Here is a complete-ish list of all the reviews of UNBORED by parents, so far. We’re very grateful!
“Fantastic Ideas to Get Kids Outside Making and Doing This Summer” — Jessica Lahey, “Parent-Teacher Conference” blogger for the New York Times‘s Motherlode blog.
“The DIY/Maker/Hacker movement is exploding in a big way right now… UNBORED is a great new addition to the movement. The hardbound tome is an activity book for children aged 8 and up, with over 350 beautifully designed and illustrated pages that encourage kids to use their natural curiosity and skills to be creative and to try to change the world. However, it’s the ‘extras’ in each section that help to make UNBORED stand out from the crowd of maker-type books. There are Q&As with people with relevant knowledge — from the inventor of Twister and Nerf to polar explorer Ann Bancroft — to offer the reader a different perspective on the world. Excerpts from classic literature such as Dracula and Around the World in 80 Days, to inspire them. Fun lists covering subjects such as ‘Best Ever Graphic Novels’ and ‘Best Ever Car Free Movies’, and recurring ‘Train Your Grownup To…’ and trivia sections. Quizzes, comics, how-tos, recipes and subjects including writing, music, electronics, travel, crafts, and gardening mean there really is something for everyone here. And refreshingly, there’s no ‘Boys’ section and ‘Girls’ section here, everything is for everybody. The tone throughout is light-hearted and jovial, never patronizing… They never say ‘you must do it this way,’ but rather encourage experimentation and participation. UNBORED is a wonderful collection of activities, inspiration and knowledge, beautifully presented, and well worthy of a space in any GeekKid’s library. They might even let you have a look at it now and then.”
— Wired‘s GEEKDAD blog (Nathan Barry)
TOP THREE Best Parenting Books of 2012: “This book makes a great case for saving yourself some serious money and not buying your kid a Wii…. [UNBORED is [filled with activities that you’ll really want to do with your kids. For my little kids, I liked making the no-sew stuffed animal and becoming a yarn bomber. But this book is great for tweens, too. It even has a section on how to “Train Your Grownup to Let You Go Solo.” Favorite chapter: “Train Your Grownup to Curse without Cursing”
— from the Parents Magazine blog MOM MUST READ
"A collection of inspiring activities, projects, and articles on freeing up your creativity… UNBORED offers a zillion ways to keep busy, stay engaged, and connect with the outside world. Start a band, make a zine, teach 'your grown-up' how to geocache, trick your friends into saving the planet, tell your politicians what you think, build a backyard fort, make a pet robot controller… The book is fun, instructional, edgy, and has insightful lessons on how to engage with life rather than allowing life to pass by like a boring television commercial. And as a parent, it’s nice to be reminded not to fall into the trap of smothering helicopter parenting, passive parenting (screens!), over-scheduled parenting, and all the other pitfalls of modern life that turn our kids into lethargic, helpless, unthinking slugs. Unbored belongs in every kid’s — and parent’s — library."
— Carla Sinclair, founding editor-in-chief of CRAFT, and editor-in-chief of WINK
"I want my daughter to read this book with a flashlight after bedtime and plot to take over the world with her friends."
— Children's book author Jenny Offill
"I can already tell that it's going to lead my son into some awesome adventures."
— Reading Comics author Douglas Wolk
"In the same vein as The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls. Except without all of the vomit-inducing gender stereotyping."
— from the momblog COFFEE WITH JULIE
"That's what I love re: UNBORED — it's for ALL, not 'daring girls' or 'dangerous boys'..."
— tweet from Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter
"It’s huge, illustrated, a little campy, a little retro. The kids made a vibrating tongue-depressor harmonica/kazoo from it. They play a game from it called 'the game' ... They love that it’s not gender-specific. Please note Birdy’s classic sign of approval: the million post-it notes."
— Catherine Neman, of the momblog BEN AND BIRDY
"Do your children bore easily? Are they Minecrafting themselves into oblivion? Has the conclusion of iCarly left them with big Spencer-sized holes in their lives? ... UNBORED will teach kids how to make their own fun: “create instead of consume.” ... And while you may give your child this book to exert a certain sort of wholesome control over their leisure time, know that there is an entire section devoted to farting games."
