Exploring Free Play- Fostering Imagination and Growth

As a Gen X parent, I never quite understood why we “had” to fill our kids afternoons and free time with 10,000 activities (sports, club meetings, scouting, etc.). My brother and I didn’t have tons of stuff each day after school. By the time I was in the 5th grade, both my parents worked, and frequently we were left home alone for a few hours after school a couple times a week.

We did our homework, played, read, and did chores. Even before that, there were plenty of times where we were home without structured activities. We still had scouts, soccer (my brother did AYSO for one season and decided it wasn’t for him), Key Club, Choir, JV Football. Many kids in my generation were latchkey kids and filled their afternoons with free and imaginative play.

Free play is an incredible learning tool for kids. It fosters imagination and gives kids opportunities to discover and explore. There are all sorts of toys that encourage free play- dolls, food toys, blocks, legos, to name a few.

My two love Playmobil. Playmobil is a German company that has been around since the 1970’s. They have so many different sets and types of toys- everything from princesses and fairies to knights and safari sets.

A jungle adventure after preschool. Complete with a feast

Recently, my son and daughter started pulling out some of their people as well as some of the animals and created their own adventure. Enter Carl the Mongoose and Mr. Chicken. Carl is a Meerkat, and Mr. Chicken is a Bald Eagle, but the names have stuck.  Other characters include The Birdkeeper and The Man with the Gray Hat, and Cleopatrick (my daughter named her). All of these people are from various sets, Cleo was the only one that sort of resembles her name, as she came from an awesome set of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.

The animals and their people have all sorts of adventures. They have run a food truck, run a zoo, been on a cruise, gone on safari, hunted for wild animals, opened an iron and gold mine, run an orphanage (we have a lot of little kid Playmobil people), gone to college, gone to preschool, and taken a road trip to the “ocean” in Ohio. We paused the game for a bit to look at the US map to discover there is no ocean in Ohio, but they could go to Lake Erie instead. It was deemed the “Lake Erie ocean beach” adventure.

These adventures give the kids a chance to explore themselves and work on interpersonal relationships, even if it’s as a talking Bald Eagle and his keeper.

Even in these crazy times where nothing is certain, give your kids some time to play and explore. Taking a “brain break” (which is what the big kiddos teacher calls them) throughout the day for some playtime may help your kids more than you think.

Right now we are all home together, trying to scramble into some sort of routine of distance learning, being quiet while we all learn/work, breaks, and trying to play after school is over without making too much noise while grown ups work. It’s tough. It’s crazy. The house is messy, we’re frazzled, and we weren’t “with it” last week to follow our meal plan. But we got through it, and we’re trying again this week.

We’re all learning. And that means we should grant ourselves grace.

Be kind to yourself. Wash your paws, wear a mask, flatten the curve. Have a good week!

 

Win a VIP experience to THE LEGO® MOVIE™ WORLD!

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Check this out! You can win a family pack of passes to check out the new The Lego Movie World at Legoland California.

Be the First to:

  • Ride Emmett’s Flying Adventure
  • Ride Unikitty’s Disco Drop
  • and Meet your Favorite Characters!

Entering is as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Like their Facebook Page
  2. Shared the Pinned Facebook Post
  3. That’s it!

The Lego Movie World opens on March 27th! I’ll be there and I’ll be posting photos and videos on Instagram!

 

If you are looking for ways to save money going to Legoland or while you are there, check out my post here.

Brick Or Treat Party nights are Back at Legoland California!

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I’m stoked! Brick or Treat is back at Legoland! This will be our 3rd year going, and the kids can’t wait!

Join Legoland California every Saturday night (Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 12, 19, and 26) at 5 p.m. The family theme Park transforms into the ultimate family Halloween party with tasty goodies, monster jams and spooktacular entertainment! With treat stations located throughout the Park and inside SEA LIFE® Aquarium, there is sure to be something to satisfy every sweet tooth. Along with tons of candy, guests can collect specialty items such as LEGO® Commemorative brick, LEGO® Life Magazine and healthy treat options!

The popular Brick-or-Treat festivities are back with a new out of this world Pop Badge Challenge! Families can collect an exclusive Brick-or-Treat pop badge by snapping a selfie with an intergalactic dancer at Club Astro Bash! After dancing their way at Planet Boogie, they can collect one pop badge per weekend, with an exclusive, new Pop Badge design offered each Brick-or-Treat Party Night!

