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VINE VOICEon June 11, 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was excited to get this book, because I enjoy doing little projects around the house with my daughters. And there are some really, really neat projects in here, although most are likely best for kids at least slightly older than mine. It is clearly written, with step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow, and the author's personal notes give you context for each project.

I don't think, though, that I'll be making many of the projects in the book, mostly because I don't have the tools to do so. Looking at the helpful list of tools you'll need, there are some things I'd imagine would be in every house (hammer, pushpins, scissors) and others that might not be (30-watt soldering iron, rotary cutting tool, Surform Shaver). Investing in the tools to make everything in this book is quite a big step if you're not sure you'll be able to actually execute the plans with any degree of competence, and I can see how people who aren't skilled at using the tools could be put off by that.

If you've got a ton of tools already, though, this is a great book that will give you some good ideas on things you can make with your kids.
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VINE VOICEon March 31, 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This DIY soft cover book for dads and their daughters(although moms and boys could be involved, too!) offers a couple dozen projects ranging from science to magic to music to artistic to silly.

We have two daughters ages 7 & 10, and since I'm off on Mondays, mom takes a break, and we do Daddy-daughter day. We homeschool and always are looking for various learning activities that capture the imagination, encourage creativity and allow the children to participate wholeheartedly. This is a neat book that spells out all kinds of fun and education as well.

There's a short intro explaining the nature of making mistakes, a page for the Maker Dad Toolbox, stuff like, rat-tail file, surform shaver, pen-type soldering iron, brushes, screwdrivers, and such; however, you can pick out your project and put together your material list as needed.

He features differing degrees of difficulty(more like time involved), and gives a short talk about how the idea came to pass, a list of what's needed and a step by step guide with pictures(ours were in B&W for the advanced reading copy- not sure if they'll be in color-would be nice).

So far, the projects we've done have turned out as expected: make a antigravity jar- pretty basic magic trick requiring tape, thread, metal clip jar with lid, magnet and a pair of scissors; some woodworking tasks like making a simple "Mid-century Chair- Dad needs to do the jigsawing; make a giant bubble making wand- took a bit of work and right conditions to get it going.

These projects require, obviously, supervision, but the key, I think, is to allow the youngsters to do as much of the work as possible, which can be hard for a do-it-all dad to stand; however, it may take longer but that's more and better time spent with them.

Overall, a well laid out DIY book to entice quality fun time for parents and children together- more is needed.
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on June 20, 2014
I loved making things with my Dad in his workshop, and it wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized how special I/he was for those experiences. Now, as a young adult, it's even clearer how stronger I am as a woman for it. There is a Verizon commercial running right now about how impressionable girls are to adult's unintentional gender-normative language around hobbies, that I think is fabulous and totally related to the goals of this book. At the end it points out that 66% of 4th grade girls like science and math, but only 18% of college engineering majors are female.

I love the activities in this book, almost as much as my husband and daughter do. They had a ball with the lunchbox guitar and have their sights set next for silk-screening. This is not the first book I have bought at the beginning of summer vacation for project ideas, but it's definitely one of the best. Another I highly suggest is The Boy Electrician. My husband had it as a kid and has recreated some of the projects with out daughter.
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VINE VOICEon June 16, 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Disclosure: Not every Mom is like me. When my daughter was small, she watched me repair plumbing and install a new toilet while her Daddy vacuumed the carpet. Every parent has different skill sets, and it's just a weird coincidence that this book meshes so well with mine.

Whee! When I read this, I wished that my daughter was a kid again, so we could do all these cool projects, from a three string personalized lunchbox guitar to your own dehydrated "Astronaut" ice cream, which is even better than the expensive cubes you get at the Museum Gift Shop.

There are 24 way cool projects, and at least a few of them will mesh well with the things that interest you. The directions are so detailed and there are so many photos describing each step that if you have the slightest skill in following directions, you can do these. If you can crochet a sweater or make your own pasta, you have more than enough skill to make these projects. Don't let the electronics stuff scare you.

These projects are great for parents of any age, but your kids should be school aged (ideally pre-teen) to get the most out of the finished I mean, you can make your own silkscreened tee shirts with a three year old, but the parent will end up doing all the work, and the kid will be too young to remember.*

This book fills that niche for when your kids are too old for coloring books and some such, but too young to start learning to drive. Besides, if you make three or four of these things with your kid and her friends, you will be the coolest parent in the neighborhood, maybe even the coolest planet in town!

