Amazing Dad: Mark Frauenfelder

Filed under: Amazing Parents

Mark Frauenfelder, with his wife, Carla, and daughters, Sarina, left, and Jane, make DIY a family affair. Credit: Courtesy Mark Frauenfelder

Amazing Dad:
Mark Frauenfelder, author of several books, including "Made By Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World" and editor-in-chief of Make magazine

Mark's Family: Wife: Carla, married 22 years; Kids: Sarina, 12, Jane, 7

Mark Lives In: Studio City, California

Why Mark Is Amazing: When you think of the do-it-yourself craze, you often picture moms with their glue guns, but dads, including Mark, are also getting in on the action -- and involving their kids in the process.

"I have always been interested in DIY media, like designing and printing 'zines and creating websites and blogs," Mark tells ParentDish. "But I really starting getting interested in DIY in the physical world when I became the editor-in-chief of Make magazine and I came into contact with people who were making all kinds of cool things, like video camera stabilizers, potato cannons, wind turbines, musical instruments and other unique creations. It looked like too much fun to pass up."

It was also a great way to spend times with his two daughters.

"They love to help with food-based activities," Mark says. "Tending to chickens, processing the honey from our beehive,
gardening and making kombucha, yogurt and sauerkraut."

Mark says the DIY family project that was the most fun was building a chicken coop and raising chickens.

"The girls and the chickens really got along well, and the girls loved collecting the eggs each day," he says. "Unfortunately, coyotes ate the chickens. We also built a tree house together and had a great time."

And, it turns out, Mark has learned a thing or two from his daughters along the way.

"I learned that kids have a natural tendency to be curious about tools, materials and processes," he says. "They want to familiarize themselves with things around them in order to get a better understanding of the world. This kind of curiosity
is something that schools should, but often don't, use to educate children."

Want to try taking on some DIY projects of your own with your family? Mark says the first rule is to have patience.

"If your kids are under 10, then having them 'help' you make something means that it's going to take much longer to complete the project," he says. "Relax and enjoy the fact that your kid is learning something, and that you are spending valuable time with your kids and that they are forming memories of you that will last a lifetime. And if they get bored -- which they often will on a long project -- let them wander off and do something else. Sometimes, I will give my younger daughter pieces of scrap wood along with a screwdriver, screws, a small hammer and nails. She loves to join the pieces of wood together to make robots and doll furniture."

Mark's Daughter, Sarina, Says: "The coolest thing about my dad is that he raised pet chickens with me."

Recognition: Mark was named the number three Web Celeb by Forbes in 2008, and has appeared on "The Colbert Report"

Mark's Guilty Pleasure: "Playing Fieldrunners on my iPad," he says. "It is an utterly nonproductive waste of time, but I love it."

Mark's Best Advice: "My advice is to expose your kids to as many different experiences as possible. You never know what is going to ignite their passion."

Related: Amazing Dad: Carnell Cooper

Want to see who else made the list? Click here for the rest of AOL's 2010 Amazing Dads!


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.