Help me be an awesome uncle
May 1, 2008 9:31 AM   Subscribe

My nephew turns 10 soon. I got him The Dangerous book for boys. What else can I add to make it more awesome?

So far I have some rope, string, and a pocket knife (although I am not entirely sure I should give him one). I don't have the book yet (should arrive tomorrow) but if you've given this to someone, what other small items would make this more awesome?
posted by special-k to Shopping (34 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I'd throw in a magnifying glass and/or a roll of duct tape.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:35 AM on May 1, 2008

A ten year old can handle a pocket knife.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:42 AM on May 1, 2008

Learning not to accidentally close one's pocketknife on one's finger is an important rite of passage for a boy!

Magnifying glass as mentioned. Throw in a compass. Perhaps a cheapie pair of folding binoculars.
posted by Drastic at 9:42 AM on May 1, 2008

I meant, with the proper protips, of course.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:43 AM on May 1, 2008

a pocket knife (although I am not entirely sure I should give him one)

Great idea, but definitely run that by the parents first. You can see the table of contents here (click 'table of contents' in the menu on the left - there are two pages in the toc) to get an idea of what projects are outlined in the book, so you can include some supplies. Paper and pens and pencils look like they're needed for a few things. A blank book to record adventures in would be good too. Also looks like quarters and pennies are needed for tricks, and balls for juggling.
posted by iconomy at 9:49 AM on May 1, 2008

yep, every boy should have a Barlow by the time he hits double digits.
posted by dawson at 9:50 AM on May 1, 2008

Definitely pocket knife. Swiss army knives are cool, but not strictly necessary.

If you can get them, take him to blow up some army men with firecrackers. I wouldn't actually give him the firecrackers though.

Model rocket?
posted by electroboy at 9:54 AM on May 1, 2008

My sister gave my boys the The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. (How to escape a mountain lion. How to take a punch.) They loved it.

My boys (who are older) also still think multi-tools are cool.

I think he would like a cool led camp lantern. Or lots of other things in the camping section.
posted by cda at 9:54 AM on May 1, 2008

seconding the survival handbook, and a canteen. I'd forgotten how much delight I got from an old Army canteen. You can get one on the cheap from a Army/Navy store, or order one
How to Stay Alive in the Woods is another cool book. My copy is has a swell orange and green, thick 'rubberized' cover and was published by Black Dog & Leventhal in '01.
I'd like to have a son, but he'd probably prefer dolls and flatware, which would be totally OK.
posted by dawson at 10:08 AM on May 1, 2008

why here's the copy I own...
posted by dawson at 10:10 AM on May 1, 2008

A small (pocket or keychain version) of a Gerber or Leatherman multi-tool might be a good alternative if you decide not to go with pocketknife (the tools have a knife but they're small).
posted by peep at 10:16 AM on May 1, 2008

The American Boys Handy Book by Daniel Beard is great.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:18 AM on May 1, 2008

I think i read Survival with Style by Bradford Angier about 50 times at age 10.
posted by chr1sb0y at 10:18 AM on May 1, 2008

Oh oh oh I know, I know! My son just got this and I think it is really cool. It's called the Gyro Ring, and it's simple, just a big metal wheel with 5 washers on it. You spin the washers really fast, and then try to keep them turning on the Gyro Ring by spinning the big wheel towards you.
posted by misha at 10:23 AM on May 1, 2008

n-Thing a pocket knife if he doesn't already have one. Also, tools that most 10-yr olds don't have (or have access to). For instance, my parents bought me an electric engraver for Christmas when I was about 10. Even though I never really had much occasion to use it, it was one of the best gifts ever.

More ideas...

a woodburner
a file set
or a hidden wall safe

You might also get some ideas from this TED talk.
posted by stuboo at 10:23 AM on May 1, 2008

posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:26 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hell yeah. More specifically the Black Widow catapult.
posted by dmt at 10:44 AM on May 1, 2008

Just chiming in to say...

Give him the knife, as long as his parents are ok with it.

My six-year-old handles his knife just fine. He hasn't even cut himself...yet. But you know, that'll happen, and it's no big deal.
posted by SlyBevel at 10:51 AM on May 1, 2008

He'll need a backpack to carry his book, rope, knife, and assorted treasures in.

