Great LEGO® build ideas for the holidays

It’s the summer holidays. While the kids might be jumping for joy, parents can’t be blamed for feeling just a little overwhelmed at the idea of keeping the kids entertained and out of trouble for 7 long weeks. We have you covered, with a few fun LEGO® and LEGO DUPLO® projects that offer up plenty to keep the kids occupied for at least some of the time.

Count down to Christmas

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Build a Christmas tree…

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… and a reindeer

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6 fun activities from LEGO®

These smart ideas are all simple tasks that invoke the Christmas spirit in us all. Get the kids making adorable Christmas cards and decorations and you’ll be ticking more than just “Keep the kids occupied” off your list.

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Checkmate!

LEGO chess set

Now here’s a fun building challenge for that budding chess player in the family.

Get them to create their own chess board out of LEGO®. This will certainly help them remember better how each piece is allowed to move on the board and, well, it’s kind of cool too!

Get all the instructions at teachbesideme.com

Got some of your own ideas on how to keep the kids busy with LEGO®? Share with us in the comments section below!

Discover your LEGO® favourites the old-fashioned way

Our fast-paced technological age means that kids are spending more time in front of a screen and less time learning to solve problems with their own hands and ingenuity.

Technology certainly has its place and knowing how to use it is an essential skill for kids these days. But so too, is the ability to create, discover and learn spatially.

We’ve all heard the long list of benefits of LEGO® play. Not only does it improve fine motor skill, (an essential and often under developed skill in young children), but it also helps kids to interact well with each other, forming relationships based on sharing and teamwork.

LEGO® play is versatile

It can be about teamwork or solo problem solving. It can be totally fantasy-driven, focused on free-building to create whatever you dream up, or it can be about following instructions.

It’s about being in the moment

Playing with LEGO® blocks and sets is always interactive and demands focus right then and there. Watch any young child absorbed in their LEGO® building task and you will understand the importance of losing yourself in the creation so completely, discovering the laws of physics and geometry and the wonders of creativity along the way.

Visit our stores to discover, play and learn

That’s why we’ve taken care to set aside interactive play areas in three of our four stores. We also hold regular LEGO® builds, as all of this encourages kids (and adults!) to immerse themselves in the wonders of LEGO® play.

What you’ll find:

  • Interactive LEGO® wall with troughs of bricks for free build activity that includes mosaic building
  • LEGO® Play tables
  • LEGO® DUPLO pit
  • LEGO® Club availability to sit and build one of a selection of complete sets provided for building on-site at tables

These school holidays, stop by our stores in Habitat Centre, Somerset West, Blue Route Mall and Willowbridge Shopping Centre where you’ll find piles of LEGO® blocks to build from. It’s a good diversion for the kids, and by good, we mean genuinely constructive learning through play!

Our interactive areas are always overseen by a designated Kiddiwinks staff member, and we encourage parents to stay and even join in.

Find a store near you by visiting shop.kiddiwinks.co.za

The brick that built an empire

Did you know that 33 000 bricks are manufactured every minute at LEGO® factories? That might seem a lot, but it’s just enough to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for this sought-after toy. The LEGO® brick’s simple design makes it versatile and so precise that it remains unrivaled over the almost 60 years it has been in production.

The two basic components that make a LEGO® piece unique are its studs on the top and the tubes within. The studs are a little bigger than the space between the tubes and the walls, so that when two pieces are pressed together, friction works to keep them together.

“Our products have undergone extensive development over the years – but the foundation remains the traditional LEGO® brick.

The brick in its present form was launched in 1958. The interlocking principle with its tubes makes it unique and offers unlimited building possibilities. It’s just a matter of getting the imagination going – and letting a wealth of creative ideas emerge through play.” – The LEGO® Group

This smart design means that you can build anything from a basic LEGO model airplane to a giant LEGO® sculpture, or in James May’s case, even a full-size LEGO® house in the country.

LEGO® parts are made from a durable plastic called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and are created mechanically, via robots which inject molten plastic into moulds.

