  5. shannon says:

    This weekend we are having a big Space themed sleepover for my son’s birthday party. We’ve put glow in the dark stars on the ceiling, hung painted foam ball “planets” & laid out cushy chunks of foam in the living room for the “moon” sleeping area. Theyll check out the stars with our big telescope, and later will be watching Clone Wars cartoon (per my sons request). I packed up little jars of slime, glow stars & finger puppet aliens in the goody bags. And for dinner… Spaghetti Aliens!! (sticks of uncooked spaghetti threaded thru thick slices of cheese sauce. after they are boiled they look like crazy wiggly aliens!) with Moon pies for dessert! I cant wait!!

  6. Scott says:

    We’ve studied a whole bunch of different ways to represent the alphabet – morse code, semaphore, tap code, simple A=1 B=2 ciphers, ASCII, Braille, the military phonetic alphabet, sign language. We noticed that there are ways to communicate by sight, by sound, and by touch, but nothing dependable for taste or smell (even if Rowan Atkinson can do it in that Dr. Who spoof). So next we’ll talk about combinations and how many different characters you could represent by combining bitter, salty, sour, and sweet, and if we’ll need to add savory to make the full 26-letter alphabet, or if there’s a reliable way to differentiate between ‘not salty’, ‘a little salty’, and ‘very salty’ and therefore have a tri-state system. I predict we’ll go through a lot of lemons, chocolate, and pretzels in the next few months…

  7. says:

    Well I had written a comment already once but it doesn’t show so I will repost.

    I have two daughters, 5 and 3.
    We started out the summer with a stomp rocket out of PVC and 3 Liter bottle, and quickly moved onto the Compressed Air Rocket. This seems to take up most weekends as we build rockets and destroy them as the impact.

    Another fun project was the Oobleck, I made 1 gallon bucket of the stuff to play with, and also filmed some of it. It was great to see the girls reactions with this stuff.

    Other stuff we have tried: Potato LED, Electro Magnet, LED powered by coin battery.

    Projects still to try:

    Moldrite for Lego Ice cubes, crayons and chalk.
    RFID toy chest (not sure on what or how, so the sparkfun tutorial for their car and wanted to do something on a kids level.
    Lemon Battery.
    Add altimeter to the rockets/

    You can check out the adventures over @

  8. RapidEye says:

    I’ve got a couple of telescopes and have bringing my 10yr old daughter with me to star parties since she was 4.

    I bought a couple of the IYA Galileoscopes last year and I gave one to her. Her and I put it together and used it to go view the moon, and Jupiter.

    Great telescope at a steal of a price!!!

  9. jdonmoyer says:

    Unfortunately, my twin sons are a bit young to take on any major projects (18 months), but I can’t wait until they’re older to tackle and appreciate some of the projects in this book. This summer, I’ve been taking every opportunity to get them excited by the simple things that you can do with light, sound and fluids. Shadows and reflection, displacement and ways of eliciting tones out of different objects with different fillings are all things that many of us take for granted, but most likely played a role in us becoming “makers” today and I hope it instills the same sense of wonder and curiosity in my sons that it did for me many years ago.

  10. Vorple says:

    I’d like to build a triton submarine themed club house.

  11. Upir says:

    Me and both my boys will be building a trebuchet. When they both have one built, were gonna see who’s can shoot furthest. :D

  12. Deeg says:

    I don’t have kids of my own but does being an uncle count? This summer I made a cotton-candy machine with my nieces and we’ve made liquid nitrogen ice cream (along with the requisite physics lesson on super cold liquids). We hope to make small hot-air balloons using balsa wood and dry-cleaning bags.

  13. soldeerridder says:

    On the birthday party of my son the kids made lighthouses out of pvc pipe, film boxes and leds. It was a very fun party the kids loved it.

  14. GeekMom says:

    We’ve made several fun 8 year old-friendly projects this summer. LEGOs are huge fun, and we enjoy going to the LEGO website and finding plans to build Star Wars ships using our existing LEGOS (and plenty of creativity when we need to substitute for parts we don’t have). We also built a secret spy code wheel out of paper (using tons of math – don’t tell our 8 year old), and are currently working on a ‘cigar box violin’. We’re also designing various small, floating water crafts made from recyclable plastic water bottles. We hope to power them with some sort of hydraulic mechanism, too.

  15. says:

    We are preparing for a windy autumn. My girls like kiting and we are working on a rig for aereal photography.
    We are also planning to go for a trip and attend the international kite festival in Dieppe (France) in September.
    If we get it all to work, we will then make bird’s view pictures of our village.

