Category Archives: Cool stuff

Heads up parents! New school holiday workshop announced: CLASH OF BRICKS, inspired by gaming mega-hit Clash of Clans™!

BRICKS 4 KIDZ Sydney | School Holiday Workshops | Clash of BricksWe are super-excited to bring a BRAND SPANKING NEW theme for our Sydney school holiday workshops – join us for the CLASH OF BRICKS!

Gather your barbarians and archers! It’s time for battle… BRICKS 4 KIDZ® style! Inspired by the gaming mega-hit Clash of Clans™, collect and store gold and elixir to train troops and build villages in this fun workshop with LEGO® Bricks. You must stop at nothing to defend your village from enemy attacks! Experience the thrill of battling barbarians, greedy goblins, powerful PEKKAs, and wild wall breakers. All of this and more at our Clash of Bricks workshop!

In addition to the Clash of Bricks, there are spots available on our January workshops at both our St Leonards and Mosman locations: other themes include:

  • Mining & Crafting (going quick!)
  • Space Adventures
  • Remote Control Mania
  • Superhero Academy, and
  • Amusement Park Mayhem

Get in quick before all spots are gone!

⚛ ⚛ ⚛ Looking for another location? Check out all our
Locations Across Australia! ⚛ ⚛ ⚛

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This is a GREAT article about something we care deeply about: Inspiring Girls and Young Women about STEM Opportunities

In 1984, 36% of computer science graduates were women.  Now, that percentage is 12%.

We need more women involved in STEM-related careers, and inspiring an interest at a young age is a great start.

STEM education: 7 awesome ways to get girls excited, from apps to clubs to cool websites. Bookmark this, and share as widely as you can – inspire a young woman in your life today.

BRICKS 4 KIDZ Sydney | 7 Awesome Ways to Get Girls Excited about STEM

Thanks to Cool Mom Tech for posting on such an important issue.

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Hey Sydney – how are you entertaining the kids this September holidays?

BRICKS 4 KIDZ Sydney | School Holiday Workshops 2 | www.bit.ly:SydHolsBRICKS 4 KIDZ® School Holiday Workshops with LEGO® Bricks are a fresh and fun way for kids to spend their break in Sydney

With specially-created BRICKS 4 KIDZ® models, LEGO® games, and plenty of time for free-play, the kids are always having fun. Our school holiday programs are designed for kids ages 5 – 11 and are staffed by trained, screened BRICKS 4 KIDZ® instructors. Children will work and play with designated LEGO® Technic pieces such as gears, axles, electric motors and more. In addition to our existing location in Willoughby, we’re excited to bring our workshop program to Mosman for the first time!

Our school holiday workshop themes in September include:

  • Mining and Crafting,
  • Teenage Brick Turtles,
  • Remote Control Mania,
  • Superhero Academy,
  • Angry Birdies and Bad Piggies,
  • Amusement Park Mayhem, and
  • the always popular Space Adventures!

 

How do the programs work?

Children work in small groups to build projects using BRICKS 4 KIDZ® model plans. They also get to make creations of their own during our creative play periods. We keep the action going with unique games and challenges using LEGO® Bricks to make sure they get their fill of LEGO® school holiday fun in an open, friendly and team-based environment!

 

Details

  • The school holiday workshops will be held at two locations: 1st Willoughby Scout Hall, 56 Laurel Street, Willoughby, NSW 2068 and 1st Mosman Scout Group Hall, Avenue Rd, Mosman NSW 2088
  • The programs run Monday to Friday and are either one day, two day or half-day workshops.
  • In the July holidays, our workshops completely sold out. Get in quick before tickets are all gone!

 

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How much does a single piece of LEGO® cost? Good question – here’s an answer!

10443229_775932132458833_3462158387895281391_oSurely there should be a simple answer to this question?  Well, there’s not!  But a very good estimate was put forward by Rhett Allain (Associate Professor of Physics at Southeastern Louisiana University) in an article in Wired magazine.

Prof Allain took publicly available data (kit prices and number of pieces per kit, available on the LEGO online store) and sorted all the info by theme (Star Wars™, Friends™, etc).  After crunching and graphing the data (and really, readers, if you haven’t already, you need to go back up and click the link to see the chart that the Prof produced!) he provides an answer – a single piece of LEGO® in a kit costs 10.4 US cents, on average.

He goes on to use this data to estimate the price of a LEGO® set with no pieces (US$7.34) and the LEGO® kit offering the most value (he recommends the Trevi Fountain, with 731 pieces for just US$49.99 – a set with this many pieces should cost about US$83!).

He concludes his article with homework!  If you’ve got a LEGO®-mad budding mathematician in the house, throw a few of these at him or her – I especially like this one:

I heard someone say that there are enough Lego bricks for everyone on the Earth to have 75 bricks. If these bricks were then sold (at a reasonable value) to some alien (off world) traders, how much would they have to pay for all the Earth’s Lego bricks?

Anyone? 🙂

 

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Chuck the instructions! Your kids won’t replicate the LEGO® spaceship, but may build a better one instead

Unnamed LEGO® Spaceship by adamtheant1 | www.deviantart.comSteve Vassallo is a partner in a Silicon Valley venture capital firm and a long-time entrepreneur.  He wrote this article a for Forbes couple years back, and we wanted to share it – it has a great message!

His article is a tribute to the creativity unleashed by building with LEGO® Bricks as a kid – the first paragraph is a cracker:

When I was 10 years old, I built a monster truck out of Legos. It had a four-speed transmission and fully working transfer case, so you could switch from two- to four-wheel drive. It had articulating suspension and steering, a snowplow, and a winch. It even had working headlights. All this meant two things were inevitable: that it would be a long while before my first kiss, and that I would one day become an engineer.

