Maker Dad: DIY projects for grownups and kids


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Neat! But I’m going to have a son :frowning:


I’ve got one of each… I wonder if this is a sneaky tactic for Mark to sell twice as many books. Or four times as many, if there’s also one for mother-son and mother-daughter projects. :wink:


I am a bit hesitant to criticize this, because I’m sure it comes from the great place of wanting to encourage more girls towards STEM careers… But why the limiting title? I’m a female engineer who has a daughter. I’m the parent who loves making stuff, and would be interested in a book like this… Except for that title. The subtitle of your post opens a way wider audience than the actual title of the book.


Or 2600 times as many, taking in to account the 51 genders available on facebook. That would be a fitting number, wouldn’t it?

Seriously though, @frauenfelder I’m super excited about this book. It looks awesome. I just have to wait a few years until my son is old enough to do some of these things.


Mark - this looks fantastic and, on the one hand, I do applaud you for creating something for Dads and Daughters specifically. On the other hand, don’t call this a book for parents and children as that’s clearly not your intent.

I do strongly believe we need to provide more encouragement for girls and young women to get into the STEM/STEAM careers and interests. And it is somewhat encouraging to see things like your book and the Goldiblox system out there to do it.

But both of those things also fly in the face of the goals set forth for other supporters of women in STEM. The argument thus far has been that these things are marketed to boys and men. Does it then make sense to counter it by only marketing it to girls and women? Or does it make more sense to completely shift the marketing so it’s not just for one gender, but for anyone who expresses an interest?

The reality is, I would buy this book in a second to use with my five year old son. There’s lots of great stuff in here that I know we’d both have fun doing. At home, we have not reinforced the idea that “this is for girls” and “this is for boys”, but he definitely has a sense of when something is sold to a specific gender. Yes, this is probably the fault of TV and gender stereotypes leaking in through other channels (and I’m sure the fact that he doesn’t own anything pink or purple puts some of the blame on his parents as well) but the fact is he recognizes when something is being marketed to girls and clearly feels it is not intended for him.

Mark, this is less a criticism of you than of the whole “more STEM for girls” movement as a whole. Given that girls tend to prefer things that are more on the pastel end of the color spectrum (For all their “fight the pink aisle” rhetoric, Goldiblox are still pretty stereotypically “girly”) and boys trend toward the darker colors, I don’t think we’ll ever really get to a place where these things are gender neutral. So it’s fine, really, to have a book for Daughters and Dads. But, please, don;t market it as something for all parents and all kids. Just as girls get frustrated looking in science books and seeing only boys, boys feel the same when something is clearly marketed to girls.

A better solution - show experiments conducted by father and son AND father and daughter. For that matter, show experiments with mother and son AND mother and daughter. And, for Pete’s sake, don’t relegate the mom stuff to kitchen chemistry - for Mother’s Day this year, give Mom a soldering iron!

If you really want to end the gender bias in the sciences, make it all inclusive.


You know what? I really do need a new soldering iron. That would actually be a very good mother’s day gift for this mom. Thank you for making a wise suggestion.


Mark has daughters, and I imagine that’s why the book focuses on that particular human relationship at the expense of the worthy sociopolitical objectives with respect to women in STEM and the prophesized golden future of omnigendered parenting.

Each to their own.


Look, do you want a fight, or what? This ambivalence and shilly-shallying simply will not do.

Sheesh. Mark is a dad with two daughters so the title of the book makes perfect sense. I wouldn’t lump this nice collection of clever projects in with other “girl STEM” products. Read it first. Instead of just tarted up tinker toys for girls, this book has a real range of creative and educational things for parents to do with their kids. Electronics, probability, materials and processes, programming and more come in the forms of making skateboards, soap, jewelry, games, magic—all stuff kids will really like.

There is one more aspect that the title “Maker Dad” suggests and that is Mark’s own personal story of being a Maker Dad. I think he is really smart to involve his kids in doing podcasts (like Apps for Kids) and to be a role model on “making” not just fun projects but also books, websites, magazines, businesses–and all supporting himself and his family while doing it. In the new jobless economy our kids will have to grow up to be resourceful, independent, and make their own opportunities and careers. Start them young!


Looks great, Mark. I can’t wait until my girls are old enough so we can try these projects. I was hoping you had a book like this in the works. Congrats!

And I totally get that and I positively DO NOT want to be viewed as attacking Mark on this, because that’s not the point. However, the tweet, his words - everything but the subtitle, which came as a bit of a shock - led me to believe this was geared to all parents and all their kids. I actually think it may have more power from a marketing standpoint if it was presented as a Dads and Daughters book - I mean, how often do you see those?

EDIT: Subtitle, not title - even the title made me think it was mostly neutral (though I know he has daughters, so…).

After years and years of soldering, I just learned from this video you are supposed you wash your hands afterwards…


It’s ok, you’ll forget again shortly.


Whomp, whomp. :wink:

@frauenfelder as a dad myself, my favorite part of the above video was this gem of an exchange at 3:27:
M: “it’s still super hot!”
J: “then don’t touch it!”
(i laughed…totally reminds me of me with my daughter!)


What a terrific idea for a book. I still remember helping (or, in some cases, “helping”!) my dad with his Heathkit and other projects, and they are some of my best memories. I will recommend it.

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