Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review of Lego Friends Emma's Fashion Design Studio

We just bought a new Lego Friends kit, Emma's Fashion Design Studio, for my 7 year old daughter. Here's my daughter's review of it:

"I really loved it. If you get some of the other Friends, you can make a city!

I loved the style of the computer and the camera and the girl (Emma.) It's very fancy and the colors are my favorite colors (pink, white, light blue, violet, and purple.)

There's nothing about it that I don't like. I loved her inspiration board (a style board with drawings of clothes.)

This is the best Lego set I ever had ever, because it's just "Girls Rule!" and I want to a fashion designer, too."

Things to do at Legoland California

For my son's tenth birthday, we drove down to Legoland, California to celebrate. We had a blast there!

In case you were wondering what to do with a 7 year old girl and a 10 year old boy at Legoland, here are a few suggestions:

Volvo Driving School
Kids can learn to drive a real electric car and earn their official Legoland driver's license. The kids loved driving their cars all by themselves around the Lego neighborhood.

Skipper School
Learn to maneuver your own boat around the course. We let the kids pilot their own boats along the course while we followed them in our own boat.

Building Legos in Line
While we parents wait in line for a ride, the kids have fun building on Lego tables.

The kids can power ski around this water course while the parents press buttons to blast them with water jets. The kids loved getting soaked on this one (and the parents loved blasting them with water!)

Note: This is Sam's favorite ride.

Holiday Snow Play Area (new this year!)
Kids and adults can play in an area filled with real snow. You can decorate a snowman with giant Lego pieces, throw snowballs at targets, and tobaggan down a small hill. This is only available from November 19th to January 2nd. We all enjoyed this little slice of winter!

Meet Lego Santa
You can also get your photo taken with Lego Santa during the holiday season.

Sir Scoops Ice Cream
Get a refreshing ice cream cone (they offer holiday flavors, too) and coffee here. They don't have Starbucks in the park, but their coffee is very tasty!

Pose with your Favorite Lego Sculpture
There are plenty of cool Lego sculptures around the park for the kids to play on and pose with. (Those bricks are really-well glued together!)

As soon as you get to the park, sign up to do the Lego MINDSTORMS activity for later that day (for 9 year olds and up.) While waiting for your turn, build something cool with Lego blocks. My son built his name (Sam) and then was allowed to place his blocks in the window at the entrance to the MINDSTORMS building. We'll have to check the window next time we visit to see if his name is still there!

Adventurer's Club
Walk through an interactive Lego rainforest, Egyptian tomb, and Arctic landscape and search for giant Lego keys. (It can be a bit dark and scary in places for the younger kids.) This is my kids' favorite attraction at Legoland!

Sky Cruiser
You need to be able to reach the pedals to ride on this one by yourself. This ride gives you a nice view of the park, and it's fun to pedal your own Lego vehicle along the track. Good exercise--a bit like a stationary bicycle.

Kid Power Towers
My kids love pulling on the ropes to raise their chairs up to the top of the poles. The "free fall" when you let go of the rope is very gentle. The lines were short, so the kids went on this ride over and over again. Good exercise for the arms.

Fun Town Market
We always buy our lunch here. The kids can get a Kids Meal with a cool bag (in pink or blue.) While you're eating lunch, it's also a good central spot to look around at the park and plan out your afternoon. The Fun Town stage is also nearby.

On previous trips, when our kids were a lot younger, they enjoyed the Coastersaurus roller coaster, the Water Works water play area, and the Hideaways play structure (where I'd always lose the kids and have to go climbing in myself to retrieve them.)

Overall, I'd say if you have young children (under about 12 years old), they'll enjoy this hands-on, kid-friendly park. And they don't need to know anything about Legos to enjoy it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lego Engineering Challenge at the YMCA, Day 2

Today, on Day 2 of my Lego Summer Camp journal, we made cars with treads to complete the day's objective (make a car and/or machine that can bring a small-sized practice baseball out of a bin and get the ball from the ground to the top of the overturned bin about 2 feet away.)

June 12, 2011:

Today we made cars that could pass the 2 tests (as shown in the introduction) successfully. When the class was starting, there were several ideas for potential things that could pass the tests (ex. crane and ramp.) The idea that the Lego teacher had in mind was a car that could drive the ball around to pass the test.

