Sunday, April 25, 2010

LEGO Mini Monthy Build: Robin

From Sam:
I got the instructions for this robin from my official LEGO Club Newsletter. The newsletter was like a digital LEGO magazine.

The building steps were kind of hard because they had pieces I didn't have in my LEGO box. So for the feathers on the top, I built them blue instead of black. And for the breast on the closest side of this photo, I ran out of red giant cheese slopes, so I had to use a pink one (because pink is closest to red, and not because I like pink).

I also replaced two 3 by 1 studs with one 2 by 3 stud.

And according to my LEGO Club newsletter, in June, they are going to open a water park in LEGOLAND, California. BYOB (Bring Your Own Buddies)!

Kelly's Home and Horse Barn

From Kelly:
The Home and the Horse Barn
It has a horse barn and a pony and a whole family and a home. One of them is grooming her horse, one of them is watering the flowers, and two of them are eating food. The one who is grooming her horse is Padme from LEGO Star Wars. The girl who is eating food is Marion from LEGO Indiana Jones. The two other guys are also from LEGO Star Wars. The guy in front of the house is their grandfather named "Eric". He is from LEGO Indiana Jones, too.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ideas for a LEGO-themed party

If you're planning a LEGO-themed party, here are a few ideas we've tried.

My son asked for a LEGO Star Wars theme for his 7th birthday. At the time, there were lots of Star Wars-themed party supplies and LEGO Ville-themed party supplies out there (which were a bit too young for my son), so I mixed the two themes together.

Birthday Cake
For the birthday cake, I ordered one from our local supermarket. I asked the baker to decorate it with rectangles in red, yellow and blue, with confetti on top. Then I took a couple of small LEGO base plates and built scenes with some LEGO minifigs on it. I sat the LEGO base plates on the top of the cake as cake toppers, and later placed birthday candles around them.

Note: If I ever design another LEGO cake like this one, I'd like to trying adding the LEGO studs on the rectangles using a straw to poke round holes into the icing on top. I'm not sure if this would work, but it's worth a try.

Party Supplies and Decorations
I bought a mix of Star Wars plates and LEGO Ville cups and napkins with a solid yellow tablecloth from Party Express. I used plastic bowls in solid red, yellow, blue and green to hold party snacks.

I bought a Star Wars centerpiece and decorations from the party store. My son also built some LEGO Star Wars sets and placed them around the house. I added streamers and balloons in red, yellow, and blue (LEGO colors). It was all very colorful!

LEGO Party Games
For games, my son came up with a couple of timed contests. One contest was to organize the kids into groups, give them a big pile of LEGO bricks, and time which group could build the tallest (free-standing) tower in 5 minutes.

Another contest was for each kid to build a racecar in 10 minutes. Then I got a plank of wood (a shelf) and rolled the racecars down it to see which one could roll the farthest. (You'll need a floor that isn't carpeted for the cars to roll on.)

For rewards, I handed out stickers. I also bought a few packages of minifigs--one minifig for each kid. And a package of Hot Wheels race cars--one car for each kid.

I know this isn't a LEGO game, but we also got a bouncy house for the back yard during the party, to let them get some fresh air and let off some energy.

More LEGO Game Ideas
If we have another LEGO Birthday Party, we have a couple of new LEGO board games--Minotaurus and Pirate's Code. The only thing is that they're really just intended for 2-4 players, and they take a while to play, so they're better suited for a smaller group of kids.

I think the best games are a timed challenge that can be measured in some way. It's even better if you can find a group challenge. For example, one cool challenge we had was to build Santa's workshop as a group. We each built one Santa, one sleigh, one reindeer, and one elf. We built the workshop and toys as a group. We had a blast building this one!

Another tip is to offer different games at the same time, because not all kids share the same LEGO interest or skill level. We've set up two or three areas where small groups of kids can work on different projects (using the larger LEGO bricks or simple LEGO kits and instructions). You might want to ask other parents to help supervise the different groups, depending on the age of the kids.

Goodie Bags
For goodie bags, I bought a small bucket of LEGO bricks and gave each child a nice assortment of LEGO bricks to take home (in Ziploc baggies). The kids really liked that!

Final Tip
As a final tip, don't forget to take lots of photos of their creations. Have fun with your LEGO-themed party!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

LEGO Club Creations from April 15th

Our theme for today's LEGO Club was "My Own Creation" or MOC. We decided to make group projects. They were truly inspired (and very cool)! Here they are:

The LEGO house
"I love it. It has a bed for the girl and the boy. And the puppy is only allowed inside the house."

Suburban meadow with waterfall
There's a waterfall that falls down into a river with an island in the middle of it, and goes out to the sea over the edge of the board. There are two houses, some telephone poles, some citizens of the meadow, and a marshmallow tree in the middle.