He goes on though to reflect how LEGO® has changed since his young days.  LEGO® has increasingly gone into licensing, and kits – with fantastic results for them, and skyrocketing popularity!  However, he says this has been at a cost of sacrificing some of the original magic – LEGO® today is increasingly about reproducing a “provided solution”, he says, and less about creating an imagined new thing.

He urges the restoration of a balance.  There’s no doubt that patience and fine motor skills are developed by all LEGO® activities, but we should encourage kids to take apart their kits and rebuild them into new things.  He concludes the article with this sentiment, from which the title of this post is taken:

” … when you get home from the toy store, throw out the instructions.  Your children won’t be able to replicate the Star Wars space ship. But, without a roadmap, they may find a way to build a better one.”

The image used here is a rocket ship built by adamtheant1 and shared on Deviant Art – its a freestyle creation and you won’t find the instructions anywhere!  No doubt Adam is off now creating the next big Silicon Valley world-changing startup 🙂 . Check out more of his work on Deviant Art, and share some of your kids’ amazing and magical freestyle masterpieces.

 

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“Why the next Zuckerberg won’t be Australian”: Disappointing STEM results in Australian schools and what can be done

At Bricks 4 Kidz we believe STEM Education is important for our childrenWe’ve been silent on our blog for a few weeks because we had our hands full with the very busy school holiday season!  Over the first two weeks of July, almost 420 kids came through either our own Sydney school holiday workshops or the sessions we conducted on behalf of North Sydney and Willoughby local councils.  It was a fantastic response – many thanks to all the junior master builders who joined us in the sessions, for their creativity, enthusiasm and ideas!  You can see some photos from our workshop sessions over on our Facebook page.

At BRICKS 4 KIDZ Australia, we are passionate about the need for Australia to be a nation of builders and we want to play a positive role in inspiring kids about the potential of STEM concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  We’ve written before about the importance of STEM education in schools, for the careers of our kids and the health of the economy they will inherit.  So it was disappointing to come across another article detailing the disappointing state of STEM education in Australian high schools!

Tim Dodd wrote recently in the Australian Financial Review about the recent Engineering Workforce study conducted by the Australian Workplace Productivity Agency (AWPA).  The full study results can be downloaded here.

Dodd’s article, provocatively titled “Why the next Zuckerberg won’t be Australian”, highlights a number of key points from the AWPA study:

  • Australia lacks a “co-ordinated national approach” to STEM education;
  • Students are poorly informed about engineering and other STEM professions; and
  • The school career counselling system is letting down the STEM professions, by not correctly advising students about the potential of the professions and the paths towards those professions.

This lack of emphasis is reflected in the average results achieved by Australian students in global studies of maths achievement in primary school and early high school. In the recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, only 10 per cent of Australian year 4 kids reached the advanced standard, compared with 39, 37, 43 and 34 per cent from Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) respectively.

Nick Cerneaz, executive director of the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering at the University of Sydney, weighed in on the discussion and his arguments are also captured in Dodd’s article.  Cerneaz believes (as we do) that the key to reversing these results rests with primary school.  Students need to be stimulated and their intellectual curiosity peaked by STEM concepts early in their school years before their perceptions of university subjects and subsequent careers harden in high school.

At BRICKS 4 KIDZ, we’ll continue to contribute our bit.  Seeing the flash of pride and excitement when a child builds something new, or succeeds in making their construction move, spin and whirl, makes two exhausting weeks of workshops with over 400 different kids worth all the effort!

BRICKS 4 KIDZ Sydney | The importance of STEM and primary education

 

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A LEGO® Salt-n-Pepper shaker? Clever design!

LEGO® Salt n Pepper Shaker | Hypebeast | hypebeast.com

The design of this salt-n-pepper shaker is compelling simple and clever!  Intuitive colours for the salt and the pepper, plus a simple brick cap to adjust the amount and ratio of your seasoning: place the cap to one side to eliminate that seasoning, or place it in the top corner to have more of one than the other. Very cool.

Hypebeast is reporting on this shaker and it should be a kitchen must-have for LEGO® tragics but .. no purchasing info? I’d take this post with a grain of salt! 😉

If you’ve got a little master builder LEGO® fan at home in Sydney over the school holidays and you’re wondering what to do, have a look at our upcoming Ticket To Ride two-day school holiday workshop in Willoughby over 9-10 July.  Kids will build motorised rides from LEGO®, learning how to make things spin, roll, turn and rock, and the workshop culminates with the kids building their own amusement park from LEGO® pieces.  Spots are going quick, so jump in!

The image in this post is shared from the original article on Hypebeast – check it out!

 

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A Bus Stop in London, Made Entirely of 100k Individual LEGO® Bricks!

London LEGO® Bus Stop | Gizmodo Leg Godt Blog | lego.gizmodo.comThis is the kind of project that puts my weekend efforts with the kids to shame!

Gizmodo is reporting on a bus stop built of LEGO® in London’s Regent Street – and of course, given LEGO®’s strict adherence to all forms of quality, it is built to Transport for London specifications!

The route signs, the windows, even the seats are made of Lego bricks.  A nice touch though was to use some smooth bricks for the top of the bench – those little studs would be uncomfortable while waiting for any bus 🙂 .

London LEGO® Bus Stop 2 | Gizmodo Leg Godt Blog | lego.gizmodo.com

 

Five of our six upcoming school holiday workshops in Sydney are now fully booked – thanks for your support!

Spots are still available on the Ticket To Ride two-day workshop, over 9-10 July.  Kids will build rides, learning how to make things spin, roll, turn and rock, and the workshop culminates with the kids building their own amusement park from LEGO® pieces.  Get in quick!

 

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