Tag Archives: lego

Days Out: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham

Over the summer, with much fanfare, LEGOLAND opened the new LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham. We had a weekend away in Birmingham in September and a visit to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham was very high on our list of things to do.

Days Out: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham is quite similar to the one in Manchester. We visit the Manchester centre quite often, so it all felt quite similar there. We loved the Birmingham Miniland – which includes models of some of the more iconic buildings and places to visit in and around Birmingham. We’d been to Warwick Castle the previous day, so their model of the castle was an absolute treat!

Days Out: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham

The new LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham has all of the things we’ve come to expect from a Discovery Centre. The Kingdom Quest ride is something we enjoy doing; but there’s often a queue and if you just want to get straight into the LEGO action it’s easy to skip.

The 4D Cinema (which we didn’t go in, because the boy just wanted to play with the LEGO) looked good. The queues were pretty minimal for that and I always think it’s a good excuse to sit down for 15 minutes and enjoy a mini-LEGO movie.

Days Out: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham

Also at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham there’s the Duplo Farm, LEGO City Builder and LEGO Racers Build and Test. These are all areas where you can just dive in and build whatever you want with the millions of bricks which are there. These are obviously very popular and my son loves (really loves) the chance to sit and build with unlimited bricks for as long as he wants. It is a LEGO fans dream really.

If you’re looking for a more formal building experience, the Creative Workshop was brilliant. They run regular sessions throughout the day. Everyone is given a kit and instructions to build something (on the day we visited it was a LEGO BBQ). It’s well worth setting aside a bit of time to do one of the workshops, for me the workshop was probably my highlight.

Days Out: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham

My son is not a fan of rides; so we gave the Merlin’s Apprentice Ride a miss in favour of half an hour of LEGO City Soft Play. The soft play is always popular. It’s well thought out, with lots of fun LEGO details and it’s soft play; so all kids like it and ultimately refuse to leave until you promise to buy them a biscuit/LEGO from the shop/a puppy.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham is well worth visiting if you’re in the area. It’s not massive, but there’s enough to entertain you for a few hours. We loved Miniland, the Creative Workshop, all the LEGO building areas and the soft play.

Tickets are from £15 per person, but deals and discounts are available online. For more information about Legoland Discovery Centre Birmingham and Merlin Annual Passes, visit their website. Our Merlin Annual Pass gives us entry to all Merlin Attractions and it worth getting if you’re a regular visitor.

Disclosure: We are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors this year. All images and opinions are our own.

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester is one of our nearest Merlin attractions. We like to visit a few times a year, but we’ve not been since they refurbished last year. We’d heard that over Easter they’d launched a new Space Mission area and we were very keen to check it out. Plus there was the relatively new Ninjago area which we still hadn’t seen. Over the Easter break we swung by for an afternoon of Legoland fun!

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

We were pretty impressed with the new layout of Legoland Discovery Centre. The cafe area had been tucked away in a colourful room of its own, most of the old favourites were still there. Mini-land had been improved with the Manchester bit looking more Mancunian than before. I especially liked the new Lego Media City building and the working tram trundling about.

As we rounded the corner to get into the main area, the boy spotted the huge Ninjago area straight away. There are a few Ninja training zones where lively kids can burn off some energy, so he dabbled a bit there, striking Ninja poses and generally getting stuck in. There’s a soft play area/temple and he disappeared in there for ten minutes, returning to us with a big smile on his face. There’s also a moving climbing wall which had quite a long queue, so we might have a go another time.

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

Obviously apart from the awesome soft play temple, his highlights from that area were the huge Ninjago figures made of Lego and the free building area where he just let his imagination run wild. It’s excellent, really excellent. If you like Ninjago, you’ll love this. It’s perfectly thought out.

Time was ticking and we needed to go and check out the new Space Mission area. It’s a reasonably small space compared to the Ninjago area, but they’ve really packed everything in. You can build and launch your own Lego rocket, or drive remote control buggies and explore the surface of the Lego planet. There’s an animation desk where you can create your own Lego animations and lots more.

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

I especially liked the space shuttle which takes off every five minutes. The level of detail is pretty awesome. We spent quite a lot of time looking at everything and exploring the area. The boy really liked the control desk and anything where he can just build Lego is always a hit.

Living half an hour from Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester, we really ought to visit a little more often. We’ve got Merlin Annual Passes, so it’s no bother to pop in for a quick hour of Lego fun, or a bit longer if we have the time.

If you’re local we can totally recommend the new Space Mission area and the Ninjago area is fantastic. Everything else has been spruced up for 2018 too.

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

For more information about Legoland Discovery Centre and Merlin Annual Passes, visit their website.

