We just purchased the American Boys Handy Book for ds8 for his birthday. He is LOVING it! He received it on Friday, and he was all ready to build a kite today, with Daddy’s help. They spent about an hour making the kite (we didn’t have all the materials, so they improvised with twine and a trashbag), then ds spent another hour playing outside with it. Now dd is saying she wants the girls’ handy book for her next birthday.
So, for those of you who have these books and your children enjoy them, can you tell me how you make them work in the city? Ds is very interested in the traps, but the fearful momma in me gets worried about him traipsing off alone in the fields around our house! What have your boys (and girls) learned from these books? I don’t want to use this book as part of our curriculum, per se. It was only purchased as a birthday gift because we felt it would be something he would really enjoy. We just want to be able to give him the freedom and resources to actually make some of the things in the book. We also purchased what I feel to be a companion to this book, Shacks, Shelters, and Shanties, by the same author.
Just curious as to whose children have these books and what they are doing with them?
No one?? Seriously? I thought some of you had recommended this book before…simple homeMember
Don’t have the books, but I would want to consider these books as strictly fun…sort of a ” go-to” type of activity when there is free time during the week and weekend. That’s what I’m doing with learning crochet alongside my girls. It’s just something we do when the time is right for a project. My kids tend to gravitate towards “learning projects” when it’s considered fun and inviting, never school-like.
Surely someone here has these books though, and can give details of what they do. 🙂BookwormParticipant
Actually, we have this book and many other ones, too, but we didn’t control or even enter into what the kids did with them. We turned this over to them and considered it their play. They would sometimes ask us to take them somewhere, ask us to get them something, ask Dad out to consult on a project, but we did nothing official at all–it was all driven by them. Actually it wouldn’t have occurred to me to do anything in particular, I guess. We have these books, we have books of homemade air cannon and catapults and guns that shoot paperclips and all sorts of stuff, and we just give the books to the boys, drive them to Menard’s when they ask, and recommend they use their own money when possible to buy the stuff. Then we intervene only when something sounds dangerous. Yes, we’ve had to do this several times. They are boys. LOL DO be alarmed if one suddenly wants stump-killer. We found out later one of our sons found plans to make an incendiary device using it. LOL We did nix that one. Our boys have been very much self-driven in this, we only have helped or stepped in a few times (NO, you can’t actually shoot your potato cannon in town, we have to take it to a friend’s farm–that sort of thing.) And no, you really can’t put out traps in a suburban yard, you’ll catch mostly stray cats.
We don’t want to do anything “official” with them either. This is definitely not part of our curriculum. The book was given strictly for fun and play. Our ds is 8, and we really want him to learn to be independent in making the projects out of this book. He needed a lot of help with the kite he built with Daddy. We will definitely supervise and make sure he’s not doing anything dangerous. I was just curious what others’ boys have done with this book. He will never be required to complete a project as part of school work. We just wanted to get him started doing boy things without our help.
I haven’t looked at the Girls Handy Book, so I was hoping some of you might be able to give me a review from personal experiences with your daughters.crazy4boysParticipant
I have considered putting together “kits” for some of the projects….but haven’t yet. That way the materials would be available to them when they want them or it might peek their interest to have a kit laying around that says “Marshmallow Trebuchet”. Because my boys are active in Cub and Boy Scouts they haven’t touched this book very much. It’s still sitting there….hopefully now that we’ve moved off base housing and have a little bit of land they’ll feel more inclined to actually DO things outside.
If you have the space in a garage or shed you could stockpile some larger “supplies” (lumber of various sizes and shapes, PVC pipes, rope, hammer and nails, etc) and see what he comes up with.
We have a wild rabbit or two I’d like to catch before my garden comes in….and maybe the notorious and naughty squirrel….hmmmm……
Oh, Backyard Ballistics is another fun book for boys. I’ll have to check out the other you mentioned. One of the reasons we bought a house was so they could BUILD things, and leave them. Base never allowed us to do that.
Hey Bookworm, what are some of your other recommendations for books similar to this?
LOL, squirrels are hard to snare. Although my middle son is planning on trying at a winter Scout campout this weekend. We’ll see if he has any luck. Apparently his new scoutmaster says he’s done it . . . I’ll believe it when I see it. I think my squirrels are smarter than *I* am, and hopefully I’m too bright to get caught in a snare . . . Maybe it would depend on how much sleep I’ve had.amyjaneParticipant
Just wanted to bump this conversation back up since Christmas is approaching. Lindsey is your son still enjoying this book? What about the Shelters, Shacks and Shanties? I am considering this as a Christmas gift and maybe some supplies to make some of the things. My boys are about to be 9 and 7. They love being outdoors and being creative with their resources. My biggest concern is timing on these books. Are they old enough to run with them yet or should I wait a bit?Miss RachelMember
Shack, shelters, and shanties? http://www.gutenberg.org/files/28255/28255-h/28255-h.htm And more of DC Bear’s books all available free online here: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Beard%2C%20Daniel%20Carter%2C%201850-1941
They are fun to read, and encourage kids to interact with nature. They can learn so many skills, plus mathematics, history, science, architecture, etc.
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