  16. Wendy says:

    we’ve made light sabers, taken apart a telescope and make all kinds of new things, and COUNTLESS lego masterpeices! We’d love to have new projects to make!

  17. Oddity says:

    I don’t know that we have geek projects so much as “geek life”. So far this summer we’ve caught a meteor shower and explored Yellowstone (both from a beauty and science perspective). I taught my oldest to use a compass then explained how the magnifying glass on the compass could be used to start a fire. I taught my wife to solder and explained how the switch works on the trimmer so that next time it breaks, she can fix it. I hacked my sump pump outlet to provide a “hose” near the house to water the yard/gardens, which amazed my youngest (4) and prompted a whole discussion on “hacking” things to make them better. He is getting ready to start the hydroponics setup with me again (fresh lettuce, and this time we’re going to try tomatoes and peppers). I’m currently looking for a couple of battlebot kits for the family to put together for Christmas, though looking at Ken’s demolition car with Lego video, that might be just as much fun. I suppose the only “project” I want to do with the kids is build a fly a sky lantern, as I remember doing this in school (but for some reason they won’t let them launch them in the gym anymore :-D) I suppose if I paid more attention, wrote things down, actually had a “plan” sometimes these would be “projects”. Really we’re just having fun.

  18. kendrickgoss says:

    My daughter and I isolated DNA from split peas with household products in about 20 minutes. I have a few photos and links here:

    She said it was Gross and Fun. And, even as a grown up, I think there could be no higher compliment than Gross and Fun.

    Electrophoesis of the DNA using melted gummi bears did not work out so well. But I keep you posted. . .

  19. jshakespear says:

    A few weeks ago, my 5-year-old, using crayons, drew up a plan for a water filtration system that he thought up all on his own. I honestly have no idea where he came up with the idea. I was so impressed by his creativity that I plan on working with him to make this plan a reality.

    I could easily tell him what will and won’t work and build the perfect system the first time, but plan to make it a learning experience. By learning from the different modifications and enhancements, he’ll not only gain a better understanding of how it all works, he’ll feel the satisfaction of taking something from an idea to a tangible, usable ‘invention’.

    Photos and write-up to follow…

  20. TimD says:

    We’ve played with dry-ice, electronics, and built things from wood.

    Would love to have this book for my lovely daughter and I to share more projects and time together.

    Thanks :-)

  21. says:

    We had some visitors over for the birth of our 2,5 year old daughter’s new little brother. Completely hyper, she ran around the house showing off stuff.
    And then she received a bubble blower and a kaleidoscope…
    The bubble fluid didn’t last long, luckily the kaleidoscope was a big hit.

    We’re now trying to figure out how to make the best bubbles; “with soap from the bathtub, daddy!” (or some water, detergent, glycerine and honey) – still haven’t found the magic numbers thouh.
    Next up is hacking the kaleidoscope.

    I’d love some inspiration!


  22. Woody says:

    We’ve been working on a number of fun projects this summer. Daughter #2 is making lots of things with duct tape (I’m using a wallet she made, but the really cool stuff includes flip-flops and a dress), and I’ve been working on an old-school orrery. Our family project was to make and decorate a rain barrel for our garden. And we’re currently collecting pieces for a cigar box guitar.

    Geek Dads Rule!

  23. mike says:

    The other weekend I built a bat house with my daughter (4 in november)

    It was a great and fun experience that we still both talk about.
    I got her, her very own safety goggles, and tool kit. She learned about power tool safety, and even got to use the power drill.

    I had pre-drilled all the holes and my favorite moment was when she figured out how to hammer in the nails properly. Her first few nails would never move but then she got the hang of it and was hammering without a problem. I was so proud.

    We even painted it and hung it up in the back yard.

  24. joeytheboxman says:

    my son and i are designing a remote camera to attach onto a model rocket which will blast off above our neighborhood for some (hopefully) fantastic areal footage.

  25. Aaron says:

    My 5 year old boy wants to be Aang the avatar for Halloween, so we are both working together to make light-up arrows for his head and arms. We also made the LED windchimes from MAKE: issue 17. It would be great to have more ideas that we could do together.

  26. scootr76 says:

    My son and I (wife not to happy about this) are trying to spruce up the house for Halloween this year. Looking into automating the entire house as well as interactive, yet scary decorations for the front yard. Have found some great ideas from Make and Instructables. Going for the Mad Scientists look overall. Any ideas?

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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