In a followup to their Big Book of Why, Time for Kids has published the Big Book of How, a collection of 501 facts on diverse subjects like animals, sports, buildings, and emergency preparedness (though nothing about zombies, I’m afraid). With 67 chapters and 22 “How To” sections, the book is a combination of interesting trivia and weekend projects. The book is intended for ages 8 and up and is in a kid-friendly format, so they can read it for themselves. (Younger kids will probably enjoy it as well, but there will be some parts that probably won’t interest them immediately.) Your kids will also need a little help for some of the projects, but there are some fun projects like making a high-bounce ball or building a bridge out of uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows.
While it’s a bit of a stretch to claim that this 192-page book has “all of the questions … and the answers,” it certainly packs a lot of information in an easy-to-read format. My daughter, used to Google and Wikipedia, is still getting used to the idea that books have to be somewhat limited in what they can contain, but even so she’s spent a few hours flipping through the book and marking projects she wants to try. (Next up: a milk-carton periscope.) I perused the book to see what sorts of things were in it, and even learned a few things myself (like how the Staples Center converts from an ice rink into a basketball court in less about two hours).
Some of the facts are nothing new, like how honeybees make hives, but there are also fairly up-to-date facts like last year’s completion of the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge next to Hoover Dam. Of necessity, the book simplifies some explanations and breaks it down into bite-sized chunks, but it’s a good starting point for a subject that interests your kids. If they want to do further research, you can always go back to Google and Wikipedia, which sometimes provide a little more than you need.
My older daughter is currently very interested in facts of all sorts. She recently picked up a little book of strange-but-true facts and has been parading her knowledge of those, but that book doesn’t really provide much in the way of explanation — they’re just one-line oddities. This book gets a little more in-depth, explaining some of the science behind things or giving a step-by-step procedure for doing something.
The Big Book of How retails for $17.95 and was just released this week. Pick one up for your fact-obsessed kids!
Disclosure: Time for Kids provided a review copy of this book.