The Story of the LEGO Brick

This is guest post by Alex Johnson

LEGO Company is on the mission of ‘inspiring the builders of tomorrow’, while many dream to work for their offices full of slides and wonder.

The LEGO Company are no strangers to allowing people to see what goes on inside their organisation. With the hit LEGO movie released in February 2014 and their new ‘Brickumentry’, the LEGO group are bigger than ever. While their gender neutral playsets has been developing since 1974, LEGO has reached a peak of their gender neutrality with their new playsets of female scientists.

Most recently they allowed Channel 4 into their head offices and factories in Denmark in a documentary called ‘The Secret World of Lego’, a programme that showed millions of viewers how the LEGO brick has changed the lives of many children and adults.


Continue reading “The Story of the LEGO Brick”

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Before and After

I’ve been unhappy for some time with the way Jake & Ellie’s toys are stored in the small space I have available. My solution was to buy some IKEA shelves & boxes; then I saw how a friend, a childminder, stored her many toys & games.

She mostly used shelves, that way nearly everything was visible & available.

As with most things in their lives I don’t like to dictate what they do; I like to give them as much choice as I can. It also helps me to be able to find toys when I need to.

So I had a tidy up!
Continue reading “Before and After”

The Story Behind the Photo

Jake & Ellie, balloons, a clown, the seafront: that was my Silent Sunday Photo yesterday, & a lovely one too I think.

What is it they say? “A picture paints 1000 words”. There are definitely a few words behind this one!

The town we live in was having a ‘Seafront Festival’ , promising rides, stalls & entertainment. There were plenty of stalls alright, & good entertainment, but only 1 ‘ride’ – a sort of long soft-play bouncy castle. Probably just as well actually, as it was £2 for 5 minutes, & of course with us everything is x2!

After an oom-pah band the entertainment was this clown, a Mr T Ricks. He did a great show: he was funny, had great rapport with the kids, made some balloons then did a great ‘Punch & Judy’ show. The twins, & the many other children there, loved it.

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We then wandered off for an over-priced lunch in a nearby cafe, then it was back to the seafront where Jake & Ellie selected their promised “1 treat & 1 toy” – both small! – each, the deal which had been thrashed out in earlier negotiations.

Jake found an ‘Angry Birds’ Pez ,which he loved, & Ellie a slurpy licky sugary juicy thing, which she didn’t. They both decided on loud horns for their toys. Oh goody…

I’d forgotten my earplugs! They sounded a lot like Vuvuzelas.

I hate Vuvuzelas!

After getting ‘tattoos’  – free from the lovely Mr Ricks – they decided they wanted to see his show again.

We’d grabbed a couple of (small!) balloons on the way – Jake a Spiderman one, & Ellie an Elsa & Anna one from her beloved ‘Frozen’. They were helium but were wrapped around their wrists so they wouldn’t fly away.

They were sitting down enjoying the show when their balloons become tangled in the wind. I stepped in to untangle them but somehow in the process Ellie’s came loose & flew off up into the sky!

She was very upset. She cried!

The lovely Mr T Ricks noticed, & actually stopped his show for her! He called her up, & made a special balloon, just for her! It took quite a while, & all the time he was making a fuss of her. And it really was a special balloon – a green-stemmed big white flower with a red love-heart inside the petal!

She still missed her ‘Frozen’ balloon but was very happy with her new one. Mr Ricks sir – you are a star!

We then walked back ‘home’. I was leading the way carrying Ellie’s flower balloon, Jake his Spiderman one, & they were tooting on their horns nearly all the way. We were like a mini-parade, & I was a little surprised all the children within earshot didn’t try to fall in line with us! We certainly got noticed!

We paraded all the way to – strange but true – the Library!

They do a weekly reading & crafting session there, 1 of the twins’ favourite activities. They made sparkly fish, & did a ‘monster-hunt’ treasure trail, & really enjoyed it all.

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Some trees we prepared earlier!

A great day, including a real Magic Moment, courtesy of a very kind clown!

For more Magic Moments just click the pic:

Apocalypse Not Now

I can’t remember exactly why I said it.

I think it was about a little reindeer used for crafting that ‘accidentally’ found its way down a plughole then was rescued, wet & a bit dirty.

