Posts Tagged “LEGO”

Historical Scenes Built With Legos

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While this post contains affiliate links, and a sample copy of Brick History was provided for the purpose of this review, the opinions expressed within are strictly my own. #Sponsored

Brick History Profile Pic

 

We love Lego building sets as much as the next family. We love history. So when given the opportunity to check out Brick History, featuring 50 of the most pivotal historic moments in time…yeah we got a little excited. The detail in these scenes is incredible and what’s really nice is that the author, Warren Elsmore, including smaller building projects with step by step directions/illustrations. This is a pretty cool way to get kids thinking about history or enhancing some Social Studies topics. In fact, as I write this review sitting at McDonald’s, a little boy approx 3 1/2 years old sits across from me, completely mesmerized with the pirate ship scene. The book comes with 2 tear out posters of Lego scenes… I can’t help but give them to him. 😉

Brick History Pic

There are 45 larger dioramas and 30 buildable projects to give you the best of both worlds. There are four chapters and an incredible introductory section that offers tips on building, cleaning and even photographing your Lego creations. Again, pretty cool. The chapters are outlined below as described in the press release March, 2016.

  • Prehistory and the Birth of Civilization—The Big Bang, the very first Olympic Games, and the Norman conquest of England
  • Renaissance and the Age of Empire—the invention of the Gutenberg Printing Press, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and the Mayflower’s journey to America
  • 19th Century—the California Gold Rush, the abolition of slavery following the Civil War, and Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone
  • 20th Century and Beyond—the Wright brothers’ first flight, the sinking of the Titanic, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton

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4 Solutions for Busting Boredom

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Boredom Buster with Pley

Boredom Buster with Pley

We’ve all been there… wanting to do something but not knowing what. Or having only a few minutes to ourselves… or the opposite: having all day and not knowing what to do with it. Our children face boredom all the time too. Sometimes it is due to over-stimulation, having too much in front of them and too many options. That’s why my first suggestion for busting boredom is a huge hit.

1. One of the most effective things I’ve found to work is simply laying out an activity, make an executive decision and go all out. This technique is better received with younger children… but it is effective at all ages. Sometimes just getting starting with something is too daunting… we’ve all been there. Pre-select an activity like an art project, construction play, or a board game.  The key is to have all the materials set out in advance, so for Playdoh have those ridiculously tight lids removed and accessories displayed, for game play have the board assembled and game set for the first player’s turn (review the instructions beforehand), and for art projects have all the art supplies handy (and perhaps a couple samples for inspiration).

2. Here’s a suggestion that can be difficult to accommodate at times: play WITH your child. Work with her/him to create a super cool HexBug design or build out a 3D mega Lego scene. Playing dolls or racing cars with them really helps to stimulate creativity and engagement. I’ve found that just 20 mins of playtime with my daughter can often lead to hours of her continuing to play on her own. Something about starting that storyline and setting the stage that really takes off… even when I have to take off for other responsibilities.

Pley Solution for Boredom

3. Now, here’s one my husband is extremely good at… getting into character. Wow – does this take play time into another dimension. He’s creative with voices and sound effects, while I would be more in line with “dressing the part”. Either way, it totally enhances the experience.

Boredom busters with Pley

4. This last suggestion is the best “break through the boredom” solution. Pley.com is a subscription based service that affords your child the opportunity to try new toys over and over. We’ve done a couple campaigns with Pley, highlighting benefits like keeping clutter to a minimum and reducing a family’s carbon footprint by recycling and sharing toys… but seriously the best and main reason for subscribing to Pley is the concept of renting toys, turning over fresh play ideas and never getting bored… and of course saving yourself from the hassle of missing pieces forgotten at the bottom of the toy box.

While this is a sponsored post, we truly believe a relationship with Pley is an ingenious idea and solution to many aspects of parenting (including investing in toys that our children too quickly outgrow).  Pley offers a monthly or annual subscription service, super easy inventory management system, free return shipping and even an option to buy if your child absolutely falls in love with the toy. Keep the rented toy for as long as your child is interested in playing and return it to receive another item from your list. See… perfect for managing boredom and sparking an interest in STEM and construction building (they offer over 300 Lego variations, plus much much more).

breaking boredom with Pley

The infamous “I’m bored” is a huge pet-peeve of mine… so I’m always curious about successful ways to keep children engaged. Share with me your boredom busters below in the comments.