 

The ABS comes in a granule form and is melted down at 232 degrees Celsius before being injected into the moulds. The moulds are extremely accurate, which is how LEGO® bricks are so uniform. The mould precision tolerance is as little as 0.002 millimeters, according to How Stuff Works.

Once injected into the mould, the ABS is compressed at a pressure of between 25 and 150 tons. It takes just 7 seconds for the LEGO® piece to cool sufficiently to fall out onto a conveyor belt and into a bin to be sorted.

When it comes to quality assurance, LEGO® has a thorough process. Drop, torque, tension, compression, bite and impact tests are mechanised all to ensure that pieces are safe and sturdy.

“Technicians use a measuring beaker to determine whether pieces could cause a choking hazard for small children. For every million LEGO® elements, about 18, or 0.00002 percent, fail to pass the tests.” – How Stuff Works

Perhaps that’s why a LEGO® piece is almost indestructible – and why it hurts so darn much to step on one! In fact, Software developer and LEGO® fan Phillipe Cantin conducted an experiment to find out just how much force you’d need to exert on a two-by-two brick before it gave out. It turns out you’d need the equivalent of 950 pounds of pressure for it to give way.

So, not only is the LEGO® brick built for versatility, it’s also built to last, making it one of the most outstanding toys out there.

 

Visit the Kiddiwinks online shop or find the nearest Cape Town store near you to find the LEGO® sets you love!

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Say hello to 2017’s LEGO® Minifigure Series

After much anticipation, the LEGO® Collectable Minifigures Series 17 is finally on shelves.

You can expect a good variety of the quirky and goofy in this set, including Corn Cob Guy and Butterfly Girl, sporting equally hilarious descriptions.

Corn Cob Guy’s description on the LEGO® site wins the prize for the corniest:

“Pop this guy any question about corn, and prepare to be a-maized! He’ll teach you how to plant, grow, reap, cook, pop, eat, dress like, and even act like corn.”

And Butterfly Girl’s description sits firmly in the quirky category:

“Flies like a butterfly, dreams like an entomologist. Can’t wait to grow old enough to raise a pet caterpillar of her own.”

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With another 15 minifigures in this series, there’s plenty of variety. As usual, collecting them can offer a great incentive for the youngster (or even, eternal youngster) in your life needing to get good grades, do their homework and their chores.

The LEGO® Collectable Minifigures Series 17 list:

  1. Battle Dwarf,
  2. Veterinarian,
  3. Circus Strong Man,
  4. Corn Cob Guy,
  5. Elf Girl,
  6. Hot Dog Man,
  7. Gourmet Chef,
  8. Connoisseur,
  9. Rocket Boy,
  10. Retro Spaceman,
  11. Roman Gladiator,
  12. Professional Surfer,
  13. Dance Instructor,
  14. Butterfly Girl,
  15. The Yuppie,
  16. The Highwayman. He was the mystery minifigure that was recently revealed by BrickBrains.com.

LEGO Minifigure Series 17 Highwayman

How old is the LEGO® minifigure?

All this hype had us asking ourselves how the minifigure first came into being in the LEGO® Group’s long history. It turns out that’s almost 40 years with the first minifigure as we know it being released in 1978. Its facial expression is simple: two eyes and a smiling mouth. Three years before that, a version of the minifigure had been released, with the same cylindrical head as the minifigure we know but without moveable arms or legs, and no facial features either.

Watch this quick evolution of the minifigure:

By 1989, according to Gizmodo, new facial features were added to coincide with the release of LEGO® Pirates. The pirate minifigures sported stubble, eyepatches and beards and the female pirates had lipstick. Each wore accessories in the form of hats or carried some kind of weapon. And so the minifigure with its accessories became established.

By 1990, the LEGO® Group had released its first specialised minifigure along with the LEGO® Castle set: the LEGO® ghost. This particular minifigure had a ghost suit which fits over a normal minifigure. Thus, you could assume Corn Cob Guy’s direct descendent goes all the way back to the LEGO® Castle set of 1990.

Watch this video by Gizmodo to see how LEGO® minifigures are produced in the factory:

Order each new LEGO® minifigure from Series 17 at our online shop or
visit our three Cape Town stores.

