Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
May 1st, 2012 by Lizz
Summer Camp Spotlight and Giveaway
Is it really true that it’s May already? It’s hard to believe how fast this year has gone by. We at Bricks 4 Kidz have been really busy with our after school LEGO® Lab program since January. Now that the end of the school year is fast approaching, we’re in full on “summer camp” mode, gearing up for our week-long, half day camps in June and July. We have partnered with the Lakota Family YMCA in Liberty Twp. and the Mason Community Center to offer these camps through their facilities.
Our family is SO EXCITED to bring these camps to our area. The camps will be, in a word, awesome. The camps were one of the main reasons we started Bricks 4 Kidz — wanting to bring a unique and educational camp experiences to our neighbors in the community. As you make your summer plans, I’d like to take this opportunity to answer some questions that have come up about our camps.
What goes on during a B4K summer camp?
A ton! Each day at camp, kids will build some of our motorized models and then change them, adapt them, and develop them in new ways. The kids will have the chance to design vehicles and buildings that relate to the camp theme using what they have learned to think though the design and engineering of their creation. We also make sure that they aren’t just sitting still the whole time! We mix up the building time with physical games and challenges that relate to our theme.
What are the B4K summer camp themes?
This year we’re offering two exciting camp themes.
There’s no question that kids are obsessed with Star Wars and have been for over 30 years now! The timelessness of those movies reflect the passion kids have for discovering other worlds and adventure beyond our own. What a great way to introduce them to the history of space travel and get them thinking about what the future holds. In Space Adventures camp, kids will learn all about what kind of training is involved for astronauts; the different vehicles we have used to blast off into space and to do research in space; and what space travel may look like when they are adults. As they design their own space crafts, they will have to take into consideration the lack of atmosphere and gravity and other challenges in engineering.
What family doesn’t enjoy a trip to the amusement park in the summer? Have your kids ever asked you about how the rides are designed? Have they ever told you an idea they have for a new ride? Amusement Park camp gives kids the opportunity to collaborate with other students to design their very own amusement park out of LEGO, complete with motorized rides, turnstiles, ticket booths, and more. Each day, kids will build rides for their mini-figure that make them spin, roll, and rock. They can take the model plan we give them and innovate it to create their own thrills. They will consider engineering and safety challenges in designing amusement park rides. On the final day of camp, students put together all they have learned and design an entire amusement park which the parents will get to tour when they pick up their kids.
What do the campers get to take home?
On the first day of every camp, the kids will each have a turn at our “mini-figure factory” where they will create their own custom mini-figure. They get to select each piece, choosing from a variety of heads, bodies, legs, hair, and hats. All week, the campers will use that mini-figure during the building, games and challenges. On the last day, as a fun souvenir to remember a great week of camp, they will get to bring their mini-figure home. We also will give out Bricks 4 Kidz summer camp shirts.
When are the camps and how do I register?
Space Adventures Camp is at the Lakota Y from June 11-15 and at the Mason Community Center from June 25-29. Amusement Park Camp is July 16-20 at the Lakota Y and July 23-27 at the Mason Community Center. We offer morning (9am-noon) and afternoon (1-4pm) sessions each week. To register for our camps, you must work directly with the Lakota Family YMCA or the Mason Community Center. You can mail or call in registration to the Lakota Y (check here for more information). The Mason Community Center offers on site registration at 6050 Mason Montgomery Rd. or you can register through their website. We keep our camp groups smaller to ensure students get plenty of attention from the instructors and full access to our supplies so keep in mind that space is very limited!
Now for the giveaway!
As we kick off the camp season, we’d like to have a fun giveaway. Leave a comment below telling us what your family is most looking forward to this summer for a chance to win LEGO® City Town Car and Caravan! Winner will be selected at random on Wednesday, May 9. Best of luck!
March 12th, 2012 by Lizz
Last week my family and I had the opportunity to visit Legoland, Florida! It was a great overall experience for everyone. I will say up front that, although LEGO® is a big part of Bricks 4 Kidz, we are not officially affiliated with the LEGO® Group of companies and therefore I get no discounts or incentives to review anything LEGO® related. I just do it for fun!
We ordered our tickets online and had a McDonald’s coupon that got our kids in free. Well worth it! If you have family in Florida, have them look out for deals like this. Our extended family bought their tickets at Publix and saved $10 each but those tickets wouldn’t get them though the gate, they still had to wait in line at the ticket booth. That was unexpected and a little annoying.