— Christina Kelly, at Entertainment Weekly's blog THE FAMILY ROOM
"Kids will love this book because it’s so different from anything else out there. It might look similar to the Daring/Dangerous books for girls and boys, but where those books seem to reflect on older pastimes, UNBORED is planted in the now with an eye to the future. I also think kids will appreciate the tone. It’s never condescending. On the contrary, it encourages kids not to fear mistakes and that ignorance is no excuse for not trying something. It’s the exact opposite of the 'Danger! Don’t try this at home!' mindset."
— from the parenting blog THE RISKY KIDS
"This book opened my eyes to a parallel universe filled with people doing all kinds of tantalizing, crazy, and fun stuff I’d never considered.... Between its Sriracha-red covers are 350+ gorgeous pages, plastered with ideas for playing, building, fixing, creating, and exploring—outdoors and in. Circus tricks, using Foursquare to explore your neighborhood, farting games, the history of mayonnaise, and how to train a grown up to curse without cursing are among the things the kids I know will be investigating immediately. It’s also a fun book to read and just ogle. There are interviews, lists of the best graphic novels and best musical movies, “gross facts about bedrooms,” and even a profile of Dr. Bronner. Books in this genre usually break my heart, with their promising covers and meh insides. (Vinegar/baking soda/food dye. Pipe-cleaners/googly eyes/a tissue box. Enough.) I love that this book incorporates the technologies we’re so immersed in, giving us license to play with screens in ways we hadn’t considered, instead of scolding kids (and parents) to unplug and build things with toilet paper tubes. In one of UNOBRED’s more harrowing projects (“High and Low-Tech Pet Search”), we learn to employ a winning combination of signs, walking around/yelling, strategic phone calls, spreadsheets, and Google Maps to locate little Piney. And UNBORED includes traditional childhood favorites as well, like knotting ropes for assorted purposes, and short-sheeting a bed for the sole purpose of irritating someone. UNBORED is a perfect addition to any creative/kind of creative/wants to be creative family’s life. I’m grateful that I don’t have to navigate another season of cabin fever without it as my guide. As Mark Frauenfelder says in the introduction, 'This book is a powerful antidote to those forces that constantly try to shape us into passive consumers of pre-made reality.' Right. What he said. Plus it’s insanely fun."
— from the parenting blog KIDOINFO
"UNBORED is the kind of book I adored when I was a kid. Except nothing like it existed then. … Kids are going to LOVE it, and parents are going to love its power to pull kids away from the screens that seem to dominate their waking hours. … It’s virtually impossible to give you a true picture of the sheer scale of tasks, adventures and activities that are covered in this book, but UNBORED can teach you how to knit, build a tipi or igloo, film a stop-action movie, plan a road trip, and even how to catch a bus by yourself and cook your own lunch. It’s like the book version of what it would otherwise take you years to learn in the Scouts or Brownies. … It’s also written in a fabulously quirky but cool, conversational style, making it easy for kids of varying reading abilities to get to grips with, and fun enough to hold the attention of even the most non-bookish kids, and the artwork and illustrations are first-rate. … I really love the way this book encourages parents to get involved in the activities it contains whilst at the same time inspiring kids to be independent. At one point my son was training me in how to be a ninja, thanks to this book, and that was definitely one of the highlights of our summer holiday."
— from the UK parenting blog PLAYPENNIES
"Viv spent the afternoon/evening of April 2nd until midday on the 3rd wanting to return to school. Her desire came through a flood of emotion and tears – we listened – we were ready to adjust to accommodate her – it was the first time this had happened since we decided to stay home… That night in bed I leaned over to the night stand and grabbed randomly from the sea of books – a beautiful red and iridescent UNBORED. This was totally unintentional for I knew not what it contained. I just started to read – we were all tired and a bit sad. As the words spilled out, I could not believe how perfect the book was for the moment. A sort of manifesto for unschooling. I was a little self-conscious of pressing this on Viv, so I stopped and asked if we should read something else. No, she definitely wanted me to continue. We read from page 10 to page 31. [The next day, Viv] told me she had changed her mind… UNBORED offered us yet another reminder about how important it is to have a strong foundation in the way you live your life. This book speaks to how I want to live my life. I can only hope that my girls will feel the same: ‘explore the world, test your limits, dare to be different, have fun, get unbored’ and ‘use the world or the world will use you’ – among other things.”
