Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedford describes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how his What I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford's What I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kids that you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Bedford has taken his website one step further with his book, Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! The projects come in EASY, MEDIUM, TRICKY and CHALLENGING levels and really DO require Dad (or Mom) to be involved. My husband, who is very handy but not especially creative, pages through the book and declared it filled with "dust catchers." He would rather build a five-foot-tall catapult with my son.  As I read through the book and thought about the projects, Bedford's extreme creativity came through on every page. As he said, everything in his book is about the joy of creating above all else, but everything in here is also cool in one way or another, ways that are rarely traditionally what you think of when you think "craft book." Insuring that your kids nurture and carry this kind of creativity into adulthood can be approached with the same methods used to instill a love of reading in kids: read with your kids and let your kids see you reading. Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! will inspire you to CREATE with your kids and let your kids see you CREATING!

Chapter 1, Dangerous Decor includes projects like the Martian Door Decal and the Twisted Pen Caddy, above.

Chapter 2, Home Hacks, includes the Snappy Toast Rack, above (Bedford is British...) and Sitting on Eggshells, also above, which spices up a wooden chair by screwing painted wooden eggs onto the feet. Then, there is the amazing Table Leg Moon Mine, below. This project requires quite a few cardboard boxes, a black Sharpie, an X-acto knife and a hot glue gun and probably a couple of hours, but it looks like the play-potential far outweighs the time, effort and exertion. It also looks like it can be picked up and stowed away with ease. Other Home Hacks include Trashy Lights, which involved wrapping white fairy lights in colored tissue paper and arranging the string artfully inside a wire trash can. You really have to see this one to appreciate it...

Chapter 3 is titled, Suspect Science and includes the very cool looking Spaghetti and Marshmallow Eiffel Tower, below, which I think my son and I just might try. The illustration also gives you a good idea of the blueprint-style presentation that Bedford uses when illustrating his book. There is the Slingshot Car Launcher and the Rubber Band Rocket Car as well as the very fun looking Extreme Car Ramp, which any kid and dad will love.

Chapter 4 is titled Geeky Gadgets and includes a Ratapult, which calls to mind something from the Muppet Show and uses a ruler, a cardboard box, popsicle sticks, some very strong glue and cool illustrations to create this device. The Remote Release Zip Line is rated EASY and also looks like a really fun way to make use of all those little plastic figurines littering your house. Chapter 5 is Covert Creations featuring a Reversible Castle and a Snail Soup Decoy while Chapter 6 is titled Arty Party and shows you how to make a Bee Swarm Chandelier and the 3-D Snakes and Ladders game, seen on the right, another project I'd like to have a go at. Finally, the Playful Parenting Chapter shows dads and kids how to make Mommy Rewards, below, along with a Spider Surprise Card, a Jelly Bean Reward Rocket, also below, and an "I Love You This Much" Card which are all pretty nifty and sure to put a smile on the recipient's face.

Source: Review Copy

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