Wednesday 20 July 2016

"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery."

When I talk about LEGO I instantly turn into a very excited boy. I'm sure it was the same when I was a child but this reintroduction since having children has taken my love of the brick to new extremes. Back when I was a growing up LEGO was a very lonely thing for me, but it got me through an uncertain and dysfunctional family life. These days though it's all about team building and me and the boys have the most amazing creative times. I get to teach them techniques while building and in return they share with me a world of possibilities through their imagination.

Writing for LEGO has been amazing and although building is such a huge thing in our home, being able to visit the attractions is also very exciting for us. It's great to visit LEGO's attractions and see how the professionals build. A few years back Seth won a Star Wars building competition and we were given tickets to visit the LEGOLAND Discovery centre in Manchester. It was a great evening and because Opeie was only very young then and doesn't remember, we were itching to visit again.

We were definitely in need of a change of scenery from all the Home ed fun we have, so we arranged to visit with our friends Emma and Matthew over at Another Last Story. They are also huge LEGO fans and had been wanting to visit too so the trip worked out perfect. When we arrived at the Discovery centre the boys were very excited which is always great to see as a parent. We had missed out on the rides and Factory tour during our last visit so it was interesting for the boys to learn about how LEGO is made and then follow that up with a ride into the main area where they could shoot trolls and medieval bad guys.

Being originally from Birmingham It was great to see the Bullring included in the Miniland section of the centre but what really took me by surprise was seeing the Ironbridge. Being a Shropshire lad now it was really great to see, as Ironbridge will always be a very special place for me and my family. Whenever I see builds like this it always makes me wish that I had more space at home to build larger pieces for the boys but it is great to see what can be achieved by LEGO pros.

As the lights dropped on the Miniland it was lovely to see the scenes light up. Blackpool tower and the surrounding area look truly spectacular.

The most appealing thing for me as a parent is just how interactive the LEGO discovery centre is. It really does make a big difference if the kids can fully emerge themselves in what's going on. The boys loved being able to take their time building a wheeled vehicle and then being able to send it down ramps to jump into big containers of bricks in the LEGO Racers: Build and test section of the attraction. I was probably getting into it a little too much, I do always say though, Surround me in LEGO and I'll get right in on the action.

A month or so ago we got to see the new Nexo Knights 4D movie: The book of creativity at LEGOLAND Windsor while at a Nexo knights event, which was awesome and we got to share that with our friends this time round.  They also had: The LEGO® Movie™ 4D A New Adventure showing too. Both were great fun for the kids and really added to the fun we had while visiting. 

There is so much LEGO to build with and the boys couldn't wait to climb into one of the pits and start building. As expected I sat right alongside the pit getting stuck into some building myself.

The great thing about the LEGOLAND Discovery centre is how much is packed into the space there. It's a scaled down version of LEGOLAND with rides perfect for younger brick enthusiasts. Opeies favourite part was being a LEGO police man and whizzing around the track chasing Matthew in his police car on the LEGO City Forest Pursuit. 

When we visited last time one of the rooms had an amazing Star wars display, this time though the space was occupied by something even better. For me, the Brand new LEGO city builder was my favourite part because it gave me a lot of inspiration for my own builds. Being able to view other peoples builds this close up is a great bit of research for me and the boys

The LEGOLAND Discovery centre sits in the perfect spot for taking a break from a busy shopping day and although the attraction is a much smaller version of its Windsor counterpart there is plenty there to kep the children occupied and building all day.

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