The LEGO house near a volcano
The left side is the front of the house with a tree house in the front yard. The right side is the backyard, a garden with carrots, a bridge over a river of lava, and the garage at the back. There's also a chimney on the house with smoke coming out of it.

Results of our Poll about attending a LEGO convention

Thanks to everyone who voted in our sidebar poll, "Have you ever attended a LEGO convention?"

The polls are closed and the results are...

Yes: 3 out of 8 votes
No: 1 out of 8 votes
I would like to: 5 out of 8 votes
Not interested: 0
Too far to travel: 0
Too expensive: 0

I hope everyone who would like to attend a LEGO convention was able to attend "Bricks by the Bay" last weekend. If you didn't get a chance to see it, check out our review and photos here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Theme for Thursday's LEGO Club

After our inspiring visit to the "Bricks by the Bay" LEGO Convention last Sunday, the theme for tomorrow's LEGO Club will be My Own Creation (or MOC).

The idea is that you build something creative, based on your own favorite theme (like Star Wars, Pokemon, race cars, etc.)

Then we'll set up our own show and take lots of photos!

See you tomorrow (April 15th) from 3-4 PM at our house.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Our "Bricks by the Bay" LEGO Convention Review

Earlier today, my son and I attended the "Bricks by the Bay" LEGO convention in Fremont, California. It was amazing, despite the extremely long line and rainy weather.

Apparently everyone else had come to this convention, too, because the line to get in snaked through the hotel and up into the parking garage. It was cold and we were hungry, but we waited for almost two hours with lots of other families with young kids. (The Marriott hotel employees, by the way, were very nice and helpful while we waited.)

Crazy long line into the garage!

When we finally got in around noon, it was totally worth the wait. There were so many LEGO creations to look at! We spent over an hour just walking around, taking photos and asking a few questions from the friendly builders.

LEGO exhibits:

We headed to the vendors area to shop. It was packed, too, and had lots of cool stuff. It was almost as entertaining as the main exhibit itself. I didn't realize that I needed cash to pay for everything, but we were able to buy t-shirts and a few small LEGO toys to bring home.

Shopping for cool stuff in the vendors area:

My son wasn't ready to go home at 2 PM, so we headed back into the display area for another look. We noticed more details the second time around. We voted for our favorite creation, the Valley. Unfortunately, we didn't stay long enough to hear who the winner was.

LEGO Valley (our favorite exhibit):

Voting for his favorite exhibit (click to see a larger image):

By the way, if you know who won the Public Choice Award contest, please let us know!

We headed home just after 3 PM, exhausted and happy, with our arms full of cool LEGO stuff. It was pouring rain outside, and we didn't have raincoats, but we didn't mind getting wet. And even though the drive home on the highway was nasty in the pouring rain, my son and I were in high spirits all the way home. We had a blast together!

I highly recommend the "Bricks by the Bay" convention. It was well-run and highly entertaining. Good job to everyone involved!

Now for my son's review of the show:

"So, for my "Bricks by the Bay" LEGO convention review, the line was just plain boring. When I got in, my mouth was hanging open because there were thousands of creations there on display, plus many more in the vendor's area. It was pretty crowded around the LEGO viewing areas and the vendor's area.

The LEGO display I liked the best was the Valley, because it had actual moving trains and had waterfalls and lots of green LEGO bricks. It looked realistic and it looked like a forest or jungle, too. I also liked how the builder put train tracks right though the tunnels in the hills.

I also liked the fleet of ships near the Valley, because it had a lot of pieces and the pieces were built on great angles.

Battleship Yamato exhibit:

I give this convention 4 out of 5 stars, because it was kind of sweaty in there from a thousand people, and I didn't have a chance to see all the LEGO creations even though I stayed there for almost 3 hours."

Click the link below to view lots more photos!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Star Wars 2: Assassin Attack (MOC)

From my son:

This is one of my own creations. I got the idea from Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones. It's the part where they're in Coruscant and are attacking an assassin. It's showing Anakin climbing onto the assassin's ship and Obi Wan Kenobi pulling down to catch him later. In the picture, it looks like the assassin's ship got hit a few times, too.

A Review of Prince of Persia: The Ostrich Race

My son's review:

I got this set while I was at the LEGO store for the monthly mini build project. All of the Prince of Persia sets were on display at the store. I could tell they weren't glued on because I saw two minifigs in one model were knocked down.

It includes two ostriches, a snake, an exclusive scorpion, Sheik Amar, Dastan, an Ostrich Rider, two plants, a winner's stand, an opening cage, and an arsenal.

Pros: The gates open, the ostrich's heads can move, it has lots of exclusive pieces, and lots of minifig characters.

Cons: The gates fall apart when you open them, and they don't open all the way. Dastan's swords keep falling off his sword-holder, but I fixed the problem by putting the handles at the top.

