Nothing gets my kids excited like a project with me or Mike. Just about any mundane task can be made fantastic by uttering the phrase, "You wanna help me with blank?" and using a certain breathless, high-pitched voice. They come running and will fight over who gets to unload the dishwasher/clean up the yard so Mike can mow/organize nuts and bolts in the tool chest/fold towels.
Sometimes, though, we want to come up with an actual project to work on together. Ideally it would be something we enjoy and the kids would get a kick out of, too. For me, that's relatively easy. Between the blogs, books and magazines I devour, I always have a long list of things I'd love to try with the kids. For Mike, and I imagine for a lot of dads, it's not quite so simple. He's not crafty, he's not into baking, he doesn't do nature walks . . . basically he's a guy. He's into cards and sports and video games. He majored in statistics and game theory, for Pete's sake. Where's he supposed to come up with his inspiration?
Enter the new book Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share, by Ken Denmead. You might know Ken from his work at GeekDad, part of Wired magazine's website. The book is filled with projects that cover a wide variety of interests, from gaming to the great outdoors.
We have quite a few of the projects marked to try with the kids. Mike and Elena have already played around with "Make Your Own Cartoons." Others we're psyched to try include "Best Slip 'N Slide Ever," "Video Games That Come to Life," and "Create the Ultimate Board Game."
Each project comes with a handy chart at the beginning that describes the concept, cost, difficulty, duration, reusability of the project, along with any tools & materials needed. Most of the projects are geared for kids elementary school-age and up, but I still think it would make a cool gift for a new dad. You know, give him some time to try out the projects on his own. Perfect them, if you will. Because that's what geeky dads do, and we love them for it.
I dare you to share it with your favorite dad and see if he doesn't find something that makes him say, "Hey kids, you wanna help me with blank?" And it will be something awesome and fun, as opposed to vacuuming out his truck.
Disclosure: This book was given to me for the purpose of review. The thoughts and opinions are purely my own, though.