Since the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic right now, we’re doing our part by staying close to home and hunkering down for as long as it takes. We know we’re doing the right thing, but it’s still an awful lot of time to fill! Luckily for us, DK Books has put together a great collection of books for Maker March full of fun activities, hands-on learning, and creative projects to interest and inspire kids and adults everywhere.
We’ll be building tech projects, making fun crafts, and doing some baking and gardening too. What about you? Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win two of the books seen here!
Click on the titles or cover pictures to see these books on Amazon.
by Jack Challoner
Tech Lab encourages kids to explore, experiment, and tinker. Written for kids aged 11-14, this guide will show your curious child how to make 18 cool, electronic projects at home with no prior experience needed.
The book starts with a well-organized and helpful overview of safety rules, tools, electronic components, and the skills they’ll need to accomplish each project. This material also covers electric circuits in detail, both serial and parallel, and how circuits and breadboards work. Last but not least, they’ve included a very helpful troubleshooting guide for what to do when projects don’t work as expected.
Armed with this basic knowledge, kids can make a battery from pennies and cloth or make their own microphone out of a matchbox, pencil lead, and earphones. More complex projects include an AM radio that really works and a remote-controlled snake that actually moves. My oldest can’t wait to make a door alarm to keep her little sister out of her room!
Each project lays out the time required, level of difficulty, and tools/parts needed, along with clear, illustrated instructions that will guide kids every step of the way. They’ll also learn why these simple machines work and how these same concepts are applied in real life devices.
by Jane Bull
More of a craft book than a science book, you’ll find 25 simple crafts and hands-on projects in this book that can be used to introduce STEAM topics to your curious child. Crafts use everyday items from around the house making them ideal for for younger children or for kids to work on independently. Each project also includes a “What’s the science?” text box that explains the principle or scientific concept associated with the project.
Learn about acids and moving shadows from traditional crafts like invisible ink and a homemade sundial. Design a butterfly that seems to float anywhere by learning about centres of gravity and how to move them. At the end of the book, there’s a section of kid-friendly recipes including popcorn, meringue, and chocolate chip cookies, that help kids learn about physics and chemistry in a delicious way.
We’ve already picked out several projects to make over March break, including making meringues and trying these “powerful potions” below.
I couldn’t tell you why, but my kids have been fascinated with cake shows and videos for years. They could happily watch people baking and decorating cakes and cookies for hours, so I’m pretty sure Bake It is going to be a hit in our house through our March break and beyond. This hardcover cookbook includes 150 sweet and savoury recipes collected from DK cookbooks with enthusiastic young bakers in mind.
- Creative cakes, cupcakes, and muffins
- Celebration cakes
- Pastries, pies, and tarts
- Creative cookies and tasty treats
- Classic crusts
Each recipe includes bright, colourful photography and step-by-step instructions with even more photos illustrating every step. Instructions are exceptionally easy to follow, even for novices. Besides the usual listings for time required and number of servings, each recipe also includes a difficulty rating from one to four cupcakes and a list of special equipment required. “Top tip” and “Try this” boxes offer advice and extra options for bakers to try, so kids will also learn how to adjust and adapt recipes.
Front matter includes basic kitchen safety and hygiene, common terms, and kitchen equipment. The section on baking and pastry techniques teaches everything from sifting flour, separating an egg, and kneading dough, through to more complex tasks like making different kinds of icing, frosting a cake, and melting chocolate. A valuable resource for any baker!
Confession time. I have a black thumb.
While I have many gifts, keeping plants alive isn’t one of them. Despite that, I still think that children (and adults!) benefit from getting their hands dirty and learning how to patiently nurture growing plants. So while this Let’s Get Gardening is technically intended for kids in grades one to four, I’ve been looking through it as well looking for a gardening project suitable for my irredeemable lack of skill.
Some of the projects need at least a small plot of land, but most can be done in a container on a balcony or indoors, making them accessible to almost all children. The book starts with general information about plants, how they grow, and what they need to thrive, then presents close to 40 easy projects organized in 3 sections.
The first chapter will walk kids through growing a kitchen garden from seeds, including an assortment of herbs, veggies, and fruit. Everything from easy veggies like carrots and potatoes, to chilies, strawberries, and lemons. The instructions include planting, growing, and harvesting tips.
The next chapter introduces plants and flowers that can attract butterflies, bees, frogs, ladybugs, and other beneficial wildlife to your backyard in every season. Which plants and flowers smell the sweetest? Which flowers attract and feed bees and butterflies? Which plants are suitable to plant in or around a healthy pond? Learn how to make a frog or toad home from an old clay pot, or build a ladybird sanctuary.
The last section really focuses on sustainability and clever ways to upcycle, recycle, and reduce waste in your garden. But it’s not just about learning to compost. Kids can also learn how to make a planter from eggshells, corks, or old rubber boots. Create a mini greenhouse from an old jar or learn how to transform a plastic bottle into a self-watering planter for seedlings.
Whether you have a backyard or not, kids will have lots of fun with this book through the spring and the rest of the year!
Win Bake It & Let’s Get Gardening
Win two of these books – Bake It and Let’s Get Gardening – for your own Maker March! Enter in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified.
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Disclosure: I received sample items to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you.