Cost: 5 out of 5 stars (because for 169 pieces, $19.99 is a low price)

Building experience: 4 out of 5 stars (because I had to rebuild the gates)

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars (overall when I raced the ostriches with my sister, it was really fun!)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

LEGO chick mini model and parts list

Here's a close-up view of the LEGO chick mini model and its part list. This chick requires 30 LEGO pieces, and takes about 5 minutes to build.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

LEGO store monthly mini model build and poll results

My son and I decided to attend our local LEGO store's monthly mini model build today (Tuesday, April 6th). The event, which started at 5 PM, was free, and open to children aged 8 to 14. The model for April was the LEGO chick.

What my son thought of the mini model build event today:
"I thought that the line was a little long. It may not be worth the wait, but I was okay with waiting anyways. And when we got to the front of the line, we had to wait a bit before a table was cleared and refilled with LEGO pieces. Unfortunately, they told us we couldn't take home the instructions because they only had a few. I liked building the LEGO chick and it is currently displayed on my dresser."

Waiting in line for the event:

One hour later, almost there:

Building the chick in the LEGO store:

Can you find the LEGO chick in all this yellow?

Poll Results and New Poll for This Week:
Thanks to everyone who voted in this week's sidebar poll, "What is your favorite LEGO theme?" Here are the results:

LEGO City: 1 out of 8 votes
LEGO Pirates: 1 out of 8 votes
LEGO Star Wars: 3 out of 8 votes (winner, tied with Other Themes)
LEGO Other Themes: 3 out of 8 votes (tied with Star Wars)

This week's new question is, "Have you ever attended a LEGO Convention?"

Have fun voting!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Review of LEGO Minotaurus

My son's review:

I got Minotaurus for our LEGO Club Spring Party. I liked it when my mom got it for me. I'm glad I got it, because now it's my favorite LEGO Games game.

It includes a LEGO dice, a Minotaurus minifig, 12 microfigures (3 for each player), and an awesome maze that I built with the instructions.

Pros: It's cool that you can send a player back home with the Minotaurus. You can block other players, and the temple in the middle of the board looks nicely assembled.

Cons: Even though you can move the Minotaurus forward 8 spaces, the next player can move the Minotaurus back 8 spaces if he rolls a black. If your microfigure is blocked all around by another player and you don't roll a gray, you can't move him at all.

Cost: 5 out of 5 stars (my mom gave it to me for free!)

Building experience: 4 out of 5 stars (I got a little mixed up and had to re-start building some of it)

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars (it's really hard to win this game)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

LEGO Squirtle and LEGO Riddle

LEGO Squirtle
Squirtle is another one of my LEGO Pokemon. He's my fifth one. He's blue, has a squirrel's tail, a turtle shell, and has dark blue feet. I'm a Pokemon fan, and ever since I read a book about every Pokemon ever made, I got interested in making LEGO Pokemon.

Answer to last Sunday's LEGO Riddle
Did you figure out the answer to the riddle, "What exclusive LEGO product has 5922 pieces, and includes minarets, domes, finials, arches, and stairs in the front?"

The answer is the LEGO Taj Mahal! Here are more details from

The famous Taj Mahal jewel of India is known all over the globe for its incredible beauty and elegance. Now you can recreate this modern wonder of the world for yourself! Designed for experienced builders, the LEGO Taj Mahal model features advanced building techniques, rare elements and colors, and realistic details of architecture. With over 5,900 pieces, the Taj Mahal makes an awesome addition to any LEGO collection!

New LEGO Riddle
Which LEGO theme has more LEGO sets: LEGO Toy Story or LEGO Prince of Persia?

We'll post the answer to this new riddle next week. Have fun!

Happy Easter and Bricks by the Bay next Sunday

Happy Easter from us and the Easter Bunny!

And here's my daughter's creation, entitled, "LEGO Hotel".

Bricks by the Bay
We are so excited! Next Sunday, we're heading to our first-ever LEGO convention in northern California. Here's their flyer:

We hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

LEGO Star Wars Jokes

An Explosive Chat
One day, Han Solo 1 in the midi-scale Millennium Falcon said to Han Solo 2 in the Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon, "Good job battling the storm troopers in Episode 1."

Han Solo 2 replied, "I fought droids, not storm troopers in Episode 1."

Then Han Solo 1 said to Han Solo 2, "At least my Millennium Falcon can fly around a room without falling apart."

Han Solo 2 aimed his quad laser cannon at the midi-scale Millenium Falcon and blew it up.

Question: What did minifig Han Solo sign up for when he found out his family was starting a band?
Answer: A Soloist.

Question: What did minifig Obi Wan Kenobi say to minifig Luke at the dinner table?
Answer: Use the fork, Luke!

Friday, April 2, 2010

LEGO Club Magazine club codes

For those of you who got the current March-April 2010 LEGO Club Magazine, there are some cool club codes in them that you can use on the LEGO Website to find new and cool stuff!