The ultimate family Halloween party is filled with frighteningly- fun entertainment as the Boo Crew returns with a new creepy crawly stilt walker, The Spider Queen! Guests can get in the Halloween spirit by jumping in and boogieing down at the seasons most frighteningly-fun dance parties which includes Midnight Monster Jam where guests help the Monster Crew bring their spooky fun character concert to life! Wacky Professor Frankenbrick returns to Brick-or-Treat with one goal: to be the best mad scientist in the world! Kids can partake in the interactive Frankenbrick’s Lab show by using their imagination to bring his LEGO® Monsters to life. Kids can celebrate the season by singing along and moving their feet to the beat with The Witchettes in the Courtyard Theatre or by joining in the interactive play, Mail Order Monsters. Guests also have a chance to win some scream worthy prizes by showing off their coolest costumes in the Brick-Or-Treat Costume Contest presented by Disguise Costumes! With three categories: Group, Heroes & Villains and LEGO Themed, as well as a Costume Parade for all kids to join in, there is a chance for everyone to strut their stuff during the Halloween celebration!

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is a special event and admission can be purchased for as low as $64 if purchased online in advance. Special event ticket holders can enjoy costume contests, decorations, character meet and greets, trick-or-treating, live music and tons of frightfully festive entertainment. Guests can follow the fun by using #BRICKORTREAT2019 on social media.

We’re going on October 5th, make sure to keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram Feed for photos of all of the cool treats, spooky costumes, and of course, Granny’s Apple Fries!

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Coming to DVD & Blu-Ray on May 7th!! (Giveaway) #WBSponsored

The Lego Movie 2 The Second Part 2D.JPGDisclosure: Warner Bros. supplied me with a free copy of The Lego Movie2: The Second Part for my family. All opinions are my own.

Everything is AWESOME! We are HUGE fans of anything Lego, so when I found out that The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part was coming out on DVD & Blu-Ray on May 7th, I told the kids and we decided: MOVIE PARTY!

If you can’t wait until 5/7, you can buy a digital-only copy on starting April 16th! “The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part” will be available to own in high definition and standard definition from select digital retailers including Amazon, FandangoNow, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others.

If you aren’t “in the know”, Here’s the movie synopsis:

It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are now facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than it can be rebuilt. The battle to defeat the invaders and restore harmony to the LEGO universe will take Emmet (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett) and their friends to faraway, unexplored worlds, including a galaxy filled with fantastic planets, strange characters, and catchy new songs. It will test their courage, creativity and Master Building skills, and reveal just how special they really are.

And of course, there are special features… The kids and I love the special features from the Lego Batman Movie, so I’m sure the special features on The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part will be just as awesome. They include:

  • Everything is Awesome Sing-along – Sing-along, trivia, games and more!
  • Commentary – Fun behind the scenes commentary by filmmakers​
  • They Come in Pieces: Assembling The LEGO Movie 2​ – Featurette highlighting A-list voice talent including Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett and Tiffany Haddish
  • Emmet’s Holiday Party: A LEGO Movie Short – Holiday themed animated short
  • LEGO Sets in Action – Animations of the LEGO product tied to The LEGO Movie 2
  • LEGO Designers – LEGO toy designers highlight key play sets in TLM2 product line
  • Outtakes & Deleted Scenes – Never before seen scenes
  • Super Cool Music Video – Music video by Beck featuring Robyn and The Lonely Island
  • Promotion Spots – Fun custom spots featured during the theatrical campaign

 

And because everything is AWESOME, our friends at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment want to give a DVD of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part to one of my readers!

Entering is easy! Leave a comment on this blog post with your favorite Lego Memory. It could be building Legos as a child, with your kids, visiting Legoland, or going to see The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (or any other Lego Movie) in theatres. I’ll choose a winner at random on May 4th.

 

 

 

#TheLEGOMovie2

Rare Deal on Legos This Week at Target…

IMG_1587.JPGYup, you read that right. Legos hardly ever go on sale! So if your family is like ours, you’ll jump at this chance.

Starting today through next Saturday, score a free $10 gift card with $50 purchase of select LEGO toys (both in-store and online).

And wanna make that deal sweeter? Save an extra 5% off this or any purchase when you sign up for and use a Target Red Card.

I’ve had the Target Red Card  for 3 years or so- It saves us big time!

 

We have the Target Red Debit Card, so it’s just like using our Debit Card at checkout. There is also a Target Red Card that is a credit card. If you are a Target shopper with any frequency, it’s worth signing up for a Target Red Card (either debit or credit). 5% off each time really adds up.

Wanna learn the tips for saving the most at Target? Check out this post.

Brick or Treat is Coming Back at Legoland!

BOT_PumpkinBuild_LLF_secondary.JPGI told the kids this morning that we’ll be going to Brick or Treat at Legoland this year, and they were so excited.

