Hey, dad, want to ratchet up your coolness quotient? Pick up a copy of Scott Bedford's new book.
"Made By Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff" (Workman) lays out detailed plans for inventive, fun projects, including a bunk bed communication system, a recipe to create fossils and a paper plate with a shark taking a bite out of a sandwich.
Bedford said via email from London that coming up with ideas is one of his favorite parts of the process. The Internet, he thinks, can be "more off-putting than inspiring … (when) you realize 20 other people have had similar ideas." He often gets ideas from things his boys (Dylan, 9, and Joshua, 5) are doing.
"I take these initial ideas and try to add a little creative twist, or at least add a bit of fun," Bedford said. "Basically, I'm trying to make things that make me smile."
These definitely are collaborative projects. Craft knives, wire cutters, tin snips and glue guns are among the required tools, so dad should oversee things. Some plans are fairly simple and will take 5 minutes; others may take a few hours. Fortunately, the instructions are very detailed; he refined his skills with his award-winning website, whatimade.com.
"There are so many benefits to making things with your kids: They learn practical skills, they get one-on-one time with daddy, they get to exercise their imagination, they have lots of fun," he noted. "It's definitely one of the things that defines my relationship with my kids; that's why I'm so keen for other dads to enjoy the benefits too. There's no reason why the 'crafty' stuff should be left to mom."