First off, I hate to start with a negative, but the hours of Legoland are painfully short. The park is just open from 10:00am to 5:00pm. That meant, since we were traveling from Tampa, that the best way to maximize our time there was to battle rush hour traffic — both ways! We also learned that the week we were in Florida that they were closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I think that probably is changing now that the spring break season is upon us but, if you plan to go, make sure you check their calendar.
We arrived shortly before 10:00am and, at the advice of a friend, made a bee-line to the back of the park where some of the more popular rides are. It is really hard to not stop and look at things along the way. There are a ton of amazing “LEGO® sculptures” all over the park.
The rides were fun but definitely geared toward younger kids. If you’re a hard core roller coaster fanatic then you will likely be disappointed. The good news is that my daughter, who is just 5, was tall enough for every ride in the park.
We started with the Coastersaurus which is a fun wooden coaster. They only run one car at a time so I’m glad we got to this one first. I imagine that the line would be pretty long on a busier day. We then headed over to Flying School, a suspended coaster. This one was fun and there was no wait. After that, my 8 year old son waited in line for Driving School with Daddy and his uncle. That line was terribly long and my brother-in-law was disappointed to find out that adults didn’t get to drive! He waited in that long line for nothing!
Meanwhile, I took my daughter to Junior Driving School for kids aged 3-5. There was no wait for this and she enjoyed getting to have her own car. Then she went to Boating School with her aunt and had fun on that as well.
After that we headed to LEGO® Technic area where we rode the LEGO® Technic Coaster. This was, by far, the most exciting ride in the park. It was fast with a lot of drops, twists and turns. The line was about 10 minutes long.
After a quick lunch stop we headed over to the water ski show. This was pretty cute. My kids enjoyed it but I would have liked to see more acrobatics from the skiers. After that we visited the Clutch Powers 4D Movie. This was very fun for all of us. Worth the half hour.
From there we did a little shopping and then went over to LEGO® Kingdoms where the kids road the Royal Joust, my daughter played in The Forestmen’s Hideout, and we all road The Dragon. The Dragon starts with a tour though a castle filled with medieval scenes made entirely of LEGO® bricks. Pretty cool. The rest of the ride is a traditional coaster.
Finally we headed to Land of Adventure where we went on the Lost Kingdom Adventure, where each person gets to shoot lasers at targets. Very fun! The kids then rode the Beetle Bounce and spent a ton of time at Pharaoh’s Revenge while the grown ups were happy to relax. I’m not sure what’s involved with Pharaoh’s Revenge but it was fun for both my kids and we welcomed the break!
Then, we started to make our way to the exit. We took a slow walk through Miniland USA which you have to see to believe. Imagine landmarks like the Kennedy Space Center, the Las Vegas Strip, the Golden Gate Bridge and Times Square created to scale out of LEGO® pieces. It was quite a site to behold!
We made a last minute stop at Island in the Sky, a ride that has been there since Legoland was Cypress Gardens. This was a relaxing way to end our day.
We had a really good time but due to the short hours of the park were not able to ride every ride or experience every area of the park. We were fortunate to go on a day that was not terribly crowded. Had it been busy, I’m sure we would have missed a lot due to waiting in line.
I’m glad we went while our kids are young (8 and 5). I think kids over age 11 probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much.
I was a little disappointed in the gift shop selections. We were hoping to find unique LEGO® items that are only sold at Legoland. Instead, we found the same sets as you would find in a department store only more expensive.
Legoland has a lot of land and will likely develop it more over the next few years. This May, they will open a water park on site which will probably be great for the kids. I hope they plan to increase their hours as well.
If you have any questions about our trip, I’d love to help! We were glad to have the advice of friends before we went and welcome to opportunity to pay it forward!
