Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun

Joshua Glenn, the co-founder of multiple websites, and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, a writer and editor, teamed up to create Unbored:The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun. After reading this unique field guide, I predict you will...

1.  share weird facts about condiments with random people; 

2. encourage everyone to play coin hockey; 

3. shoot and edit a stop-action movie; 

4. make solar iced tea; 

5. experiment in the kitchen; 

6. practice making "hospital corners."  

Joshua and Elizabeth graciously agreed to complete my sentence starters about Unbored. I wrote the words in red, and they wrote the words in black. Thank you, Joshua and Elizabeth! 

Unbored encourages kids and families to get excited about trying something new, whether it’s making (safe) explosions with common pantry ingredients, logging on to the web to do field work for scientists, or reading a classic YA novel that’s currently off the cultural radar. 

Source: via Unbored on Pinterest

Hands-on activities celebrate the process over the product. In an age where kids are constantly tested and drilled and specializing in sports and instruments at increasingly younger ages, we believe it’s important for young people to learn that there is often no single right answer and that discovering multiple solutions to a problem teaches you more about the world and how it works. 

Everyone should make time to hack a board game, by which we mean take a familiar set of rules and give it your own twist. Some kids put Scrabble tiles in a grab bag, call out a trivia questions, pull out a letter, and then compete to find an answer that starts with that letter. Others take LEGO minifigures or American Girl Doll accessories or army men or seashells to use as game pieces on a Monopoly or Chutes and Ladders board. Then they create an entirely new game inspired by those game pieces. The point is to understand that there are ways to live and explore that fall outside of the parameters marketers can sometimes try to put on childhood experiences.  

If you told me you were bored we’d tell you to go outside and spend five minutes looking around your immediate surrounding. That tree in your yard is just waiting for you to rub an etching of its bark or have a blanket thrown over a branch to create a fort. If you’re cold, then we guarantee you won’t be bored trying to find a way to get warm. 

Kids are drawn to field guides because they are starting to figure out who they are as separate from their parents. Field Guides can be trusted friends that kids go to time and again when they need guidance, support, information, or just a good laugh. 

It is essential to let go of perfectionism. We make a point in Unbored of choosing activities that are funky and homespun because that’s what almost all crafts that aren’t created by professional stylists look like. 

Reading is so much more than boring school assignments. It’s a window into history, science, humor, imagination, emotion, adventure, and yourself. We don’t just prize novels and nonfiction, although we are voracious readers of both. We also love comic books, graphic novels, cookbooks, magazines, websites, newsletters—even artfully conceived catalogs. 

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about our event at PowerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, NY on December 16 from 3:00 to 4:00. We were supposed to be there on November 10 but the store and some of its stock—including some copies of Unbored—were damaged due to flooding. We’d love everyone who can to come and support this wonderfully creative stalwart of the book community. 

I am giving away one copy of Unbored. 

Rules for the Giveaway

1. It will run from 11/16/12 to 11:59 p.m. on 11/18/12. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Borrow Unbored from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops


  1. Introduce "Unbored" with "I'm Bored" by Michael Ian Black and let imaginations take off! Reading this blog post brought back memories of my childhood when we "hacked" board games (who knew there was a term for it?) and tried to decipher the "codes" in all the painted markings on the streets (sewer and electrical flagging) and mixed "stink potions" from all the leftover scents and cosmetics in the medicine cabinet and created hideouts under the weeping willow and furnished a four floor townhouse out of an empty bookcase and....


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