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Why LEGO® DUPLO® bricks are the bridge for better building

It’s a common question many parents have when it comes to introducing their toddler to LEGO® bricks:

Should we start with LEGO® DUPLO® sets or skip straight to LEGO® sets?

The general assumption is that kids are likely to play with LEGO® bricks from toddler to teenage-hood. We often don’t even consider that LEGO® DUPLO® bricks offer the same longevity. After all, their design is compatible with LEGO® bricks and therefore a valuable element in the building process. There are even convertors which allow for LEGO® DUPLO® bricks to be used with other older LEGO® sets.

Adults love LEGO® DUPLO® pieces too

Many adult fans of LEGO® (AFOLs) make use of LEGO® DUPLO® pieces in their MOCs usually to fill out a large structure, since LEGO® DUPLO® bricks interlock with LEGO® bricks and are also the same colours. Brick Blogger expands on how LEGO® DUPLO® sets will grow with you.

This LEGO® DUPLO® cow jumping over the moon is done by Build with me blog.
This LEGO® DUPLO® cow jumping over the moon is done by Build with me blog.

 

 

 

Build with me blog also created this clever version of the woman who lived in a shoe.
Build with me blog also created this clever version of the woman who lived in a shoe.

Kids need to play safely

While we all love LEGO® play, introducing LEGO® sets too young not only poses something of a safety risk for children under three years of age, it also hinders their ability to make developmental progress on their own.

It can be a frustrating process for parents too as the smaller, more intricate LEGO® bricks will require that parents facilitate play, which can interrupt precious moments of discovery for your child.

DUPLO Friends castle, horse and carriage


Shop LEGO® DUPLO® sets


LEGO® DUPLO® bricks helps kids learn

LEGO® DUPLO® bricks are something of a developmental bridge for your child. Here are four broad ways that LEGO® DUPLO® play is beneficial for young children:

Fine motor skills

They offer the opportunity for kids to improve their fine motor skills through repetitive motions using blocks that are designed to aid and encourage play for this very reason.

Toddler building with DUPLO

Social skills

Playing with LEGO® DUPLO® bricks helps kids to build on their social skills through role play, sharing and teamwork.

Figure out the world

Kids spend a lot of time trying to figure out the world through experiments and deductions. LEGO® DUPLO® play encourages these thought processes and gets them to match up things like shapes and colours too.

Creativity and problem-solving

Two absolutely essential aspect of human thought are developed from a young age. LEGO ®DUPLO® bricks offer endless possibilities for experimenting and creating, offering kids the means by which they might follow one train of thought to resolve a burning question about the world, only to pursue yet another thought, seamlessly.

Consider including some LEGO® DUPLO® sets in your collection for a versatile, fun way to bridge the gap for young kids to learn through play and adults looking for great LEGO® building options.


Visit the Kiddiwinks online store


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Clean your LEGO® bricks the right way

From time to time, your LEGO® collection will need some freshening up. We take a look at various methods that people of the web have shared, as well as a few ideas of our own.

What The LEGO® Group says

First off, The LEGO® Group recommends that you wash your LEGO® blocks by hand using a mild detergent (something akin to Sunlight liquid) in water temperature of no more than 40℃. They add that you should take care to rinse the detergent off properly to avoid any discolouration. Let them dry naturally, or carefully dry each brick using a soft dry towel

Using mild bleach

This one is for those badly soiled LEGO® bricks. The LEGO® Group recommends that you use a very mild bleach and perhaps it’s worth also saying that you shouldn’t leave the bricks in to soak for longer than a few minutes.

Brighten up yellowing bricks

Older bricks tend to yellow if exposed to too much sunlight – especially the white, blue and light grey LEGO bricks. You can rectify this using hydrogen peroxide. According to Brothers Brick, the bricks undergo a chemical reaction to the H2O2, that effectively helps to bring the colours back up. You can get 100ml bottles of hydrogen peroxide from Clicks for about R16. Here’s a step-by-step whitening method that AFOL John Tooker swears by.

