The Lego Challenge 

After noticing that my son is very regimented with his Lego building; everything has to be built from instructions; I set him a challenge. Could he beat me and make a more imaginative Lego build than me? The only rule was you weren’t allowed to use any instructions. 

A submarine (complete with man eating shark), various spaceships for Luke Skywalker and my very boring bouncy castle (with a dog!) later I proved to him he didn’t need instructions all of the time, and that I have lost a lot of the imagination I had when I was 7.

Yes neither of us are going to be in demand as Lego designers but for 30 minutes we felt like Lego designers. And I’d like to think Mr Lego would feel proud of that.

    
    
 

Do you let your children win?

This is a big dilemma for me. Do I let my children win? Do I ignore my innate desire to compete and pretend not to see that golden opportunity to wipe the floor with them?

I don’t know why but Connect Four is the worst. My 7 year old can count, he is excellent at maths, but can he get four in a row? No. He spends more time getting frustrated with me blocking him than trying to think his way into a win. Is it wrong to admit that the thought of him nearly launching the game across the room still makes me giggle? As I sit here I can hear the whine ‘oh-wa-ah’ along with the thump of something being battered in a temper. I should record it for posterity’s sake!

So, here is my dilemma. Do I carry this on in the hope it will one day help him to problem solve? Or do I acknowledge that at 7, maybe his powers of thought aren’t as well developed as mine (at Connect Four, he wipes the floor with me at the memory games) and give him a chance? If you’re reading this, what do you do?

Maybe I will have the answer when he reaches the age of 8; or maybe he will just have stopped playing with me.

Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon

I bloody love Lego. I mean really really really love it. I swear there is nothing you can’t make out of Lego. This Christmas we tackled the Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon. The picture on the box looked immense. I had a very excited 7 year old who couldn’t wait to get started and a 3 year old who wanted to “help”. I didn’t get a look-in. My Lego creator didn’t need any help, he did it in 4 days. It looked as immense as the picture on the box.

Now, if you have ever built anything out of Lego then you know it isn’t the most durable toy when in the hands of over-excited children. The Millennium Falcon is no exception. If I can give you one piece of advice… Don’t step on it; it doesn’t end well for the Falcon. I could almost see the tears rolling down Han Solo’s face. They were matched by the tears rolling down the 7 year olds face.

An hour of parental fixing and it looked as good as new, prompting thank you letters and the (well-deserved) accolades of the best parents in the world.

I don’t know how Lego do it when they create these iconic toys, but I hope they keep doing it for a very long time. Yes when I was a child I had a box of Lego, no posh Lego sets, and made something from my imagination and not instructions. It never looked like I wanted it to. Apart from the dog, I can build a pretty cool Lego dog. That is my next challenge with my son. A good old fashioned Lego building competition. I will put the pictures of our results on this blog, and I can pretty much guarantee his efforts will be better than mine!

Toys From My Childhood

One of the best parts of being an adult is the nostalgia around your old toys.  The eighties were a fantastic time to grow up. I am biased since I have had no childhood in any other era, but my memory is full of wonder toys and cartoons.

I am trying to pass this love of the eighties onto my own children. Making them watch repeats of Inspector Gadget, He-Man, Bananaman and Button Moon on You Tube. Finding old board games that I had forgotten I still owned; Guess Who (the politically incorrect version lol), Escape from Atlantis, Junior Scrabble and Frustration.

I still own my Care Bear, he is regularly cuddled by my daughter, and I recently told the Aunty who bought him for me that he was still being played with. I wish I had my Little Professor still for my 7 year old, he would love it with his maths obsession. I definitely still have the scars from the space hopper days! I loved She-Ra, but not as much as He-Man, I’m not sure whether my love stemmed from buying it with money I had saved or having something my best friend didn’t. As for Fashion Wheel. I’m looking forward to buying the modern equivalent for my daughter in a few years; many a rain swept afternoon was spent designing clothes that no-one would ever wear (or want to, my choice of colours was a little bold).

So, these are some of my favourites, if you were a child in the eighties what did you love most? I’d love to read your comments.

Toy Infinity and Beyond!

As a mum to two youngsters, our house has a lot of toys. From puzzles to the latest Lego sets desired by my 7 year old, our house has seen most things.
My love of toys started with the Disney Pixar film Toy Story, even now it is my ultimate number one film, followed closely by Toy Story 2 and 3. Way back in 1998, after University was finished, my now husband and I took a trip to Florida. There I bought a Woody. He had a plastic cowboy hat, and a pull string on his back. I cherished this doll for years, through dozens of house moves, job changes and 17 years of life in general.

My daughter got hold of him in 2015. She was 3; three year olds aren’t known for being kind to their toys, or anyone else’s! His life changed forever. The pull string is permanently trailing behind him, the reedy mechanical voice has been permanently silenced and I have no idea where his hat is now. I will never part with him though. He reminds me of being 21, getting drunk in a bar in Orlando, shopping at midnight in a drunken haze (thankfully buying fairly tasteful clothes!) and a fantastic holiday.

I’ve finally got to the point of this post. Toys are so special because of the memories they leave you with. Long after they have been given away or broken; everyone remembers what they used to play with, what they longed for but never had and what their friends swapped with them. This blog and my venture Toy Infinity is built around the long lasting memories from our childhood and the childhoods of our children.