Disclosure: We are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors this year. All images and opinions are our own.

Learning: Take the Valentine’s Lego STEM Challenge

We are getting quite into STEM crafts and activities at home now. We’ve been busy with jellybean architecture, made a sponge house to grow cress on and this week we’ve been using the Valentine’s Lego STEM Challenge Cards from Mrs Mactivity and seeing what we could create.

Lego play is well known for having all kinds of great developmental benefits, these include –

  • Promoting fine motor skills
  • Encouraging team work
  • Improving creativity
  • Developing problem solving and mathematical thinking
  • Improving communication skills
  • Developing lateral thinking and planning skills

Crafts: Valentine’s Lego STEM Challenge Cards

Developing STEM (Science, technology, Engineering and Maths) skills and encouraging an interest in these areas is so important for all children. I’m lucky that my son is very keen on science and engineering; not so much maths, but we’re working on that. He absolutely loves playing with Lego too, so these Valentine’s Lego STEM Challenge Cards were absolutely perfect for him.

We printed out the Valentine’s Lego STEM Challenge Cards and gathered a few boxes of Lego together. We each chose a challenge and got to work. I made the heart, the present and spelled out the word LOVE. He did an arrow, a heart and he also wrote the word LOVE in Lego.

Learning: Valentine’s Lego STEM Challenge Cards

It was really interesting for us to do something a bit different with our Lego and nice to build something which wasn’t a Lego City or Ninjago set. I can see how it worked his problem solving muscles, trying to find the right piece to go in the right place, picking and choosing colours and carefully following the visual instructions on the cards.

I think it’s also helped to show him that he doesn’t just have to build the sets, that he can be a little more creative with his Lego. He especially enjoyed writing with it and went on the write his name and mine. This is definitely something we can build on together at home.

Learning: Valentine’s Lego STEM Challenge Cards

This was most definitely a fun thing to do together and the learning is obvious to me, but it’s just fun for him!

The Valentine’s Lego STEM Challenge Cards are available to download on the Mrs Mactivity website. You can also find a good selection of other activity sheets there – all designed to be fun and educational too!

 

Learning: Valentine’s Lego STEM Challenge Cards

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

Christmas is the time for spreading a little bit of magic and cheer. What better way to do that than by doing something each day during Advent. In the olden days, when I was a little girl (in the 80’s), my advent calendar was a cards with windows which you’d open and there would be a picture behind it. It was all very lovely, but times have changed and kids and grown-ups expect more.

I’ve picked out five quite interesting advent calendar ideas for you, which if you’re quick, you can get cracking with before 1st December!

Traditional Chocolate Advent Calendar

There’s something simple and cheery about traditional chocolate advent calendars, they’re great for children and adults too. They come in a pretty huge range of different themes and characters; but this colourful Teletubbies Advent Calendar is a winner. Behind every window in this kids’ advent calendar there’s a delicious milk chocolate treat to help you count down the days until Christmas.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

The Teletubbies Advent Calendar can be found in a wide range of retailers, but I’ve spotted it in B&M for just 89p – a bargain!

Elf & Seek Festive Countdown

Little Treats Bakery have recently launched a fun, festive countdown activity in the form of freshly baked festive treats. Known as Elf & Seek, you get a box of 24 individually wrapped and decorated gingerbread elves to hide around the house each day of December.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

Elf & Seek is an interactive, exciting and tasty way to keep the magic of Christmas alive. Simply hide one of the little elves around your home each day of December and the kids have to hunt it down as they countdown to Christmas. It’s the perfect advent calendar if you’re a bit tired of the same old kind of calendars each year.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Take a selfie of your biscuit elf, uncovered from its hiding place; share it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ElfieSelfie – the winner will win an extra special, tasty treat; a hamper of biscuits tailored to a theme of their choice!

Elf & Seek Festive Countdown is available to order from Amazon for £10.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

Playmobil 1.2.3 Advent Calendar

For little ones (18 months+) this Christmas they can enjoy an outdoor Christmas with Santa and his forest friends. The 1.2.3 Advent Calendar “Christmas in the Forest” contains twenty-four surprise items for each day of Advent. With a bright and colorful design and large, rounded pieces, this Playmobil 1.2.3 set is ideal for toddlers.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

This adorable advent calendar includes Santa, elf, angel, reindeer, sleigh, gifts, dog, bunnies, fox, forest animals, and other accessories to help complete this woodland Christmas scene.

Costing just £21.99 the Playmobil 1.2.3 advent calendar is the perfect way for little ones to count down to Christmas!

LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar

Star Wars fans young and old will love this year’s LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar. Open a door of this advent calendar each day in the run up to Christmas to discover a LEGO Star Wars themed minifigure, starship, vehicle or other collectible. There’s even a foldout playmat featuring images from Jakku, Starkiller Base and deep space for epic Star Wars encounters.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

The LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar is recommended for ages 6 years+ and is brilliant (we had one last year)!

Reverse Advent

The old saying goes – it’s better to give than to receive. At Christmas I find this to be especially true. Last Christmas we put together a reverse advent calendar for our local foodbank. I would very much encourage you to think about doing the same.

No only did it make us feel warm and fuzzy; it fed a family or two for a few days. It also taught my son a few lessons about empathy, caring for others and made us all think a little less about what we wanted and more about what other people needed just to get by. Never bad things to be reminded of.

You can read my blog post about our reverse advent calendar and read about what you need to put one together too.

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent Calendar

What kind of advent calendars will you be choosing this year?

Having a Legoland Manchester birthday party

As the mother of a 5 year old child it’s fair to say that most of his weekends (and consequently our weekends) are taken up with various birthday parties. These days class protocol dictates you find one or two children with birthdays in the same month and throw a joint party. This cuts down party costs for the families of the birthday boy or girl and means that guests only need to buy one present (which will be divided up between the birthday children).

Last year parties tended to be whole class affairs, but this year the boys and the girls have largely split up into smaller friendship groups. Soft play is still very popular, trampoline parks are on the rise, but for the boys in Ben’s class, the big dream is a Legoland Manchester birthday party. 

Having a Legoland Manchester birthday party is what most of the boys in his class want. A few weekends ago we went along to a party to celebrate a couple of his classmates turning 5.

Legoland Manchester birthday party

Each child who attends gets to take an accompanying adult, so it is in many ways like a normal visit to Legoland. You go in and the group has their photo taken and you head up to the “factory tour” which is always entertaining. Once you’re through that it’s onto the Kingdom Quest ride (my favourite bit) and then on into the discovery centre itself. 

When we went, all the kids raced through Miniland (past Blackpool Tower and other attractions made from Lego) and straight through to building the Lego racers. The parents grabbed a coffee (party entry came with a voucher – a godsend!) whilst all the boys got stuck in. After around 45 minutes we were summoned to the party room where the kids tucked into a lunch of sandwiches, crisps, fruit and juice.

Legoland Manchester birthday party

It was time for some party games. There were two hosts from Legoland who were really engaging and professional. They kept the party flowing nicely, an eye out for any health and safety issues the parents might have missed and they were great at getting all the kids up and involved in the party games. Think musical bumps, musical statues that kind of thing – great fun and the boys all had a great time.

Then the cake came out. Legoland provided the cake, though I guess you could bring your own if you wanted. It was one of those rainbow cakes, different coloured layers sandwiched together with buttercream. It was really, really pretty (I now want to bake one) and it was a good cake; light and moist. I liked it a lot, almost as much as the kids.

Legoland Manchester birthday party

After we’d all eaten our colourful cake, everyone queued up to go on the Merlin’s Apprentice Ride and then it was time for everyone to say goodbye.

It’s worth noting that once the party is over you can stay for as long as you’d like afterwards. We stayed for a little while, enjoyed the Fire Academy (soft play area), headed to the brand new Lego City Builder area for a while and then for an obligatory turn around the shop (I might have bought MYSELF some Lego).

Legoland Manchester birthday party

As something of a kids party veteran I can say that I thought the Legoland Manchester birthday party was well run, efficient and the boys had lots of fun. I think it is a nice touch to offer parents a coffee and leftover cake and sandwiches. I like the fact that once you’re in you can stay for as long as you want afterwards too. The food was good, the cake was great and there is very little organisation and input required for the parents throwing the party. 

Prices per child are £17.50/£22.50 depending on when you go. Whilst this is not cheap, I do think that is does represent good value for money, especially as you can stay until it closes if you want and enjoy all of the attractions in Legoland Manchester.

Packages for a Legoland Manchester birthday party currently start from £17.50 per person (£22.50 at weekends) and more details can be found on their website.

Note: We were attending a party of a classmate and I thought I’d write up the party experience. 

Days Out: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Last weekend we got the chance to give our new family pass for LEGOLAND its first outing. We took the small boy and my nephew to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at the Trafford Centre for the afternoon. We were keen to catch a showing of The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure and explore all that was on offer.

The boys were raring to get in and explore; we started with the Factory Tour, which is quite short and interactive, it involves lots of jumping up and down and being given their own souvenir LEGO brick to keep. They queued calmly for the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, which I’m sure us adults enjoyed more than the kids – we are a competitive bunch!

