File this under: how did I not know this existed before? Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred: Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids is exactly what it sounds like: a book of projects for you to make with your child. Most of the projects are pretty timeless and range in the level of skill and power equipment involved. There’s the delightful sock Cthulhu monster that involves only socks, stuffing, scissors, and needle and thread. There are also soldering projects, carpentry projects, and everything in between.
If you want to spend 2013 with practical hands-on learning experiences, this is is a treasure trove of ideas. Better yet, they’re all cheap ideas that you can do without buying a gigantic robotics kit or huge machinery, and there’s enough room to build on the ideas for new inspiration. The projects here are also appealing to both genders and a range of skill levels, and they explain why the project works as you build it. That would make it a great tool for teachers and homeschoolers as well as DIY enthusiasts.
The illustrations are black and white and mostly photographic with a few line drawings. The author chose to use more text and fewer illustrations to explain the projects. I actually prefer this to lots of pictures without enough explanation. Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred avoids the trap of kid project books, in that it doesn’t talk down to the reader. It also doesn’t use a high level of industry terms and jargon, so don’t feel like you have to know everything about electrical engineering if you want to make the homemade electrical guitar.
My daughter is in love with the first project in the book, a lock box made of wood and containing many different types of locks. I think we’ll make it together once the weather is a little better and we can go outside for the sawing stages. Meanwhile, all our mismatched socks are going to turn into squids. I know we’re going to have a lot of fun with this book and a very crafty new year.
Full disclosure: a review copy of the book was provided by No Starch Press.