— from the “free-learning” blog ESTUARY LIFE
“One of the drawbacks of being a home educator is that you are forever seeking new ways to shoehorn a bit of education in, while being fun. So I’ve got lots of books titled ’101 activities to do without television’, or ‘things to do when you’ve nothing to do’. They’re usually fairly predictable, and tbh, a bit pointless. UNBORED is different. Very different. Instead of opening it and going ‘yeah, yeah’, I opened it and went ‘Ooh!’ … It’s subversive, entertaining, thought provoking and generally a bit brilliant. I’d like to recommend a copy for every family in the country.”
— from the UK homeschooling blog MAKING IT UP
“With subjects ranging from Farting Games to ways that kids can work to end world hunger, this book has it all. This one will be wrapped for ‘book night’ for my 11-year-old (the fifth night of Hanukkah in my house) and will be the response anytime I hear those dreaded words, ‘Mom, I’m bored.’”
— from the momblog MACARONI KID
Montana Parent magazine’s pick for Best Book of 2012! “Useful and inspiring to the younger set with help from parents as well as imaginative tinkerers of any age… UNBORED is not a parenting book, but — as a parent — I’d rather have this in my arsenal than a book that advises you to find ways to connect, making you doubt whether the choices you’ve made have been sufficient to create kids who have a true love of learning and exploration. Instead, UNBORED offers up 352 brightly illustrated pages of things that you and your kids will want to do.”
— Montana Parent
“A modern-day collection of imaginative ideas and tested projects that goes far beyond the Dangerous and Daring series in scope and creativity, it makes me want to go back to the playground to clap out “Miss Mary Mack” with friends or yarn bomb my neighborhood. Geared to kids age 8 to 13, parents will appreciate its appeal to both genders — there are tons of projects, articles, and advice to entice both boys and girls. The authors kept it lively by parsing out the pages to a range of 30 talented inventors, crafters, and thinkers, including environmental activist Colin Beaven; Make magazine editor-in-chief Mark Frauenfelder; children’s book author Kate DiCamillo; and comic illustrator Joe Alterio. Flip to any page and you might find the following: a how-to on building a geyser with a 2-liter bottle of coke and 6 mentos candies; simple steps for decoupaging a skateboard; a page with rules and illustrations for proper and playful roughhousing at home; parlor games to break out on family night; classic pranks like short-sheeting a bed (complete with a diagram); great nostalgic book suggestions like A Wrinkle in Time and Bridge to Terabithia; and articles that speak straight to kids on important topics like ADHD and bullying.”
— from the momblog MOMFILTER (“Gifts We Love”)
“From apps to hip hop songs, from geocaching to farting games, there is something here for everyone.”
— from the momblog MUMMY ATE ME
“This BIG book of activities is just perfect for kids ages 8 to 14, and I definitely think it would make a fantastic gift this holiday season. This hardcover book has over 350 color pages, and it’s chock full of ideas to conquer boredom. And these ideas aren’t just busy work — they are meant to encourage kids to use their creativity and even teach them a thing or two.”
— from the momblog BOOKING MAMA
“The activity book is vibrantly designed, lavishly illustrated, and most importantly, crammed with activities that are not only fun and doable, but also designed to get kids engaged with the wider world!”
— from the parenting blog KID CRAVE
“The underlying advice? Don’t sit around and accept what’s handed to you, whether it’s an idea or a prefab toy. Create your own meaning and your own entertainment.”
— from the St. Paul Pioneer Press momblog MINNMOMS
“A trove of imaginative ideas and projects designed to delight, inspire, and (most important) occupy kiddos age 8 to 13. In addition to information ranging from how to use the library to the history of videogames, a cadre of 30 diverse makers and thinkers, including writers, environmental activists, illustrators, and crafters, contributed creative boredom-busting activities.”