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Whilst the grown ups enjoyed checking out Miniland – where the great attractions of the UK are recreated in LEGO form; the boys raced off to the LEGO Racers Build & Test track. I’m convinced they would have stayed there all day if they could. After a quick pit stop in the cafe for refreshments, the boys were keen to race their police cars on the LEGO City Forest Pursuit track. There was a bit of a queue for this, but both of the boys didn’t mind waiting.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Once the race was over it was time for a sit down, so we settled down to watch The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure. I was not hopeful that the small boy would enjoy it as he hates the dark and noise of cinemas, but he sat beautifully throughout and was captivated by the story, giggling in all the right places and he even enjoyed being showered with bubbles. The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure is well worth going to see if you’re visiting.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Knowing how much the boys love LEGO City, we went to explore and build, they honestly could have spent hours playing in this area and I think next time we might head straight there so they can spend a bit more time there.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

On the way out we had a quick go on the Ninjago Laser Training Camp, followed by a whirlwind look around the shop.

We’d planned to spend about 3 or 4 hours there and it wasn’t enough to explore everything in one go. We’ll have to go again at least twice to have a proper play with everything.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

I’m excited to be able to tell you that we are now blogger ambassadors for both LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and Sealife at the Trafford Centre in Manchester, so do keep an eye out for more LEGOLAND and Sealife news and reviews throughout 2016.

Carcraft Lego Challenge

The lovely people at Carcraft have challenged bloggers to come up with an action packed cartoon using a Lego set. The winner will get £100 of Lego, which should be enough to keep his miniature Lordship happy for a little while.

I was sent the Lego City Fire Chief Car set to inspire us.

lego

Lego City Fire Chief

We had great fun with the Lego, building the car and deciding on the story we wanted to tell. Daddy had to help with the smaller pieces, which were a bit fiddly for pudgy fingers.

Lego

Me being a bit on the geeky side had my fun playing with a cartoon app, but there was something for all of us in this activity.

Big thanks to Carcraft for inspiring us to have a play with this. We love our Lego!

Taking a Spin Round Legoland Manchester

What to do with a small boy during that terminally long gap between the close of nursery and actual Christmas Day? It’s always harder to try and entertain them in the winter, when you’re naturally less inclined to brave the elements and head to the park for a go on the swings. We were definitely starting to feel a bit cooped up and tempers were already beginning to fray.

Luckily the generous sorts at Carcraft could sense the end of a tether being reached, and were kind enough to send us to Legoland Manchester for an afternoon of small plastic building block shaped joy. Thanks guys.

We’d not been before but it was super-easy to find. Just follow the signs for Barton Square at the Trafford Centre and you can’t miss it. We arrived and were ushered through to have our pictures taken. Splodge was bemused at best and I’d neglected to brush my hair, these were genuinely THE worst pictures ever taken of us, ever. But you know, it still was kinda fun.

We went up in the lift to a room which acted like a holding pen, there were Lego things to see and do while we waited for the “factory tour”. The tour itself was tiny but brilliantly done, scientifically accurate, interactive and enjoyable. At the end we were presented with a special edition brick as a souvenir of the tour. It was a really lovely touch.

We then passed through to the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride which was a journey through a medieval kingdom as a noble knight. Using laser guns you zap the spiders, skeletons and trolls to save the captured Princess. Splodge enjoyed it but didn’t really have a clue what was going on, thus allowing me to massively out-score him in the killing of trolls. Result.

We then toddled through to the main room which held the majority of attractions including the 4D Cinema; Friends Olivia’s House; Forest Pursuit; the much admired Merlin’s Apprentice Ride; the amazing looking Fire Academy; Construction Site and Master Model Builder area.

P1000434What with us being vehicle mad, we headed straight for the Lego Racers: Build & Test. We built a couple of cars and set to work racing them down the tracks. Splodge loved the racing more than the building, his little three year old fingers found the Lego bricks a little fiddly. At home we’re still playing with Lego Duplo which he loves. But the racing was a big hit and I could’ve spent ages designing and refining my championship car. Lego isn’t just for kids you know. What? Don’t look at me like that.

We had a look around the rest of the attractions. He was keen to try the Merlin’s Apprentice Ride but he was too little, something we’ll save for next time. He loved the Fire Academy soft play area and was wowed by the Forest Pursuit section.

We’ll definitely be back. It was a great place to while away a wet winters afternoon. There was something fun for everyone and as he grows he will appreciate different areas and activities. Oh, and the big red race car in the shop, brilliant!

P1000466

Disclaimer: We were given free tickets to review Legoland Manchester by Carcraft but it’s somewhere we’ve been meaning to go to for a little while.