Posts Tagged “Mega Bloks”

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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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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Toys For Learning Fun

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I had the great pleasure of attending the The Big Toy Book Baby Palooza this month and meeting some amazing brands that support our children’s development and learning needs. It was a play date without the little ones and yes, this event was mostly geared toward parents of babies and tots but no worries, I got some good take-a-ways for you with school-age children. The brands presented were VTech, Delta Children, Mega Bloks, Cloud B, The First Years, and Madame Alexander.

Here’s a brief video of the event and then… there’s so much more to consider.

Firstly, I have to admit that I had no idea that Delta Children was so much more than cribs and changing tables. Yup – I walked in to the most colorful display of children’s furniture, completely unaware that this was the same company that made my daughter’s crib (now converted toddler bed). Awesome. From comfy chairs (and a mini sofa w/ storage) to toddler beds and mini tables and chairs… all decked out in characters ranging from Mickey to Cars to Sesame Street and the beloved Disney Princesses. The child size desks and organizers were my favorite. It’s important to have a space easily accessible for kids so they aren’t straining to reach the top of the table to write and so that they can easily sit upright for homework and activities. Soon I’ll have a entire piece (or two… or three) devoted to organization, tips and key elements to organizing your routine functions and spaces.  Every household struggles with this to some extent and I’ll be consulting with a friend and expert on the matter to offer some excellent suggestions.  But for now… know that Delta has a great assortment of solutions. Bins are terrific for little toys and supplies like crayons, scrap paper and craft items (of course if you don’t run the risk of very young hands getting a hold of them). Click here for a examples of their storage solutions, particularly the Toy and Book Organizer, made available by Amazon and other suppliers.  We already own and love the Spiderman folding table and chair set. Be sure to check out the variety of desks available including this awesome easel/desk combo that comes with a storage ottoman. We’ve loved Delta since before Victoria was born and now love it all the more.

I didn’t get much time with the team from The First Years… let’s face it – Homeroom At Home isn’t really focused on the first couple of years – but I will say this… they have an amazing technological and digital carseat/app system that sends text alerts if baby is accidentally forgotten in the car, among other features. Amazing! Talk about innovative and safety conscientious. (Expecting or planning on more kiddos or know someone – definitely worth checking out: www.thefirstyears.com)

So here’s an interesting and unexpected product I came across – the Cloud B Twilight Constellation Sea Turtle night light. Not only does it introduce your youngster to the constellations and offer soothing sounds to drift off to, but also features 5 endangered animals. It comes with a storybook to teach children about endangered species and also offers a star guide. Not cool enough??? – A portion of the proceeds from Twilight Sea Turtle will be donated to a conservation organization.

VTech demonstrated a couple of cool toys. The one that I particularly appreciated with the InnoTab 2 Baby"". This version of the Inno Tab is specifically designed for infants 12 months and up… and by “up” I mean age 9. You heard… read it right – this device is designed to grow with the child, as it comes preloaded with apps, games and programs for the youngest family memeber but with cartridges and online downloads you can easily update this tool to grow with your child and his/her learning development. We will be demonstrating this product in more detail in a later post…

Madame Alexander is a very well-known and respected doll company but little did I know that they offered such a variety of dolls and plush toys. Boys and girls both enjoy roll playing and Madame Alexander has several lines to facilitate the basics in emotional intelligence and with products such as Fancy Nancy and Eloise children are encouraged to read and play together. Growing up – one of my favorite means of play was “school” whereby I taught my teddy bears and dolls the lessons from my actual homework. Doll play builds communication skills, nurturing abilities and social intelligence. There newest line: Newborn Nursery is my favorite with life like features including a realistic weight, hospital wrist band and adoption certificate – who couldn’t fall in love with these thumb-sucking beauties?

Lastly there was Mega Bloks. Is it fair to say that I love these products so much that I’ve been actively participating in a fellow bloggers giveaway with the hopes of winning a Barbie Mega Bloks set? (Fingers-crossed, but you can enter here at Classy Mommy.) The items on display at the #BTBBabyPalooza were again geared for a much younger crowd but Mega Bloks has a huge variety of building toys perfect for rainy days or themed weeks of play. For instance, let’s take Shark Week… the perfect activity to couple with craft ideas, video or on-screen activities would be Mega Bloks Power Rangers Megaforce – Shark Mechazord or Pyrates -Shark Escape. This is just one of dozens of Mega Bloks ideas.

Our hosts for this event were amazing in bringing some very valuable information to us. A special thank you to Laurie Schacht from The Toy Insider, Reyne Rice of Toy Trend and Charlene DeLaoch of Charlene Chronicles. My good friend Joey Fortman of Real Mom Media extended this opportunity to me and I’m ever so grateful. Look for more product reviews and suggestions from us for these brands, as this is just skimming the surface in terms of folding learning development into play time and quality family time.

Disclosure: The Big ToyBook Baby Palooza organized and invited us to participate in a media event introducing us to six brands. We were provided products to review and the opportunity to demo products onsite. The views, opinions and thoughts expressed here are completely mine. We already own and love products from all of these brands well before being invited to this media event.

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