January 27th, 2012 by LizzThis seems to be a universal problem among parents of LEGO® fanatics. Where do we keep all of them and how can I avoid stepping on them barefoot? I wish I had a fantastic answer. Instead, I just have a list of imperfect options. Below is a list of the options for storing and organizing LEGO® pieces: Sort by color. This was the way we tried to go. I mean, it makes sense, even a 4 year old knows their colors. I bought cute little clear plastic boxes and carefully used my labeling machine to assign a color to each box. Then, my son and I spent a couple good hours of our lives sorting the bricks. It was beautiful and lasted approximately 2 days. At that point he started to build, take apart, and build again. He didn’t want to waste his precious time sorting pieces by color. We ended up where we started, a jumbled mass of bricks. If you really like this method, go for it, just understand that you might be the one to maintain it. Sort by set. I think this might work for an older LEGO® fan. Once a set has been built, played with, and then taken apart, you can put all the pieces and the instructions together to build again another day. Sounds nice. However, this would never work in my house. One of the most wonderful things about LEGO is that the pieces can all be used together in different ways. Sets get intertwined to make original creations and they never get back in order again. If you have a child that only like building the sets as they’re designed, this might be effective. I, however, do not have that child. Sort by size. There’s a product out there that allows you to toss all your LEGO® bricks into the top, then you shake it around and the smallest pieces fall to the bottom and the next smallest live above that section and the next smallest above that, etc., until they all happily live in their segregated apartment building. This I have not tried but I’m skeptical. I don’t really see the benefit of sorting by size. If you’ve tried this and love it, I’d like to hear about it. Have a LEGO “zone.” We’ve somewhat landed on this option. The table that used to belong to Thomas and his friends is now the LEGO® table. I have put some plastic drawer units underneath for spare parts and that’s where my kids do most of their building. It’s the most effective method I’ve found yet is far from perfect. The creations they put together are meant to be played with and sometimes they want to play with them in their room, or the kitchen, or the family room. We still end up with bricks everywhere but, at least on clean up day, they all end up back in the “zone.” One Big Tub O’LEGO®. The final method, and perhaps the easiest, is to have a large Rubbermaid bin that all pieces live in happily together. It might get dumped occasionally but at least everyone knows where they belong. I imagine that the small parts are forgotten since they live at the bottom of this mass but maybe that doesn’t matter to your child. If your children are happy using whatever bricks they find to create a masterpiece this could work. If you have a child that must find “that one particular piece” this could be a nightmare and you could be spending way too much time refilling this bin. I would love to know: What do you do in your house to store LEGO® bricks?
January 19th, 2012 by LizzI’m sure my son has gotten tired of my speech about LEGO® but here it is in a nutshell: “I know you’re upset that your Star Wars XWCP-2394 H-Wing-Blaster-Fighter-Jet broke and you don’t know where the instructions are or how to fix it. When I was little I didn’t even know LEGO® sets came with instructions. My LEGO® collection consisted of a huge box of random pieces handed down from my big brother that I had to use my imagination to assemble into whatever I wanted. Why don’t you use your imagination now to make that broken set into something of your own?” Usually, that speech doesn’t work to appease my son but the truth of it remains. When you don’t know what the LEGO® bricks are supposed to be, you make them whatever you want. Therefore, LEGO® bricks in general are gender-neutral. The same bricks that make a space ship can be configured to make a cafe or a beauty shop. HOWEVER, there’s no doubt that the sets over the years have been much more appealing to boys. My daughter has no interest in pretending that aliens are attacking or in making sure that Jack Sparrow’s ship is in ship-shape. She doesn’t know or care what a droid is or how Luke and Leia are related. She doesn’t want to master the art of “Spinjitzu.” Throwing a few female mini-figures into these sets doesn’t change her overall disinterest in them. What she knows is what’s pretty, what’s pink, what’s cute, and what’s fun. This is where LEGO® friends come in. Not being much of a girly-girl growing up, I’ve learned a lot from having a daughter who is ALL GIRL. She’s making me experience the girly-girl childhood I never had. To be honest, it’s great fun. She decided to spend her Christmas money on a few LEGO® friends sets and, being quite the LEGO® family, I was all for it. First off, LEGO friends IS about building as much as playing. The sets we’ve assembled are as challenging as any Star Wars set. We worked together to complete the beauty shop and my 5 year old daughter build the convertible car largely on her own, and was quite proud of the result. The mini-figures are different — cuter and more detailed in the faces – kind of “Polly Pocket-esque” (new vocabulary for the day). LEGO® purists are not happy about this. I think maybe we should just lighten up a bit and see what the girls think. As far as my daughter is concerned, they’re awesome. Like anything else, not all parents or all girls will be into LEGO® Friends but I applaud the effort LEGO® has put forth. Girls often get left behind when it comes to building toys and the development benefits of building toys should be enjoyed by every family, be they more “blue” or “pink.” WE WANT TO KNOW: What do you think of LEGO®’s latest effort to reach girls?
January 15th, 2012 by Lizz