Darth Vader in the bath

Stick ‘em in a laundry bag and into the washing machine

If you’re pressed for time and needing a quick cleaning solution, then this might appeal to you, however, be warned that there’s a high chance that your bricks will sustain scratches. The LEGO® Group itself warns against putting your LEGO® bricks into the washing machine or dishwasher. But, some LEGO® users attest to this method, adding that they run the machine on a lower temperature wash. This LEGO® cleaning method is probably used most by parents that need a way of getting sticky food stuff off their kid’s LEGO® bricks quickly and with the least elbow-grease.


Visit our online store to find a wide selection of awesome LEGO® products


Keep clear LEGO® pieces shiny

Since tiny scratches show up more on the transparent LEGO® pieces such as windshield, so do keep them separate when you give your LEGO® bricks a good clean. To restore these pieces back to a shinier version of themselves, someone has discovered the wonders of wood floor cleaners. Andy Taylor has written an entire post on the subject over at The Brick Blogger, offering a step-by-step guide using Pledge WoodCare. It is the liquid acrylic that you want, which Andy later explains is “a clear very dilute acrylic medium based floor polish.”

Cleaning those minifigures

LEGO Minifigure doing his laundry

In order to keep the printed details of your minifigures intact, it’s critical that you take the utmost care when you go about cleaning them. Ebay has a great post on how to clean vintage minifigures, which is worth applying to newer minifigures.

Got any other LEGO® cleaning ideas up your sleeves? Share it with us in the comments section below.

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Another LEGO® film release for 2017: NINJAGO™

The LEGO® Batman Movie hit the silver screen in February 2017 and there’s little doubt that fans of the LEGO® films are in their element. But, in case they – or anyone else – thought that was enough, think again. This year is set to see the release of another LEGO® film: The LEGO® NINJAGO Movie.

If you haven’t yet been to watch The LEGO® Batman Movie, then the following trailer is sure to convince you to book your tickets. It’s on until early March, so you can get your fix.


Seen the film already? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below.


Earlier this month, The LEGO® Group announced that a NINJAGO™ film is on its way, set for release in September 2017. With a voice-over cast of Hollywood stars including Jackie Chan, Justin Thoreux and Olivia Munn, it’s another big one for LEGO® fans.

And if the latest trailer is anything to go by, it’s set to be laugh-out-loud hilarious in the LEGO® movie comedy style. Watch the trailer:


Are you looking forward to The LEGO® NINJAGO Movie release? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.


Check out the latest NINJAGO™ sets at our online store.

Kiddiwinks LEGO Ninjago footer

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Kiddiwinks joins Expresso to talk about The LEGO® Batman™ Movie

We joined Expresso early on Friday, 10 February, to talk about the release of The LEGO® Batman™ Movie.

Ernest De Wet of Kiddiwinks Willowbridge took Expresso presenters Katlego Maboe and Ewan Strydom through the building the The Joker™ Balloon Escape LEGO® set.

The set itself is a re-enactment from a The Joker’s escape scene in the film itself, complete with his detachable balloon backpack, and Batman’s grappling gun.The Joker Balloon Escape LEGO setThe LEGO® Group has released approximately 15 different sets for The LEGO® Batman™ Movie, many of which you will find over at our online store.

Kat and Ewan were in competition to see who would complete the set first, with Ewan saying he is thankful that he has spent time building LEGO® sets with his son, because it means he has an advantage on Kat, who appeared to be struggling to keep up.

Watch the videos below to find out who completed the set first.
Pay a visit to our physical stores situated at Blue Route Mall, Willowbridge Mall and Palmyra Junction to get your favourite LEGO® sets.

Get the store addresses and contact details.

LEGO® terms and phrases you should know

Cape Town has its very own LEGO® User Group. Launched by Marick Hornsveld, this young organisation’s guiding principle is simple: to create a platform where enthusiasts can share their passion with one another.

“We aim to promote LEGO® as a hobby and learning tool for young and old and grow LEGO®’s footprint in South Africa.” – CapeLUG

Read more about what to expect at CapeLUG.

