Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects & Activities for Dads & Kids to Share
By Ken Denmead · Reviewed by Andy Heyward
I always judge a book by its cover and this cover appealed to me in a blokey, nostalgic sort of way. The orange and yellow colour scheme reminds me of the old electronic user manuals I would find lying around my own dad’s workshop. He was a sparky for the power board and would have countless, unfinished repair jobs on the go to poke around and explore. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are doing projects with my dad, making rubber-band guns out of wood and wire, giving his racing pigeon transport boxes a unique paint job, building a shed to fill with shelves of old power-tools and parts. He was also the person who introduced me to Star Wars, taking me to see each movie as it was released. It was our father-son treat, which continued with all the latest re-mastered movies and my own kids in tow.
So when I saw this book needed reviewing I jumped at it. I believe I am qualified because: a) I am a dad, and b) having grown up with Star Wars, computer games and an eighties fashion sense I am probably a geek on some level.
Gathering my 11 year old, we flicked through the book together to see what projects appealed. The first thing I noticed about Geek Dad is that it isn’t meant to be read from front to back. You are meant to skim the projects, pick one and then dive on in. The projects are separated into general areas, making it easy to choose if you want a crafty project, an outdoor project or something with electronics and so on. The projects range from making compost bins to creating an outdoor movie theater, from making Lego props for home cartoons to making a kite you can fly at night. There is a good range of projects to suit all budgets, skill levels and interests. Most of the projects don’t take too long, and you can easily modify the ideas to suit what you have on hand. I found myself reading through a project and thinking of what would be cooler to add, or what could I use this with and wondering if anyone would notice if we rigged this up in the fridge…
Geek Dad is a starting point for doing projects, an excuse to hang out with your kids and vice-versa. It’s not so much the task or the project but the “doing” that is the fun part and what is remembered long after the object has bitten the dust. The book is a good prompt for us big boys to remember to do things with our children, whatever it may be, and start creating memories for our own kids to pass on. This book would make an ideal gift for the blokes in your life with kids aged 5 to 15 years or for dads who need to work less and play more.
Anyway I am off to modify a Lego car that is due to do battle in a demolition derby with my son in the arena of impending doom.
Andy Heyward is Director of Possibilities at Fat Spatula. A graphic artist, he also paints as a creative release from his other serious and stressful positions of being President of the Haumoana Lemon Marketing Board and founding member of the Haumoana Men’s Knitting Club.