Go to, then type the club code (using all CAPS) into the club code box (just beneath the LEGO Club tab). Then press the arrow button (or press Enter).

Here are the codes for the current LEGO Club Magazine:

Get information about the new LEGO Games
club code: GAMES

Get building instructions for the new BIONICLE model

Get behind-the-scenes information about the movie "Ben 10"
club code: BEN10

Enter the new LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 contest
club code: ROBOT

Check out creative LEGO models

Get building instructions for the Skeeball creation
club code: SKEEBALL

Check out the list of LEGO Indiana Jones Trivia Challenge winners
club code: INDYTRIVIA

Get the answers to the puzzles in the magazine
club code: PUZZLE2

Sign up for the LEGO Club Email newsletter
club code: EMAIL

Fill out a survey of the magazine:
club code: CLUBSURVEY

Have fun!

How to set up a LEGO Club at home

As you may know, my son is a huge LEGO fan! So when he asked me if we could set up our own LEGO Club last year, I thought it was a great idea. Here's what we did:

I looked around on the Web to see if anyone else had set up a LEGO Club. I found some great tips on the Website about "Starting a LEGO Club in Your Community".

My son and I discussed setting up the LEGO Club with his school friends in our home:
- We could handle around 8 kids in our living room. Luckily, we had enough large and small LEGO blocks for 8 kids to use.
- We chose the day (Wednesdays after school for one hour) and how often (weekly) to have the LEGO Club.
- We thought it might be fun to have a weekly theme (like space, vehicles, or Santa's Workshop).
- We wanted to provide snacks, since the kids would be hungry right after school.

- We made 6 invitations to give to my son's friends (6 friends + my own 2 kids = 8 kids total.)
- I ordered LEGO party supplies, including cups, napkins, and plates for the snacks (just for the first few meetings).
- I picked up a few LEGO Club magazines from our local LEGO store to hand out to our club members.
- I bought a few extra green LEGO base plates for building on, and an extra tub of small LEGO blocks (you can never have too many LEGO blocks).
- We decided which of our LEGO models (with instructions) could be shared and built easily within an hour
- My kids made a few posters to put up around the house, and I wrote up the list of rules for our LEGO Club (from the Website):

1. No taking LEGOs from others
2. Respect the creations of others
3. Put blocks away when done

After confirming who was coming to LEGO Club, I made space in our living room, put out the buckets of LEGO blocks, put up our posters (and the rules), and set the snacks out on the kitchen table. My son also set out a display of his LEGO projects to show his friends. For snacks, I offered milk, juice, or water to drink, and crackers, fruit, and popcorn to eat. The popcorn was a very popular treat!

When everyone arrived at our home, we reviewed the LEGO Club rules, announced the theme of the day (and the contest, if we had one), then started building. The kids built for a while, then took a break for snacks, then went back to building. If we had a contest (like the tallest tower, or the fastest race car), we'd try to complete the contest before the parents came to pick up their kids. I took pictures of the kids' creations before we put away the blocks.

By the way, some kids were dropped off at LEGO Club by their parents, and some kids got rides with us in our van. Some days we had lots of kids, and some days we had just one or two. It was fun either way.

I changed up the snacks each week, and sometimes the parents helped provide snacks, which was really nice!

When kids wanted to make models with instructions, we provided a few small models (like the Star Wars battle packs) that could be completed within an hour.

Last year, we ended LEGO Club when the school year ended, and took a break over summer vacation.

This year, we waited until after Christmas to start LEGO Club again. We decided to have a smaller group on Thursdays after school, so we invited just a few kids to join. We also created our own LEGO Club blog, so we could display and share our cool creations online.

Note: It was harder to schedule LEGO Club part-way through the year, because the kids were already busy with after-school clubs and sports. It's much easier to schedule a LEGO Club at the start of the school year.

My son loves having a LEGO Club, and his friends seem to really enjoy it, too. I love being a part of it, although it can be a lot of work running it on my own! A few parents have come out to play, but most of the time, it's just me and the kids.

Each week after LEGO Club, we post our cool LEGO creations online. We also try to announce our upcoming themes and activities. If you'd like to participate with our LEGO Club online, you're welcome to send us your cool LEGO creations, too!

If you'd like more information about our LEGO Club, email me or post your comment below.

Pokemon Games

From my son:

"I've added another LEGO Pokemon. His name is Piplup. He's a baby penguin. In the pictures, he's standing with his friends and playing games with them. Yes, it may look like one picture doesn't have them playing Pokemon games, but actually they are. The game is called "Who can stay still the longest". Right now, Pikachu is winning.

The other game is called "Minotaurus" which is available on the Website. In that game, Absol is winning.

I'm going to make a video review of Minotaurus later."