— from the (Dallas, Texas) momblog D MOMS
“Top 10 reasons I love UNBORED: 1.) It’s about making (and remaking) stuff. Enjoying The Process. 2.) It sends the right message: Let’s value discovery, creativity, sharing, and initiative. Let’s show our kids how to be omnicompetent. 3.) These are not reprinted and unmanageable undertakings. UNBORED features cool, challenging, handy projects, each tried out by the editors themselves. 4.) It’s a “field guide to life” about doing things together. Reconnecting. Sharing Experiences. 5.) It’s a gender-neutral book with the graphics to prove it: boys knitting, girls doing carpentry. Anyone can develop expertise around their passions. 6.) It’s platform independent. UNBORED is all about what’s possible online, offline, indoors and outdoors. 7.) It’s about finding your scene and niche. Kids need to discover their passions and find groups with whom they share like-minded interests, both on and offline. This process of discovery fosters confidence, tolerance, and independence. Glenn and Larsen advocate for kids using social media, “as a way to support real-life community — not as a substitute.” 8.) It’s well organized into four categories: You, Home, Society, and Adventure, and features contributions from a wide array of experts providing craft steps, trivia, best-of lists, and Q&As, all while teaching you how to break free from your ultra-organized life to allow some true innovation to break through. 9.) It targets the right age group. Age 8-14 is a time of growing independence for kids, but also an opportunity for youth to foster deep connections and meaningful engagement with their parents, and why not bond both on and offline? 10.) It’s a great buy for anyone: kids, parents and parents-to-be, teachers, librarians, and any other adults looking for Fun Stuff To Do.”
— Vanessa Ziff Lasdon, at the blog W.O.R.D. INK
“This book could just be all someone needs for a whole childhood of cool stuff to think about, experiment with, build and create for a happy unschooled kid. I would definitely choose UNBORED if I only had one book to keep in my library as I was raising an awesome, can-do-anything son or daughter.”
— Home Education Magazine
“This is the awesome family book we didn’t know we were waiting for!”
— tweet from Homa Sabet Tavangar, author of Growing Up Global
“The hours pass quickly as you flip the pages of this beautiful book. It’s a guide to curiosities, activities, and arcane knowledge that’s great for kids, but also irresistible for their grown-ups. My eight-year-old and I are starting with car games (OK, and fart games) and I’m sure we’ll move quickly through art, architecture, literature, and cryptozoology. Every page is a new discovery!”
— Joanna Weiss, author of the mommy-wars novel Milkshake
“Never had we needed a book like this more than after Hurricane Sandy took out our power. This 352-page book is jam-packed with trivia, games, quizzes, experiments, lists, excerpts from literature, projects — these are just a sampling of the coolness in UNBORED.”
— from the parenting blog BARISTA KIDS
“This 352-page book is filled — no, jam-packed! — with so many awesome ideas of things to do, make, think about, puzzle over, experiment with, play, and wonder about that I dare anyone to start reading it and not find something to interest them. That includes adults, too… This is the kind of book I wished I had as a kid, but better late than never.”
— from the Appalachian Mountain Club blog KIDS OUTDOORS
“This is the ultimate craft and curiosity book… From recycling old things to learning how to curse without cursing, this is the coolest activity book for all ages I’ve seen in a long time… The illustrations are vivid, funny and, best of all, super clear.”
— from the Parents.com blog MOM MUST READ
“From the science-based (making geyser rockets with Diet Coke and Mentos) and media-based (how to shoot and edit a stop–action movie) to the practical (tips to properly maintain your bicycle) and just plain fun (making LED graffiti), UNBORED is sure to keep the whole family occupied for hours.”
— from the NY MetroParents’ blog STUFF WE LIKE
“A veritable treasure trove of cool stuff. Activities are interspersed with information, trivia, quizzes and lists, all presented in edgy prose and illustrated with modern graphics, photographs and lavish fonts. The activities are fun, manageable and are designed to get kids engaged with the wider world.”
— from the Australian “hip kids and parents” blog BABYOLOGY
“UNBORED is a rather brilliant book that will keep your kids busy, potentially forever and ever and ever. OK, maybe not that long, but it’s got loads of engaging stuff in its 350 pages. It’s aimed at kids aged 8 years and up, but JD (6) is a mature kid, so there’s plenty to suit him and plenty for him and his sister to come back to as they grow up.”
— from the British momblog A MUMMY TOO