Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: Unbored

Summary: Unbored is the guide and activity book every modern kid needs. Vibrantly designed, lavishly illustrated, brilliantly walking the line between cool and constructive, it's crammed with activities that are not only fun and doable but also designed to get kids engaged with the wider world.

With contributions from a diverse crowd of experts, the book provides kids with information to round out their world view and inspire them to learn more. From how-tos on using the library or writing your representative to a graphic history of video games, the book isn't shy about teaching. Yet the bulk of the 350-page mega-resource presents hands-on activities that further the mission in a fun way, featuring the best of the old as well as the best of the new: classic science experiments, crafts and upcycling, board game hacking, code-cracking, geocaching, skateboard repair, yarn-bombing, stop-action movie-making-plus tons of sidebars and extras, including trivia, best-of lists, and Q&As with leading thinkers whose culture-changing ideas are made accessible to kids for the first time.

Just as kids begin to disappear into their screens, here is a book that encourages them to use those tech skills to be creative, try new things, and change the world. And it encourages parents to participate. Unbored is exciting to read, easy to use, and appealing to young and old, girl and boy. Parents will be comforted by its anti-perfectionist spirit and humor. Kids will just think it's awesome.

Contributors include Mark Frauenfelder of MAKE magazine; Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man; Douglas Rushkoff, renowned media theorist; Geoff Manaugh, author of BLDGBLOG; John Edgar Park, a CG supervisor at DisneyToon Studios; and Jean Railla, founder of and Etsy consultant. -- Bloomsbury

If you're like me, then it's always a challenge to find unique gifts for kids. It seems like my kids have everything, and Christmas shopping can be a challenge. So when I learned about the new book UNBORED: THE ESSENTIAL FIELD GUIDE TO SERIOUS FUN by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, I immediately knew I wanted to check it out. This BIG book of activities is just perfect for kids ages 8 to 14 (and fortunately both my kids fall within this age range!), and I definitely think it would make a fantastic gift this holiday season. 

UNBORED is such a fun book! I wasn't kidding when I said it was big. 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. But never fear, these activities are loads of fun and not the slightest bit boring. In fact, I love the author's advice in the Introduction, "Use the world, or let the world use you." (He was actually given this advice by a famous writer/illustrator when he was young.)

It's obvious that UNBORED is totally geared towards kids. Even the layout of the book just looks like something my kids would want to read. It's set up by chapters according to the type of activity. For example, there are chapters for You, Home, Society, and Adventure. Each chapter is further broken down into subcategories. For example, the You chapter is divided into Goof Off, Do It Yourself, Your Body, Your Mind, Tell Your Story, and Rock Out.

But the format of these activities are what really makes this book stand apart from other activity books. The pages of this book are just loaded with information on a wide variety of topics and use colorful and unique fonts. In addition, there are many illustrations and photos so readers can visualize each activity. For example, part of the "Experimenting in the Kitchen" activity takes kids through a quest to find the perfect cookie. There is a section on the debate Chewy vs. Crispy cookies that provides some helpful cooking hints along the lines of whether it's better to use softened or melted butter. Then the authors state a theory that crispy cookies need melted butter and outline the experiment to test it. Kids are asked to make a control batch of cookies and an experimental batch, and compare the results.

I still don't feel as if I've capture just how fun UNBORED is, so I'd like to give you some examples of the types of activities included. There are traditional activities like how to short-sheet a bed as well as new ideas for science experiments and crafts. Some of the activities are just giggle-worthy like any of the Train Your Grownup ideas. But there are also other very useful ones like Conserving Water, Stop Worrying Exercise, and Eliminate Bullying. Furthermore, there are some terrific lists of Best Ever Musical Movies, Weird Facts about Condiments, and Best Every DIY Fiction. UNBORED really does cover a huge variety of things to discover!

If you'd like to learn more about UNBORED, then check out the book's website and watch the video below: 

I absolutely adored UNBORED and I'll be adding it to my Christmas shopping list this year. I can't wait to hand it to my kids the next time one of them whines, "I'm so bored!"

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.


Beth F said...

Boy that does look like fun. It'd make a great gift.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I'm intrigued. I'm wondering though if my kids would feel they were beyond it. They are 13 and 14 but I think they fancy themselves about 30.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This sounds so great! I think I need to get it for my husband - LOL!

Serena said...

This would have been a book that my friend and I could have used when we kept telling her mother we were bored! LOL She would just tell us to go outside...

bermudaonion said...

What a fun book!!

Julie said...

I discovered this book through a book podcast I listen to when I run. I also have it on my wish list. I love all the new books you read and the variety you bring to your blog.