In celebration of its launch, we take a look at a few concepts and phrases commonly used in LUG circles:

LUG – LEGO User Group

Known in the LEGO® community as LUGs, groups like this act as a way likeminded individuals can share and learn about the vast possibilities around the humble brick.

RLUG – Recognised LEGO® User Group

LUGS are standardised by the LEGO® Ambassador Network into “Recognised LUGS” using three main requirements, namely, that the group be organised for a full 12 months, have no less than 20 members, and lastly, that it participates or hosts a few exhibitions, displays or conventions. The benefits of being a Recognised LUG (RLUG) will mean support for relevant projects and events that the RLUG does.

AFOL – Adult Fans of LEGO®

Adult fans constitute a significant part of the LEGO® community around the world. AFOLs are builders and collectors of LEGO® rather than passive admirers. IF you’re a fan of LEGO® but not quite an adult, then you’ll be known as:

KFOL – Kid Fan of LEGO®
TFOL – Teenaged Fan of LEGO®
YFOL – Young Fan of LEGO®

AFOLs, KFOLs and TFOLs also have names for friends and family that aren’t necessarily as enthusiastic about LEGO® as they are:

NLF – Non-LEGO® Friend
NLSO – Non-LEGO® Significant Other
NLS – Non-LEGO® Spouse

TLG – The LEGO® Group

Even the LEGO® Group has its own abbreviation.

It helps to know a few of the acronyms and abbreviations associated with the actual LEGO® pieces too:

Brick

Refers to a typical LEGO® piece used to build.

Stud

The protruding nodule on a brick that is used to fit another brick in the building process.

Plate

The base on which a LEGO® model is built. Surface area can vary, but is always a third of the height of a single brick.

Minifig

The famous LEGO® figurine. LEGO minifigure walking

MOC – My Own Creation

Refers to the LEGO® models that are designed and built by LEGO® fans.

LEGO® is filled with abbreviations for all kinds of terms. To find out more of them, visit lego.wikia.com or thebrickblogger.com

Got any terms you think are essentials for LEGO® enthusiasts to know? Tell us in the comments section below.

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5 LEGO® stocking fillers under R150

The excitement is building for those youngsters anticipating a visit from Father Christmas. No doubt, that means that you’re running around trying to find a few key gifts to bring a bit of that Christmas magic home these holidays. If you’re after ideas for smaller gifts to fill those stockings, then you’ve come to the right place.

Here are 5 LEGO® items that will have your gift recipients squealing for joy and which will keep them suitably occupied so that you can put your feet up and enjoy the silly season too:

Friends Party Sets

LEGO Friends Party Styling

These small scenario sets are fun to build and play with. Jewel the cat gets ready for a birthday party in the Party Styling set, while bunnies need to go gift shopping for a friend in the Party Gift Shop set.

Cost: R75 each

Action play

Bionicle Reboot Uxar Creature of Jungle

If construction is something of a fascination, then this Bionicle Reboot star is certainly going to be a hit. Uxar Creature of Jungle has green, sonic crystal wings and posable joints for hours of action-packed playtime.

Cost: R136 each

Key chains galore

LEGO minifigure key chain

For those in the family that remain children at heart, these are a great memento to unwrap at Christmas. Be it Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars, Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter, a plain LEGO® brick or even a LEGO® Santa, you’ll find a key chain for everyone.

Cost: R69 each

Magnetic minifigures

minifigurescitypolice

“Stop! Police!” Will be the phrase you’ll be hearing a-plenty with this three-piece police minifigure magnet set. They’re a great way to get the kids interested in the charts and tables you set up during term time, so are a must for those parents looking to do a little more planning in 2017.

Cost: R146 each

Mixels of amazingness

LEGO Mixels Lewt

These fun-loving creatures ignite the imagination and make for great collectibles too. Get one or two Mixels and see the fun begin! We’re personally hoping for the treasure hoarding Mixel Lewt and the one-eyed flying horse type creature Paladum to land up in our stockings this Christmas.

Cost: R55 each

Order any of these items at our online store.

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