8 Dad & Kid Summer Activities For Technophiles

Contribute post by Luke West

Are you ready for the summer break? The summer holiday offers a fantastic opportunity for dads and their kids to bond over common activities. Of course, you could plan a day out at the beach or spend the afternoon sliding into the water at your local fun pool – and nothing should stop you from packing a lot of sporty time together in your schedule. But there is more to bonding than splashing happily in the water. Why not use a common interest to connect, and maybe help your kid to develop their passion along the way? 

Tech gadgets and constructions can be a lot of fun. Every child loves to figure out how the world around them works and how to make sense of it. Unfortunately, we live in a world that encourages technophiles to turn technophobic. Don’t do that. Don’t touch that. 

Photo by  Derek Thomson

Photo by Derek Thomson

At an age when they should be playing with tech, kids are advised to stay away from it. Technology and technical solutions will be part of their future, and therefore engaging early with it can encourage children to feel more confident about their skills while nurturing their unique relationship with you. Whether you’ve got a knack for video games or you’re good with your hands, there are plenty of tech hobbies you could share this summer. Here is a short list of 8 tech programs to keep you and your children entertained this summer. It’s time to get your screwdrivers and thinking caps on; the summer of tech is about to begin! 

Photo by  Kelly Sikkema

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Create a new world together

There is nothing wrong with playing video games during the summer, as long as you make sure it is the only thing you do together this summer! Ultimately, everyone needs to stay active and spend some time outside to maintain both physical and mental health. But, spending some time building your own universe to play together and making a cyber world could be a creative bond you’ll share forever. Minecraft is a fantastic option for teens who already have their smartphone device to play with you. If you want to start building a world in Minecraft, you’ll need to set up your own PE server with this handy guideline. Minecraft allows players to be creative; you can find brilliant examples online of players who have built a replica of Hogwarts castle or some of the most famous streets in Paris, for instance. However, be careful as this means you need to protect your smartphone, especially if you’re going to play outdoors. Never go out without a screen protector and a reliable case! 

Spend a day flying

If you are keen to spend more time in the open and enjoy the cooling summer breeze together, flying a drone is the thing you want to be doing with your kid. If you are up for a challenge, you should consider purchasing one of those self-built drone kits for beginners that can be a fantastic idea to make your child aware of some of the most commonly used rules of physics and motoring engineering. Drones are especially entertaining: Who doesn’t love the idea of flying? Being able to fly your own device and even use it to follow the surrounding wildlife – as long as you’re very careful not to disturb animals – can be an amazing adventure to share with your kid. Besides, if you strap a camera to the drone – you’ll need at least a sturdy quadcopter to support the weight of the camera – you can watch your wildlife documentary films in the evening! 

Build a computer together

We live in a world of computers, laptops, wifi-connected phones. It is inconceivable to imagine achieving anything with a tech device. But it doesn’t mean that you and your kid should pick an easy solution. Why buy a computer when you can build your own? Raspberry Pi lets hundreds of enthusiastic people build exciting gadgets. You can start with a small project together – the RP website is full of brilliant advice, and there’s a ton of tutorials online to guide you. Or, if you’re feeling confident, you could tackle more challenging projects, such as the entertaining board that this dad made for his young son. There’s even a panel where a toy dinosaur makes a phone call to the kid! Depending on your child’s age, you might need to opt for something a little more complicated, such as building a clock and weather screen that updates automatically. 

Photo by  Sherman Yang

Photo by Sherman Yang

Take your kid to a race they’ll never forget

Name someone who doesn’t love fun car races! Red Bull soapbox races are hugely popular all around the world because they are the perfect mix of creativity, tech know-how, and adrenalin. While children can’t join the big Red Bull race, there’s nothing that says you can’t throw your own racing event in your backyard. Building a small and safe racing car is a delicate art to master. The truth is that while you can take inspiration from the TV show for the designs, you should make sure to invest a lot of time and attention to the inner mechanics of your vehicle. It is a brilliant way for your kid to learn about some of the rules of physics, such as how to maintain balance while remaining quick and light.  

Build a Tardis inside their bedroom

If your child loves sci-fi shows, now is the best time to give their bedroom a makeover and bring their some of their favorite characters to play. For fans of the Doctor – Doctor Who show by the BBC – there could be nothing more iconic that bringing the time machine of the Doctor, the Tardis, directly into their bedroom. If you’re worried about your DIY skills, you can pick an easy approach, and pain their wardrobe to look like the Tardis, a blue police box from the 1940s. If you are happy to sit down and plan something extraordinary together, you should take a look at the brilliant creation for this Australian homeowner, who’s turned an entire room of his house into a control room for the Tardis. You could find a way to build a small Tardis console that can serve as a desk when your kid needs to do their homework, for instance. 

Photo by  Joe Neric

Photo by Joe Neric

Sit down together and reinvent time

Have you heard of the decimal clock? It was an invention during revolutionary France in the late 18th century. The French population used the 1789 Revolution to reject some of the lesser scientific ways of measuring units – of time, distance, etc. During that period, they created the metric system to track distances, which were until then measured by the length of the King’s body and therefore prone to change. The decimal clock appeared as a way to apply the metric logic to time. Thus, the 12-hour clock became a 10-hour clock where one minute lasts 100 seconds. While the idea was soon abandoned, you can still find antiques in the decimal system. Why not build your very own decimal clock together by following this helpful tutorial? It’s a lot easier than it sounds, and you’ll be sure to keep both your brains ticking! Besides, it’ll be like creating a secret language with your kid: I pick you up at 6:66, instead of 4 PM! 

Create a bird hotel with a camera

When the weather is scorching hot, you’ll find that even the wildlife struggle to stay cool. You can help your local birds by building a small bird hotel together, which will provide shelter at night and can stay cool with the appropriate ventilation and placement. It’s a fantastic opportunity to encourage your child to understand how to measure and prepare materials to create something suitable. You could also keep the hotel’s supply in fresh water and seeds in check, using a camera to record when the birds are in. 

Photo by  Craig Whitehead

Make breakfast together

Last but not least, anyone who grew up watching Doctor Emmet Brown from Back to the Future has dreamed of a breakfast machine that can prepare a scrumptious feast for you in the morning. Start the project with a movie evening together – or maybe a few evenings, there are three movies, after all – and a notepad. The breakfast machine makes a couple of apparition in the present and the past. This is a project for excellent engineering thinking – but you can also use a Raspberry Pi to set up the timing and controls. If you prefer an entirely mechanical and electronic approach, take a look at this brilliant machine that has cost his designer over 1,000 hours to build. A small programming computer can speed up the building process dramatically; there are plenty of enthusiastic coders online who can support you. 

Tech offers a world of opportunities, whether you love a digital project or a more hands-on mechanical engineering task. There is a lot you and your kid can gain in the process. Not only is there a lot of pride and satisfaction in building something together, but it is also a brilliant way to turn the summer into a bonding exercise with a lot of memories to share! 

By Luke West

Cover Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🇬🇧