My husband says that a backpack, a stick, some rope or string, and a box of chalk are all the toys a boy will ever need and I can't say that I disagree with him.
posted by anastasiav at 10:52 AM on May 1, 2008

Nthing the pocket knife as a great idea. A few bars of Ivory soap are good for learning how to carve with it, too.

I'm a girl and I got a pocket knife for my 10th Christmas. I still have it -- it was my prize possession, and I'm a Careful Girl.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:56 AM on May 1, 2008

At that age, I loved having a pair of rubber nunchaku. Might want to run it by his parents first, though. I accidentally hit my sister with them and got them taken away, but man, while I had them, I felt awesome.
posted by ignignokt at 11:11 AM on May 1, 2008

You mention you already have rope and string, but how about some Paracord?
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:44 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you get him a pocketknife, make sure it has a locking blade.

That's probably a good idea if you get yourself a pocketknife too.
posted by springo at 11:45 AM on May 1, 2008

Some handkerchiefs embroidered with his initials, in case as the book says, he has to comfort weeping girls.

Also, I don't remember if any of the projects in the book call for this, but along with the rope, some pulleys, carineers (however the hell you spell it) and some stretchy cable-type ropes will be useful.
posted by odragul at 12:05 PM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

stretchy cable-type ropes
Bungee cord, dammit, I don't know why I couldn't think of that.

And that should be caribiners (or however you spell it).

After reading the table of contents, I'd add in a basic tool kit (looks like a lot of building going on) and, maybe, a chess set.
posted by odragul at 12:07 PM on May 1, 2008

I got a wood-burning kit for Christmas when I was 10. Used it once and gave up. (Wish I had it now, though!)


If knife, then First Aid kit.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:10 PM on May 1, 2008

I had a chemistry set when I was around that age and absolutely loved it. I was, however, a huge nerd. Okay, okay, am a huge nerd.

I think you (and the other suggestions) are on the right track; a compass came to mind, so I'll second that. Anything to encourage creativity and exploration.
posted by SamuelF at 12:27 PM on May 1, 2008

IANAB (not a boy) but I had and loved a microscope when I was a kid. It let me examine the world up-close like.
posted by workerant at 2:56 PM on May 1, 2008

Seconding harmonica, and possibly a TV-B-Gone
posted by saxamo at 2:57 PM on May 1, 2008

How about a pinhole camera? You can make one (maybe with him) fairly easily. Then he can capture all of his adventures on film.
posted by MeeMaMN at 3:04 PM on May 1, 2008

Knife, First Aid kit (mine was Army type), a Zippo lighter and fluid... some metal tennis ball cans to make a bazooka. (the lighter fluid and a couple of cans can launch a tennis ball over the neighbors house... much fun). Tennis balls with a little slit cut in them and stuffed with pennies and sealed with duct tape are the best juggling things around, heavy and they don't roll away when you drop them.

Model rockets are great... we duct-taped the engines to everything we had that would roll or float (model cars, plastic boats, etc.). BB-Gun. A footlocker with a nice big lock.

They used to make those 101 electronics experiment sets with a board that had a couple of chips and transistors and solar panels and resistors and a bunch of wires that you could hook up and play with.

Oh, and one of those crack lighters, you know the ones... nice hot blue flame...

My sister is going to beat me when my nephews get a little bit older... Bad uncle.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:05 PM on May 1, 2008

I had these miniature Binoculars when I was about that age. They were awesome.

Also, for dangerous boys, my fondest memories of growing up all involve the 3 man surgical tubing water balloon launcher.
posted by clearly at 4:10 PM on May 1, 2008

I got the same book for my little brother's 10th birthday, and then a pocket knife for Christmas. He loved them both. The next gift on my list is a balsa wood airplane kit.
posted by twirlypen at 4:22 PM on May 1, 2008

Seconding the model rockets. Oh man, I'd wake my dad up every saturday morning crack of dawn to go launch rockets.

I'd also suggest a magnifying glass or a microscope.
posted by Freen at 8:25 AM on May 2, 2008

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