* = When my daughter was three, we sponge painted tee shirts with fish and glitter and made ourselves matching tee shirts for our visit to the Aquarium. The shirts came in handy; whenever one of the kids with me began to wander off, a passerby knew to return the child to me, as we were obviously together. Screen printing would have been entirely beyond my daughter's skill and interest level at that age, though. It was more of a middle school project.
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VINE VOICEon April 23, 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I love that this book is filled with fun projects for fathers and daughters to do together. And I also love that the projects aren't necessarily gender-based. There are lunchbox guitars and video games and hand tools and longboards and antigravity jars. Cool! The projects are explained quite well and I love the variety of projects that are on offer. That being said, my one big complaint is why this book had to be targeted at fathers and daughters. Why not just dads and kids? I am not a fan of gender-based marketing in anything. Especially books like this.
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on June 19, 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book has an interesting range of ideas for the fairly advanced "maker"/crafter -- most assume a fair amount of tools already owned and experience already gained. Only one seems a "girl" project -- an ice cream sandwich necklace, and it could easily be made but not onto jewelry. There are a fair number of electronic projects. I suspect most people who know how to make these things, or who could understand the directions, don't really need this book. Lots of good inspiration, but not for the beginner.
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VINE VOICEon June 1, 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I got this because my husband loves making things on his workbench and I thought it would give some ideas of things to make with our children.

The good:

Some of the projects on here are really neat and there’s a large variety of them. There’s things to cook, woodworking, paper crafts, electronics (transistors) jewelry and lost more. The lunch box guitar project looks complicated but also pretty awesome, the drawbot is interesting, and of course, you can’t go wrong with giant bubbles. The book I got was in black and white because it is an advanced reader’s copy, however the final one you receive will be in color which makes a huge difference because this book has lots of photos of the entire process and the finished product. It’s great for visually oriented people. Each project has a rating of either E for easy and quick, M for moderately challenging and C for challenging skill builder so you can choose which is best suited to your level of experience.

I also give the author props for including electronic things, like how to make a Retro Arcade Video Game. Yes, it requires a specialized program, Scratch, to make it, but the program is free! What a great way to introduce kids to computer programming!

The bad:
I know this is a pet peeve of mine, but why are these projects marketed towards just fathers and their daughters? There’s plenty here for boys to enjoy and moms too! Do we have to pigeonhole our children and ourselves? Can’t we just make it “Fun projects to make with kids!” (Okay, I’m off my soapbox now…)

And yes, some of the projects do require a lot of time and some uncommon supplies, but to me, this is not a detractor. You’re spending quality time with your kids making something that he/she will be proud of and like.

Overall, I think this would be a great book for EVERYONE, not just maker dads and their daughters.
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on June 23, 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Have you got a curious little one eager to do "experiments" and "build stuff"? This may be the perfect book for you. Well designed and described projects will provide hours and hours of meaningful, productive, fun (and sneakily educational!) time together.

Though the cover touts "Father-Daughter DIY Projects", adults and children of either gender will appreciate many of the fun activities included within. Kids age 5 - 12 would seem to be this book's sweet spot, but there's some projects of more advanced difficulty that will appeal to those past the higher edges. The projects are not so basic that you'll be able to complete everything with stuff lying around your home (unless you live in a General Store). With varying difficultly, some tasks require no tools at all and at least one requires soldering. With a little planning and the "ingredients list" included, you'll be primed and ready for some great fun.
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VINE VOICEon May 29, 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As we enter the summer vacation season, Maker Dad could be a great way to help the kids stave off some "I'm bored" days.

As others have pointed out, almost all of the projects here are likely to be enjoyed by both boys and girls, and I had to do some explaining to my young male "reviewers" that they could well enjoy the book even if it says "daughters" on the cover. (Nice to see that, though there is some pink on the cover, it is definitely not a full-out princess pink color scheme. Hope that carries through in the final, full color editions.) Looking at the topics made it clear that this author respects kids of both genders and of many ages and skill levels, and his instructions are pretty clear in general, with careful explanations and equipment lists throughout.

The biggest problem that I found with the book is that it is almost too eclectic. A few of the projects are extremely elementary, but then there are some full-out, Popular Mechanics type stuff that a lot of families I know just won't be able to do. Many of the supplies lists and equipment are just not part of many modern households, either because of budget limitations or lack of skill, and I can envision some kids getting their hopes up that they will be able to do everything in the book, only to be disappointed when the projects just can't be started...or completed.

So, I recommend this book for those parents looking for things they can do together with their kids (and that means letting the kids do as much of the work as they are able to do safely). Just be aware that, unless you are really, really handy and well equipped, you will probably need to tackle only part of the work. Of course, maybe this will so whet your appetite, you'll end up going out and getting more tools so you CAN try out the most complex of these works of fun.
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on May 9, 2014
I think Mark F hits just the perfect tone here.

Highly motivated parents who already do lots of DIY projects with or without their kids will find plenty of fun things to do here.

The less motivated parents who might be new to DIY projects will find good instruction and encouragement, and might actually try some of these projects. I like Mark's "you don't have to be an expert" and " embrace mistakes" attitude.

There's a great mix of topics.You and your kids will learn about electronics, wood working, cooking, programming, logic, etc. while you make fun kid-stuff like skateboards, magic trick, snacks, jewelry, and lots more.

Fun for moms and sons, too!

; - )
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