LEGOLAND® California Resort transforms into a monster mash bash for the ultimate family fun during its Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween celebration, presented by Disguise Costumes, every Saturday night (Sept. 29, Oct. 6, 13, 20, & 27) at 5 p.m. with more Park after dark!  LEGOLAND® California‘s Halloween festivities is filled with sweeter treats, exciting entertainment and not-so-spooky thrills.

bot-t2-sea life.jpgAlong with 16 Treat Stations sure to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth, guests can collect specialty items such as LEGO® commemorative brick, LEGO® Life Magazine containing a special gift and enjoy a bonus treat station inside SEA LIFE® aquarium.  In addition to the treat stations, the kids can’t wait to check out:

  • Frankenbrick’s Lab, kids can partake in an interactive show with a chance to act as scientists on stage and create their own slime
  • Model Shop roof will be the home to AstroBash, a space-themed dance party that’s out of this world
  • A new pop-badge challenge in Fun Town
  • A fall festival complete with a LEGO®pumpkin patch building activity, BOOgrass Band (this is my favorite part of the night- Seriously! Everything is awesome done by a bluegrass band… it’s rad!)
  • And Bitty’s Favorite- A special LEGO® Friends meet and greet in Heartlake City, where kids can decorate their own craft

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Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is a special event and admission can be purchased for as low as $54 if purchased online in advance.  Additionally, guests can purchase a full 2nd day Resort Hopper ticket to enjoy LEGOLAND California, SEA LIFE aquarium and LEGOLAND® Water Park.  Special event ticket holders can enjoy costume contests, trick-or-treating at candy stations filled with tasty goodies and other surprises, festive music and live entertainment.

LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on select dates throughout October.  With special event admission to Brick-or-Treat Party Nights on September 29, October 6, 13, 20 and 27, guests can extend their day until 9 p.m. at both LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium to enjoy all the Halloween festivities plus add on a 2nd day Resort Hopper to extend the fun all weekend long.  For exclusive savings and more information, visit www.BRICKORTREAT.com or call 760-918-5346.

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Exploring Legoland:Assisted Access Pass

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“No Mommy, I don’t want to have my picture taken with a shark, I want to pick my nose.” Margaret

Recently, the kids and I got a sneak peak of the Lego City: Deep Sea Adventure ride. It was great fun- it combines a submarine ride, a treasure hunt, and Legos! The kids had a blast. Henry loved getting his picture taken with Lego “Sharky”, and of course the building station to entertain the kids while we waited in line.  I like that the building station has directions and information about real life fish and ocean wildlife that kids can build with the Legos found at the building station.

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Henry loves Legoland, and so does Margaret. I love taking them. In addition to fun rides, there are tons of areas for kids to play, run, build Lego, and splash (in addition to the water park). What I really like is that they offer an Assisted Access Pass.

A lot of readers don’t know this, but Henry is ASD (That’s Autism Spectrum Disorder). So going on rides, waiting in line with a lot of people, loud noises, and weird smells can trigger him and lead to meltdowns, or just shutting down (sensory overload). Thankfully Legoland offers the Assisted Access Pass. For anyone with a disability, pick one up at Guest Services near the entrance. The pass entitles the pass holder, plus up to five additional people in your party to by-pass the regular line, and wait in a shortened line.

After you get into the by-pass line, the Model Citizen (that’s the staff member) will sign your pass and give you the next time that you can utilize the pass again. You can use it all day. We usually use it 3-4 times to go on the rides the kids really want to go on and have a long line. The wait time to use the pass again can be passed at a splash pad, play area, or building station. There is lots to see and do besides rides. There are quiet areas where kids (and adults) can decompress and relax at both First Aid and The Baby Care Center.

469ABCF7-367C-4837-BF98-445D13D1A387.jpgI also like that you can bring your own snacks into Legoland too. I pack our backpack full of snacks and treats, and our reusable Camelback bottles , (which you can refill with ice and water for free at anyone of the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines throughout the park).  But- the kids and I do love the goodies and treats at Legoland. Especially, Granny’s Apple Fries.

If you and your kiddos are ravenous after 5pm in the park, check out this deal:

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 8.56.38 PM.pngKIDS EAT FREE AFTER 5 PM THROUGH 8/18/2018 * Fun Town’s Urban Kitchen, Wok ‘N’ Bowl Ramen, Garden Deli & Café, Pizza Pasta Buffet and Smokehouse BBQ only. Offer is available for a limited time, see locations for availability and details. Kids receive one FREE Kids’ Meal with the purchase of one full-price adult entrée. Offer is available after 5pm at Fun Town’s Urban Kitchen, Wok ‘N’ Bowl Ramen, Garden Deli & Café, Pizza Pasta Buffet and Smokehouse BBQ at LEGOLAND® California. Adult entrée purchase equals one FREE Kids’ Meal. Cannot be combined with any other discount or offer. Restrictions apply. The right of final interpretation resides with LEGOLAND California Resort. Prices, times and schedules subject to change without notice.