“It’s not the end of the world”, I’d said. Continue reading “Apocalypse Not Now”

The gift that keeps on giving

My in-laws were here last week & as usual they came bearing gifts.

They gave Jake a remote-controlled robot.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a human being so utterly excited & happy.

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Apologies for the poor picture quality – lightbulbs & fuseboxes gave out at the same time in the new house & my ‘phone’s camera isn’t great in low light

Continue reading “The gift that keeps on giving”

Does Hogworts take 3-year-olds then?

Jake had found one of his magic wands; he loves pretending to be a witch / wizard (yes, I’ve tried explaining; he doesn’t care!) & doing Magic.

He’d been using it to do magic spells on the Mummy, while she was preparing dinner.

Says the Mummy, jovially: “I hope you weren’t trying to turn me into a frog!”

Straight away he responded, quite matter-of-factly:

“No, I just wanted you to go away”.

Riiiight…

Well, at least his cheek comes with a sense of humour, I suppose…

Also, I think the spell he’s looking for is “Expelliarmus”, but it’s probably best not to tell him that yet – just in case it actually works!

For more posts like this just click the pic:

Wot So Funee?

The Magic of Christmas?

Christmas is many things, but there’s one aspect of it that you don’t hear much about in the consumerism-obsessed, slick advert-soaked world of the media.

I’m sure though that it’s one that most parents will be aware of: that extra little weapon it adds to our armoury in aiding our  little darlings in their eternal battle between Good and Naughty:

“Father Christmas is watching!”
Continue reading “The Magic of Christmas?”

A New Game!

Jake has invented a game!

Everyone else has to close their eyes while he goes away to find a toy which he then hides under some paper.

Once hidden away we’re allowed to open our eyes. Next he tells us the sound that the object’s word starts with, & what colour it is.

We then have to guess what it is, asking questions if we’re not sure:

“Is it soft or hard?” “Can you eat it (in real life)?” and the like.

Once guessed it becomes someone else’s turn to find & hide a toy for the rest to guess.

He came up with this completely unbidden, all by himself, with no help at all from anyone else.

I’m proud as punch!

I wonder if there’s time to get the board game out for Christmas? Mr Hasbro?

By the way, games marketers: it’s copyright already, so don’t go getting any funny ideas, OK?

You Can’t Resist the Call of the Nerf!

This is a guest post in collaboration with one of our partners, toy expert James Stanley

Children and toys go together like eggs and ham. Each child always has his or her favorite plaything that goes everywhere with them and for a time becomes their whole world.

This close attachment to a toy means that the child will often take it to bed with them, or play with it while parents are busy and this is why it’s vital for a toy to be safe. We’re not just talking about hidden spikes, or loose buttons that can present a choking hazard, but about the actual operation of the toy too. Most children’s toys are safe for unsupervised play, but there are also some that will need adult supervision.

A good example of a toy for your little boy that is relatively safe but would still be better with adult supervision is a Nerf gun. With the Nerf N-Strike Elite Centurion Blaster you’ll need to make sure your children don’t fire darts at each other’s eyes, or at Granny’s priceless thimble collection. You’ll also be teaching them how to take aim properly and hit targets!

This gun takes fake shootouts up a notch or two, as the Nerf N-Strike Elite Centurion Blaster can fire its darts up to 100 feet away, which will help your boy to hone his sharpshooting skills. It’s designed for outdoor use, as you might imagine, and you really should be on hand to make sure your children aim at sensible targets and start to develop a respect for guns.

People often complain that children don’t spend enough time outdoors these days, and that they’re cosseted and over-protected from everyday thrills and spills. This is one good reason to get a trampoline set up at the bottom of the garden. Not only are trampolines amazingly good fun, but bouncing up and down on them teaches a variety of balancing and coordination skills, as well as building muscle and improving circulation. There are lots of reports about broken wrists, however, and many people won’t consider having a trampoline because of this, but if you have a safety net around it, and make sure the children don’t overcrowd the trampoline and start body slamming, everyone should have fun.

The New JDaddy

Jake, the other day, to me:

“Daddy, you can eat my pudding, but only if you don’t pick your lip. If you pick your lip you can’t have any pudding, OK? OK, Daddy?”

A bit – Wow.

Very like my saying: “Ellie, you can have some ice-cream, but you have to clear up your toys first”.
Continue reading “The New JDaddy”