- Free Range Parenting is a great movement against helicopter parenting and helps parents raise more independent and resilient children. There’s a profile of Lenore Skenazy, the head of the movement, in the New Yorker and a clip of her on The Daily Show. She currently runs Letgrow.org.
Science & Math
- Valance and Chemistry Fluxx are fun games for kids and adults that also teach basic chemistry concepts.
- Dragonbox makes a set of iPhone games that teach kids algebra, geometry, and addition. The games are very intuitive and my kids were able to learn algebra and geometry concepts in early elementary school.
- Steve Spangler is this generation’s Mr. Wizard. I especially like his work on Ellen and his series DIY SCI that’s available on Amazon Prime.
- This is a great video that shows what it means for gravity to bend space.
- Festival of the Spoken Nerd and Stand Up Maths are great science and math shows for adults. Take a look at this amazing video of spreadsheets to see what this is all about
- Math Antics is a great YouTube channel on K-12 math topics
- A Math Love Poem
- Benny’s Rules is a famous math education paper, part of a set of “Disaster Papers,” on how individualized instruction measured in an automated way can go horribly wrong.
- StellarNova is a fun site for science parents. I enjoyed building a hexaflexagon and look forward to making juice spheres.
- Non Transitive Dice are 4 dice that given any one die, you can find another die that will on average beat the first die. However, there’s no “best” die. It’s like the game rock, paper, scissors. Warren Buffett and Ed Thorpe are both fans of non-transitive dice.
- Penny Magic is a set of strong magnets, British pennies, and an instruction guide that you can use to do some pretty awesome things.
- The Kid Should See This has a great holiday gift guide.
- The kids have been having a lot of fun playing cards. We even learned to play Texas Holdem with these cheap poker chips. We also got some waterproof cards to play with by the pool. These cards are awesome but the case is made of paper (so bad stuff happens). These cards have a great case but the cards easily scuff and stick together. (added 2020)
Videos, Books, and Other Media
- The Chompers Podcast was created specifically for kids to listen during their morning and night tooth brushing. It’s engaging and exactly the right length to brush their teeth.
- If you want to mesmerize kids with innocuous videos, try dominoes falling down
- The Kid Should See This is a weekly collection of videos that are inspiring for kids and parents.
- Comic books aren’t just about superheroes anymore. Jim Ottaviani has done a series of graphic novels as science biographies. His Feynman biography is superb. I’ve also enjoyed Primates (about the path-creating female primatologists) with my kids.
- We’ve using instructional placemats at home for years. My favorites are maps of the continents. The placemats all look similar but everyone gets a different continent. I also like the periodic table, the Presidents, and country flags.
- The Slow Mo Guys show what happens to various things in slow motion like a fire tornado or a 6-foot balloon popping. They now have the show Planet Slomo on YouTube which includes videos of things like getting hit in the face by a flying fish in slow motion.
- When it’s hard for the kids to get through a book, we bought an audiobook and a print copy of the book (or borrowed them from the library) so they can follow along. One great set is the Ramona Quimby Collection narrated by Stockard Channing.
- The audio versions of Dr. Seuss books narrated by celebrities They are amazing.
- I was watching Fiddler on the Roof recently. When it came out in the 1950s, it was a portrait of life in Russia that was completely destroyed by the Holocaust. I also started watching Brooklyn Bridge, Gary David Goldberg (Family Ties), show about growing up in 1950’s Brooklyn. I realized that since watching the show in my teens, it’s been my vision of the 1950s that my parents grew up in. There are great episodes about interfaith dating (Episode 7: “War of the Worlds”), working (Episode 12: “Get a Job), The Brooklyn Dodgers (episode 13: “Where Have You Gone, Jackie Robinson?”), the Holocaust (episode 28: “The Last Immigrant). Unfortunately, you can’t stream it now, but episodes appear to be available on YouTube.
- What if Millie Dresselhaus, female scientist, were treated like a celebrity. Dresselhaus was the first woman to secure a full professorship at MIT and was awarded the National Medal of Science, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (bestowed by President Barack Obama), the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience, the Enrico Fermi prize and dozens of honorary doctorates. She died earlier this year right after the commercial came out.
- People are Awesome is an amazing YouTube channel compiling amazing things that people do. Here’s the best of 2017.
- The kids and I listened to The Phantom Tollbooth, narrated by Rainn Wilson from The Office. The book is a beautiful fantasy of a young boy Milo who walks through the world of logic puzzles and paradoxes. It’s one book that speaks to the science nerd through literature.
- I was at the school book fair and saw, Emmy in the Key of Code. It’s one of the strangest books I’ve ever seen, trying to combine poetry, music, and coding into a novel. The author, a Silicon Valley coder, manages to pull it off and it comes off like a bit of kids version of Goedel, Escher, Bach.
Note: I have additional items here from 2016.