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How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself: A Timeless Activity Guide to Self-Reliant Play and Joyful Solitude (Paperback)

How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself: A Timeless Activity Guide to Self-Reliant Play and Joyful Solitude By Robert Paul Smith, Paul Collins (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Robert Paul Smith, Paul Collins (Introduction by)
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This classic guidebook, with over 100 fully illustrated activities, details everything from paper airplanes to spool tanks to slingshots - teaching children to not only entertain themselves for a minute or two, but a lifetime.

Promoting free-range imagination, hands-on ingenuity, and independent play, Robert Smith’s timeless activity guide reminds parents and children alike that making one’s own fun is the best way to avoid boredom. With easy-to-follow, illustrated directions to hacking household objects into toys and using nature to invent mischievous contraptions, this is a handbook that inspires creative play. From indoor boomerangs, pin pianos, umbrella bow and arrows, peach pit turtles, and clamshell bracelets to quirky, prank-ready contraptions, the wide array of engaging activities provides a great alternative to screen time, fostering independent thinking and joyful curiosity, and a greater appreciation for the simple things in life—both indoor and outdoor. Charming, inspiring, and loads of fun, this spirited book will provide endless enjoyment for children and parents alike.

About the Author

Robert Paul Smith is the author of the best-selling Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing. and of the novels So It Doesn’t Whistle, The Journey, Because of My Love, and The Time and the Place. Smith was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, and graduated from Columbia College in 1936. He worked as a writer with CBS Radio.

Paul Collins is a writer specializing in history, memoir, and unusual antiquarian literature. His nine books have been translated into eleven languages, and include Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books (2003) and The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars (2011). Collins lives in Oregon, where he is chair and professor of English at Portland State University.

Praise For…

Every great book reminds us that we're all alone in the world. At least this one provides us with the means to entertain ourselves while we're here.
— Lemony Snicket

It's what you'd get if you crossed the Boy Scout Handbook with The Anarchist's Cookbook, and it's definitely the wildest how-to manual I've seen this year.
— Greg Cowles, The New York Times Paper Cuts blog

A celebration of makers and hackers from half a century before they were called makers and hackers. How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself is a treat in its totality.

— Brain Pickings

What a joy to give children something they can do without 'hollering for help'...How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself is replete with the sort of fun that childhood should be, and too rarely is.


Had I known about it, Robert Paul Smith's 1958 book, How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself, would have been my Bible. Smith gets down to the nitty-gritty on the first page: 'These are things you can do by yourself,' he writes. 'You don't need any help from your mother or your father or anybody.'

— Laurie Hertzel - the Star Tribune

This classic 1958 guide reintroduces kids to those natural urges that have to turn random objects into crazy great stuff...Readers will love that everything in this book was invented by kids and passed along by kids, that nothing costs money and that each of the projects is a seat-of-the-pants creation.
— Where the Best Books Are!

Product Details
ISBN: 9781941040652
ISBN-10: 1941040659
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: June 6th, 2017
Pages: 136
Language: English