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Fool Proof Solutions For Managing Toys & Avoiding Missing Pieces

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We are very excited to be partnered with Pley, as this is a sponsored article. As always, the content expressed herein is genuine and of my own opinion. This article contains affiliate links.

Fool proof solutions for managing toys

The holiday season was a blast and with it, especially this year, came a variety of new toys and games. I think this was the most exciting toy year in a long long time. If you hadn’t seen our toy guide, be sure to check it out… it still makes a great resource for birthday gift ideas and such. So with the New Year started and that holiday toy rush behind us, now we must think about ways for managing toys and stay organized.

Regardless if you are a traditional “big” Christmas kind of family or one that keeps it simple, we can all agree that containing the “bits and pieces” can be something of a challenge. Taking a poll… how many new toys or games are already missing pieces???  We methodically plan our shopping lists, carefully stash the gift surprises, capture the unwrapping on four different devices, spend hours untwisting ties (not to mention reading instruction manuals, inserting batteries, etc) and then… misc pieces end up in the dryer, back seat of the van, my sister’s house, the sock drawer and goodness knows everywhere little bits and pieces are destined to make an appearance (and that’s if you’re lucky enough to find them at all).

We have a couple of solutions and so far, they have held up pretty darn well. (Disclaimer: We make no guarantees, as from time to time we still find items in a random shoe, under the couch and did I mention my sister’s? How did that get there?) Anyway, nothing is completely fool proof but nonetheless we think we’re onto a couple good ideas… check them out below and head over to our prior article on managing toy overload.

The Tray Rule

When my daughter opens or plays with a toy collection that has the tiniest of pieces (Mega Bloks Barbie) she must do so on a tray. It is easy for the pieces to get swallowed up in our shaggy carpet, or accidentally kicked across the room. The tray makes it easy to carry the toy to another room and makes for easier clean up because everything is forced to stay together. So far this trick has worked terrifically for a couple of years. Lego building sets are wonderful for this purpose, especially when you are just opening and assembling the kits.

Collector Tins

Fool proof solutions for managing toys.Lunch box tins make an ideal storage system when specifically selected for toys. My daughter has a variety of toy collections; everything from Spider Man to Monsters Inc and Strawberry Shortcake to Star Wars. We’ve found lunch box tins in each of these themes to hold those specific toys. Not only does this system make clean up super easy but also allows my daughter to very easily decide what she wants to play. We’ve found these tins at flee markets, Amazon, Hot Topic and department stores. Because they are rectangular in shape they stack nicely or sit side-by-side depending how you have them stored or displayed. Oh yeah, and they can double as playroom decor in your child’s favorite playtime themes.

Pley

Fool proof solutions for managing toys

Photo courtesy of Pley

Ok parents, here’s your chance to take all those little bits and send them away!! Okay okay, that sounds slightly mean, but truly Pley is a tremendous resource when it comes to containing clutter and keeping toys organized. Here is a company that rents out toys for a monthly subscription. Seriously. So once your child is done playing with or constructing a toy, you pack it back up and send it back with a new one on it’s way. Super easy to set up and super affordable, OH and no worries if you kiddo completely falls in love with something, you are purchase it through Pley and keep it (and all it’s little bits) forever. And PS, I would still suggest using the tray idea to contain all of the rented pieces and keeping them separate from other collections you own. Pley offers over 400 Lego, Knex and other building sets with more inventory added all the time.

Despite these pretty decent suggestions, we still have a few stray Barbie brushes, dishes and lost shoes, and as such we are always on the look out for more organizing tips. What solutions have you implemented to contain the eensie-weensie pieces? Please share below… you might just save the vacuum from another unnecessary toy meal.

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Lego, Mega Bloks, K’Nex & GoldieBlox

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A Construction Christmas Wishlist… by Greg Wolbert

Ho ho ho, Christmas is on the way and with that come wish-lists and letters to Santa. This year, one of the most sought out toys are creation toys such as Lego, Mega Blocks, Goldieblocks, and K’nex. These toys allow children to enhance their critical thinking and creativity.

Lego pieces

Lego was founded in 1932 and has since become the largest block building manufactures in the world. Lego has manufactured over four thousand sets, all of them ranging from stand alone boxes to blockbuster movie recreations. Lego has even created to scale models of the worlds most magnificent wonders. Examples of their finest sets include Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Disney Princess series, as well as the White House, Taj Mahal, and the Big Ben bell tower. Lego sets can all be combined to allow an unlimited amount of re-usability and creativity.