It took a little while to build the car on our own. When we were done, we added a brick/axle/Miscellaneous piece to the cars to identify them as ours. I put on a finger (a bent, circular beam) onto the left side of our car. The Lego teacher called us in to a Lego lesson.

He explained about the idea of turning while going straight: put one side in reverse and the other in forward. And he explained about treads on our vehicles.

When the lesson was done, we could go into pairs or not, and I decided to go alone, because everybody already had their cars together.

It took another 10-15 minutes to build my own 2nd car. Later I connected the 2 with a brick plate. Then I made a slanted board with edge-on brick technique. (Put a plate on a ninety-degree angle to the studded brick you put it on and stick it in between two studs.) When I tried the idea on the plate, it didn't work. I was about to redesign it when the camp ended. Ah, well, maybe next time.

Overall, I had a good day at YMCA Lego camp.

Monday, July 11, 2011

LEGO Engineering Challenge Camp at the YMCA

Sam is attending a Lego summer camp at our local YMCA this week. He'll be posting a daily journal of his experience there. Here's the description of this camp from our YMCA 2011 Summer Program Guide:

LEGO Engineering Challenge
Ages: 9-11
We team up with Play-Well TEKnologies to bring you Engineering Challenge with Lego. Build motorized machines, catapults, pyramids, demolition derby cars, truss and suspension bridges, buildings, and other construction projects. Explore concepts in physics, mechanical engineering, structural engineering, and architecture while playing with your favorite creation, including three hours of instruction per day and traditional camp activities such as arts and crafts and games.

Stay tuned for more of Sam's daily journal!

daily blog post for YMCA Lego camp

This is the first post of my day at Lego Challenge camp at the YMCA. I will be posting daily until the end of the week on my Lego camp.

July 11, 2011:

Today we worked on the objective of moving a small-sized practice baseball from the floor to the section on the whiteboard where the markers, erasers, magnets, etc. were kept.

The leader had built his own elevator 'stick' and elevator. He showed us how to build the elevator stick.

Then, when we were done making it, we started making an elevator car (kind of...) The car was slightly jiggly and almost broke our elevator stick. I had made a remote holder, but it was kind of hard to access, so we took off the roof (the elevator car had broken it.)

Now was the task of carrying the ball and dumping it at will, so we got several unsuccessful ideas (cup bricks, Lego boats, etc.)

Finally, we made a cup of multiple bricks (not the same as the other brick cup,) and we built it around the ball.

Now the first task was done, now for the second task: getting the ball to the marker holder.

That's when I came up with the idea of making a mechanical claw. When it was time to show, the claw's motor wasn't on properly, so I modified it to be hand-operated.

When it was showing time, there were a lot of "Oohs" and "Ahs" regarding our elevator.

Overall it was a nice day. I'll post the next day's event later tomorrow.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Trip to Temporary LEGO Store in Orlando, FL

We were in Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida two weeks ago on our family vacation, so we HAD to visit the LEGO store there. The new LEGO Imagination Center hadn't opened yet (official opening would be April 19th, 2011) so we visited the temporary store, a big yellow LEGO tent!

The inside of this tent/store cast a cool yellow shade on everything in there, including us!

We purchased some fun LEGO souvenirs, including LEGO mugs...

A LEGO Easter Basket kit (with eggs...)

And a Brickley the LEGO Sea Serpent kit (which is a smaller version of the 170,000 piece Brickley in the lake near the LEGO store in Orlando!)

Now we'll just have to go back again to Orlando to see the new LEGO Imagination Center!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bricks By the Bay 2011 is Coming!

Sam and I attended Bricks By the Bay last year, and we're very excited about attending it again this year. It will be held in Santa Clara, California on Sunday, March 27th, 2001. Here's a bit of information about it from their web site
Public Exhibition

Join us for our second annual celebration of the LEGO® hobby and the brick as an artistic medium!

Join us again in 2011 for our public exhibition of LEGO models from around the country. This time we have a new hotel with a much larger ballroom, and will be working hard to ensure that we can accommodate whatever number of people come to the show.

Sunday, March 27, 2011
10am-4pm (last entry at 3pm)
Hyatt Regency Santa Clara
5101 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA

Sam and I hope to see you all there!