The kids dig the Pizza and Pasta Buffet.  I dig Kids Eat Free.

And here are photos of Henry pretending to be Arthur- The king, not the aardvark.

 

For our family, Legoland is a great way to spend the day together on our schedule, with little to no stress.  Talk Back: What is your favorite way to spend time with your family that low key and enjoyable?

 

 

LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel opens tomorrow (and a deal)!

The kids and I are so excited! In just a few hours, we’ll be headed up to Legoland California for the opening of the Castle Hotel. We’re getting a sneak peak today, and the hotel opens officially tomorrow!

The kids are excited because the Hotel featuring more than 2,000 LEGO models made out of three million LEGO® bricks, a Knock-knock Joke Door (Henry is big into knock knock jokes), LEGO play pit, interactive play structures and themed entertainment each night. Oh, and the pool.

LLstatueInstall_0152.JPGThe pool has two interactive features: a water fountain and two tipping baskets which will splash guests in the pool from above.

The Royal Courtyard also features a picnic/cinema area with a large movie screen and seating, a stage for daily performances, a DUPLO® play area for toddlers and a Knight Training interactive playground for those children ready to balance, climb and play.

So, be expecting a lot of photos and posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I can’t wait to show you all of the awesome stuff going on up at Legoland and the new Legoland Castle hotel.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 8.33.29 AM.pngAnd if you are looking for a deal on Legoland Tickets, Don’t forget to check your local Denny’s location for a Kid’s Go Free Coupons! I found these at our local Denny’s!

I spied a fresh new pad of these coupons out at our local Santee Denny’s last week!

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Two New Exhibits at Lego SEA LIFE® Aquarium

I’m stoked that the kids and I are feeling better! It’s spring break for the next two weeks and there are two new exhibits at Lego SEA LIFE® Aquarium!SeaLife_0315.JPGSeaLife_0301.JPG

On our next visit, we can take a splash in the ocean without ever getting wet and become a shark explorer at SEA LIFE® aquarium’s two newest exhibits: Sea at Night and Shark Mission!  Open just in time for spring break, both exhibits allow guests to learn about marine life in a fun and interactive way.

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Sea at Night invites guests to jump, leap and “splash” into simulated bioluminescent waves that react to their footsteps.  The reaction created by the guests’ movements demonstrates the effect of a glowing tide similar to ones often seen along the Pacific coastline.

Shark Mission allows kids to come face to fin with six different species of sharks and rays on three giant touch screens.  Young explorers can learn about anatomy, conservation and other cool facts through interactive activities and games.  Guests can also hold a shark’s tooth, learn about shark skin and eggs, plus step into a shark cage.

Sea at Night and Shark Mission are open now for guests to explore at SEA LIFE aquarium.  For more information, visit the Legoland website.

Screen Shot 2018-03-26 at 10.43.29 AM.pngDon’t forget to check your local Denny’s location for a Kid’s Go Free Coupons! I found these at our local Denny’s!

Legoland Ticket Deals!

unnamed.jpgI just discovered this deal this morning, and I had to share! Ya’ll know we love going to Legoland, and with the new Ninjago 4-D Experience that just opened last month, there is even more to see and enjoy.

Groupon has ticket deals for Legoland California. 50% Off Legoland Florida & California Tickets for either 2 or 4 2 day park hopper tickets. But, the deal gets even sweeter (you know it would, right?), you can save 25% Off Groupon with New Coupon Code NOW25. Oh, and you can use the coupon code 3 times per account!

unnamed (1).jpgThe new Legoland Castle Hotel is opening on April 27, 2018! I can’t wait to check it out once it’s completed! I love that Legoland hotels are just more than a place to crash at the end of your Legoland day. The Royal Courtyard outside is designed to immerse children in a fairy tale of their own creation with a DUPLO play area for the younger kids, larger play structures for the older kids, giant movie screen for nighttime movies, a stage for live plays and shows, a gradual incline pool and hot tub. The pool bar and grill will offer smoothies, sandwiches and salads prepared fresh to order. And, for our family, we love that breakfast will be included with each guest’s stay and includes made-to-order items along with a buffet (our kids love breakfast!).

With so much to see and do at Legoland, this Groupon deal is the perfect excuse to plan a trip over Spring Break!

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Henry’s latest Lego Creation