Maybe this isn't news to some of you, but I have only recently discovered the awesomeness that is DIY.org.
From what I've gathered so far, it's kind of like the online answer to why I went to brownies - to earn badges. Only these badges are way cooler. They're chunky, hexagonal, embroidered patches, and you earn them for completing three tasks in a skill area.
You simply upload a video or photo of yourself completing a task, someone reviews it and validates your reward.
Badges are awarded for all kinds of stuff, my kids are keen for the backyard farmer, Lego master and minecrafter badges; but the range is as diverse as architect, bee keeper and dancer to mycologists, geneticist and sys admin!!
Here's a video my kids made for one of their 'backyard farmer' skills.
The only downside to this whole thing is that it's based in the USA. Although their postage charges are very reasonable ($2 to ship to England) it obviously takes a while to get over here. Long enough that Cosmo is questioning me about whether there is a real badge or if it's just on the website (which incidentally, would still be fun to so if you didn't want to invest in the patches...)
Each kid gets their own "stream" of activity which other people can follow, and they can follow others, either to keep up with what a friend is doing, or for inspiration.
The best part is that as a parent, you get a log in too. The site emails me to approve everything my kids upload, so there is little to no chance of anything stupid being naievely posted online - unless you naievely thought it would be okay too, which you can't really blame your kid for...
We think this is awesome, and it's a great boredom buster when you are scratching for ideas to do with the kids. A lot of the skills don't require much equipment and are pitched at several levels, so whilst my backyard farmers are planting celeriac, someone else might be caring for livestock.
Definitely worth a poke around in your free time, and if you do sign up, message me your user name; the kids and I would like to follow you :0)
In unrelated news, lychee has enjoyed drawing cats this week.