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October 29, 2009

Geek Out with the Kids: Have a DIY Holiday with MAKE magazine's special "For Kids of All Ages" issue

MythBusters' Adam Savage launches MAKE, Volume 20, stuffed with rockets, lasers, and more great do-it-yourself projects "for kids ages 9 to 99."

Sebastopol, CA—Build a real hydrogen rocket! Or laser light shows beamed from a lunchbox! A remote-controlled videocam car! And for the wood shop, how about a mini sailing yacht, secret compartment box, or toy car launcher.

With an introduction by MythBusters' Adam Savage, MAKE, Volume 20 (O'Reilly Media, $14.99 USD) is stuffed with 23 fun projects "for kids ages 9 to 99" that make awesome holiday gifts, or better yet, a great way to spend time together making things! Savage appears on the cover in his personal Apollo spacesuit, launching our hydrogen-oxygen rocket project. (This is no ordinary bottle rocket--it’s an electrically timed, two-stage rocket powered by igniting hydrogen and oxygen gases that you make yourself!)

A hero to kids, Savage has maybe the coolest job ever, making all kinds of things on the Discovery TV series (and, frequently, blowing them up). In this issue Savage gives a wonderful interview about becoming the ultimate maker, and the importance of kids learning to enjoy making things. We also interview actor John Ratzenberger of Pixar and Cheers fame, whose Nuts and Bolts Foundation promotes technical education and shop classes for kids.

Geeked-out projects in MAKE's For Kids of All Ages issue include:

  • Laser light shows beamed from a lunchbox
  • Hydrogen-oxygen bottle rocket
  • Videocam remote-control car
  • Toy car launcher for Hot Wheels-type cars
  • Wooden mini yacht sails pools and ponds
  • Secret compartment box to hide treasures
  • The Auto-Phenakistoscope (what?), a Victorian motion-picture parlor toy updated with LEDs and an Arduino microcontroller
  • How to lash sticks with rope to make towers, decks, and rafts
  • 10-rocket mega-launcher for rocket derbies
  • Binary adding machine made of wood and marbles
  • Ski up, snowboard down! DIY splitboard converts a snowboard to touring skis and back again
  • How to update vintage speakers with audiophile waveguides
  • A mini microscope made the way Van Leeuwenhoek secretly made them--by melting glass in a flame!

With more families opting for "staycations" and handmade gifts this year, MAKE's For Kids of All Ages issue is the recipe for a fun and memorable homemade holiday.

For a review copy or more information please email Please include your delivery address and contact information.

Mark Frauenfelder is a writer and illustrator living in Los Angeles, and the editor of MAKE.

Additional Resources:
For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and cover graphic, see:

Make: Technology on Your Time Volume 20
Mark Frauenfelder
ISBN: 9780596800901, 176 pages,
Book Price: $14.99 USD, £11.50 GBP

About O'Reilly

O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

About MAKE
MAKE is the first magazine devoted entirely to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) technology projects. MAKE unites, inspires, informs, and entertains a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages. MAKE celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your will. MAKE is published quarterly by Maker Media, the division of O'Reilly Media, Inc., that also produces the wildly popular Make: Blog (, CRAFT magazine (, the Maker Shed online store for DIY kits, books, and more (, and the world’s biggest DIY festival, Maker Faire (

“The Maker movement has brought the pre-1970s world of basement workshops and amateur tinkering into the digital age.”
—The New York Times

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