Hobbies, Crafts & DIY
If you have children or teens in your life, you know that computer coding and coding for kids has been gaining popularity. With electronic devices used in nearly every area of our lives, there is great interest in teaching kids how to go from being simply users of technology to becoming creators of technology, and learning to code is one way to do that. Computers, smartphones, websites and apps all run on code.
Learning to code teaches children and teens problem-solving skills and also gives them the opportunity to “look under the hood” of the technology all around them and understand how it works. Coding has been taught at the high school level for decades (I took a computer programming class when I was in high school), but today there are several platforms which have been created for younger children, so children as young as early elementary (or younger!) can enjoy coding, and there are many fun ways to encourage interest in coding for children and teens.
Growing up is hard to do, especially those first steps on your own as a real adult. While you can choose your own job or major, go to bed whenever you please, and eat whatever tickles your fancy, you also need to learn how to do many new things, some of which may be unfamiliar. If you’d like to hear helpful tips for living on your own, come join us at the England Run Branch on Wednesday, June 15, at 7:00.
Stuck in that static rut? Looking for a fix when imagination is on the fritz? Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun is the book for you.
Essential is the right word. Broken up into easy-to-read sections and articles, Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen's title is a complete guide to inspiration and suggestion. Looking for a great animated movie you haven't already seen a thousand times? Unbored has some tips. Want to play in a band but you don't know where to start? This book can get you on the right path.
I have a teen daughter who loves to cook. She started baking things on her own as soon as she could safely operate the oven, and her favorite gift to date was the electric skillet her chef aunt gave to her one Christmas so she could start making pancakes. Eventually, she became interested in preparing complete meals, but my cooking books didn't really appeal to her. She was looking for a guide that would instruct her through doable - yet appealing - meals. Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat by sisters Megan and Jill Carle fit the bill perfectly.
Leave it to Cory Doctorow, author, blogger, and technology activist-extraordinaire, to weave a story that successfully blends coming-of-age woes, homelessness, national politics, copyright law, cooking, gadgetry, love, overcoming homophobia, civil disobedience, film-making, mashups, public speaking, the judicial system, beer and coffee brewing, cryptography, and oh so, so much more into a wonderfully geeky, heart-wrenching, page-turning bang-up novel that people of all ages should read. This book is full of such big, exquisite ideas to learn about that you’ll be Googling your fingers off through the entire story and I mean that in the best way possible. You will learn reading Pirate Cinema and you will love this as much as you love the characters.
As a long-time user of Instructables, I can attest to the certain charm that comes with being able to find a recipe for bacon-topped caramel cupcakes and directions to build a robot, all in the same place. Instructables is a website born from several creators in the MIT media lab. What started as a project focused purely on engineering prototypes has branched into a website featuring user-generated D.I.Y. projects in a near mind-boggling array of categories. There are projects that range from wood-fire heated hot tubs to a collection of recipes on “What to do with Day Old Bread.”
Wires were being bent, watches broken, and the scent of hot glue was in the air. The chatter of teens and a few adult artists filled the air as copiously as the junk that littered the table. The sounds and sights of books being “remade” were a little bit unnerving even to the librarians that planned the program, but there was no doubt about it – Steampunk’d Books at the Salem Church Library was a hit.
I don't care if you are a kid, teen or adult - it feels great to be able to do some impressive tricks for your family and friends at the next backyard barbecue, like blowing a bubble within a bubble or slicing an unpeeled banana. If you want to move beyond mere parlor tricks, you can learn how to identify clouds, ride a boogie board or fold fortune cookies thanks to the super-easy directions in Show Off: How to Do Absolutely Everything One Step at a Time by Sarah Hines Stephens and Bethany Mann.
What makes "Show Off" a fantastic book are the step-by-step picture directions. Since I am a graphic learner, this makes it so much easier for me than trying to decipher a page of text describing how to fold a ninja star. The ingredient lists tend to be very slight, which is a bonus for parents. If you want to learn more about an activity, several of them have longer descriptions in the back under "tell me more." The 224 activities are grouped under the categories of "amaze," "investigate," "create," "explore," "cook," and "move." Most of these are easy to do by yourself if you're at least 10 years old, while others will require adult help.