 

Mega Brands/Bloks is one of the most direct competitors of Lego. Mega Bloks, while they have a very similar brick building system as Lego, have more detailed accessories within their play sets. Their mini figures have articulated joints for a wider range of poses and movement. However, they don’t have the same interchangeability as the Lego mini figures. Mega Bloks has a variety of play sets and series such as the every popular Barbie and Hot Wheels. They also have building sets around Hello Kitty, Skylanders, Sponge Bob and Power Rangers.

 

A relatively new toy is Goldieblox. Goldieblox is a girl focused creation building play set. Goldieblox are designed to inspire girls to become builders and engineers. There are a number of sets from zip lines to cars to spinning machines, and each set contains a set of challenges for the girls to complete using only a set number of pieces contained in the set. These sets help shape young girls critical thinking skills. Watch Victoria’s video review below from a sample sent from #SweetSuite14 of Blogger Bash NYC.

 

K’nex are a free flowing building series that use rods, orbs, and magnets to construct imaginative works. This is an award winning intricate construction building system, established in 1992. K’nex come in a variety of box sets, featuring different characters and/or functions (Super Mario, Angry Birds, roll-coasters, raceway, etc). In distinct fashion, K’nex building play sets offer flexibility in creation and design allowing unlimited engineering and innovation during play time.

 

Children, both boys and girls enjoy the satisfaction of creating play sets, especially those partnered with favorite characters such as SpongeBob or Barbie. Any of the above brands would make excellent educational toys for this holiday season.

 

We’d love to hear which building sets are your favorite; leave us a comment below. Send us a picture of your son or daughter’s creation at Barbara@HomeroomAtHome.com and we’ll select a few to be featured on our Facebook page.

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2013 Holiday Toy Review

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#HotToys13, 2013 Christmas Toy Review

LeapFrog LeapReader Reading/Writing System

Before one holiday ends, the next has begun so that’s how we’ve come to talk about Christmas on Halloween. Regardless if you’re in Halloween mode (keep in mind that I’m writing this between Halloween family activities today) or if your heart has fast-forward to Christmas there is lots of buzz surrounding super cool toys & tech.

A quick trip to the Big Apple last week for the Toy Insider’s and The Big Toy Book’s Holi-Play event afforded me the opportunity to discover the season’s “must-have” items. I am so excited to share some of what I found, especially since there was such a variety. Here are some of my favorites:

Well known LeapFrog was on site to showcase the LeapPad Ultra with various cartridge games for math, science and reading. The LeapFrog LeapReader system is a wonderful program for teaching writing and of course a wide variety of LeapReader books to encourage reading and enhance reading skills. Check out the video below – this is a must-have on our list!!

Science kits, robots, princesses, Minnie Mouse, tablets, toys toys toys…check out The Toy Insider music video and check out their link for a breakdown including the “Hot 20” and “Top Tech 12” lists.

So back to Halloween – many families have adapted a new tradition of trading unwanted or excess candy for a small toy. After selecting a small sample or having a couple days of candy binging – candy is then bagged up for the Switch Witch, who in turn leaves a treat in exchange for the candy. Many of the items showcased at the Toy Insider Holi-Play event would be perfect for this exchange – for instance the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or any of the Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods by Hasbro and even Laser Pegs robots or building sets. The 3D Christmas Holiday Specs would make for a great exchange idea to help transition into the holiday spirit. These magical glasses transform street lamps and headlights into colorful, playful Christmas characters.

Homeroom At Home looks to find toys and games that engage learning in not-so-obvious ways. That’s why we love brands like Mega Bloks, Laser Pegs, Thames and Cosmos, Cloud_B, Hasbro, LeapFrog, Disney and Vtech providing many opportunities for parents to fold in some learning while having playful family time. The possibilities are endless and the hot toys to consider for this year’s gift giving are very exciting and provide many avenues of quality learning fun. Again I was invited to a Media preview of the season’s best toy selection provided by The Big Toy Book and The Toy Insider. I was given several sample toys to play with my family and review but this article was not sponsored or compensated. As always the ideas, suggestions and opinions expressed here are strictly my own. Many thanks to all of the sponsors including Women’s Day Magazine (where you can also find The Toy Insider insert). Amazon affiliate links were used throughout this article.

Comment below with your favorite childhood toy and how does that compare to the toys on the market today? Which is your favorite?

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