Thursday, March 16, 2017

Family Fun at Legoland Florida Ninjago World

Legoland Florida: Lego® Ninjago World Review
Our family recently made the trek to Legoland Florida for a fun filled day!  We live about an hour from Legoland, so we have been several times over the last couple of years.  It’s always an exciting experience.  This trip was especially exciting because we were able to check out the newly opened Lego Ninjago World.  It didn’t disappoint!  The attraction opened this year in January, and correlates with the promotion of the upcoming Lego Ninjago movie coming out September 22, 2017.

As you approach the life sized replica of the Ninjago dojo, you are transported to another world.  Inside the attraction area, you are greeted by 2 impressive Lego dragon statues and Ninjago characters made of Lego bricks.  One of my favorite features of this new section of Legoland Florida, is all of the interactive kid’s stations.  Kids can test their speed skills and agility with Jay’s Lighting Drill.  They can build up their strength on Cole’s Rock Climbing wall, and Kai’s Spinners will keep every ninja-in-training on their toes!  

Lego Ninjago The Ride: From the moment you pass through the entrance, the kids are entertained with a Lego building center, and interactive building wall stations.  The wait time passes quickly!  The ride itself doesn’t disappoint.  Choose your favorite Ninjago character for battle.  This ride is a 3D, high-tech, interactive attraction.  It boasts awesome visual graphics, which make you feel like you are flying, dropping and battling all your opponents.  It certainly entertains riders young and old.

If you have Lego-loving kids, and are planning a trip to Florida, definitely take the time to check out Legoland Florida!  The new Lego Ninjago World makes the Legoland experience even more Bricktastic!

Check out all our newly added Lego Ninjago Refurbished Lego® sets at  



Sunday, February 12, 2017

It Was Worth the Wait...Everything Was Awesome About The LEGO® Batman Movie!

Friday night was opening night of The Lego Batman Movie.  My kids had it marked on the calendar and I even bought them Lego themed t's at Target for the BIG event.  We decided to buy tickets for the 6:15 showing in 3D.  It was well worth it.  My kids are old enough now that they can sit though an entire movie and keep the 3D glasses on, so it was a no brainer!

The trailer previews leading up to the movie looked cool.  My kids were super interested (of course) in the Lego Ninjago Movie, scheduled to come out in September 2017.  Rated PG it looks like it will have similar appeal as The Batman Movie.  My kids were also drooling over the preview of the Power Ranger movie, set to come out in March.  My kids haven't had much exposure to Power Rangers but they were drawn instantly to the action and fighting in the trailer...Lord help me!

On to the feature!  Without giving away all the details of the movie, I can say that Lego never disappoints when it comes to special effects.  They paired an action packed movie with an endearing storyline.  Batman being the macho, independent superhero thinks that he can protect and save Gothem City on his own.  Along the way he realizes that it's better to have help from friends and family, than being alone.  My favorite part of this movie, by far was Robin.  His giant puppy dog eyes, and sweet endearing personality was the highlight for me.  I also loved his sparkly golden cape!  For me, he was the real hero of the movie!  My kids would beg to differ, but we will agree to disagree on this one.

Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) was also a cool addition to this movie.  Loved that fact that she was a kick-butt female figure in the movie, but also brought out a softer side of Batman.  I would say that the animation and graphics of the movie were unbelievable.  I am always amazed at how quickly you forget you are watching an animated film.  The addition of real life movie clips of "Jerry Maguire" was a nod to all of us 30-40 somethings.  As were, all the 80's and Micheal Jackson songs.  Oh and the throwbacks to the 1960 Batman character was awesome too!

All in all there was a little something for everyone.  I have to say I loved it from beginning to end.  My kids did too!  Their favorite quote from the movie was when Robin says," Now I'm free, now I'm moving, Come on Batman let's get grooving!"  I've heard it about 1 million times since Friday night.

Our family gives The Lego Batman Movie 5 Stars!  We would LOVE to hear what you think!  Post your comments below.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Master Builders LOVE Pokémon {Our Mega Trading Card Adventure}

Last Sunday, (yes Super Bowl Sunday) the boys and I ventured out to the public library in Brandon FL, where every other week they host a Pokémon card trading event.  Let me tell kids were in Heaven.  They proudly brought their pouches of Pokémon cards with them.  Most of the kids had fancy binders, which my kids thought were AWESOME.  Scattered around the room were kids trading cards and playing games of Pokémon.  Now I have to be honest, up until that time, I had never really looked closely at the cards, let alone play the game.  I was embarrassed to admit to one of the other moms, that I had accidentally thrown away the game board and "damage markers" that came in the package...ooopsies.  To my pleasant surprise my kids wasted no time walking up to other kids and asking them to trade.  Both of my kiddos are somewhat shy when it come to new or unfamiliar situations so I was glad that they were eager to participate.  

Here are my little guys trying their hand at Pokémon card trading.  Luckily there was older kids and a Pokémon aficionado there to check the trades for fairness.  

There were also some exciting games of Pokémon being played by some older kids.  My kids were pretty intrigued.  

 Our friends from school (the family that invited us to the event) were there to participate in the trading care fun too!  It was nice to have some familiar faces there.  They even took the time to teach us the basics of the game.  It's pretty addicting.  I think I liked it as much as the kids.  Surprisingly it's a great way to practice math and reading skills...BONUS!

Awesome time had by all!  The kids went home and traded their own cards for about 2 hours afterwards.  Now they can't leave the house without their cards and somehow I can see organization binders in our future!  

This is a biweekly event at our local library.  Libraries are great places to attend or host a free activity.  We are currently looking into hosting a Lego Playgroup at our local branch.  Keep up to date with our community outreach at

Monday, February 6, 2017

Spread the LEGO Love...5 LEGO Themed Valentine's Ideas

For most, Valentine's Day is a sweetest day of the year.  I remember as a kid loving the feeling of getting those personalized little notes from my classmates.  I can sense the same excitement in my kiddos as the big day fast approaches!  Theses days there are so many options for Valentine's cards and treats both edible and non-edible.  Here are some Lego themed Valentine's ideas that you will L❤VE.

Don't miss our promotional offer for the month of February at the bottom of the post!  

Lego Candy Gift Bags photo credit and FREE printable.
These brick candy treat bags are so cute!  The kids will absolutely LOVE helping to put these adorable little bags together.  I bought these brick candies on Amazon in bulk.  They are almost too cute to eat!  They come in a 2 pound bag (about enough for 10-15 Valentines).  The best part is that the bricks are won't mind letting the kids play with their food!

Free Lego Printables

We found the cutest FREE Lego Inspired Printables!  Makes DIY Valentines quick and easy...and won't break the bank!  There are so many options to choose from.  Follow any of the links below to print and create your own Lego Inspired Valentine.

Thanks KiKi and Company for the Free Printable!

Mini Figure and Lego Brick Crayons

There are so many cool gift ideas when it comes to Legos.  We found the most adorable Lego inspired crayon mini figures and bricks on Etsy.  They come in a variety of colors.  If you are really ambitious or are on a budget, consider buying a silicone mini figure or brick mold and make them yourself.  Super simple and quick to make.  See the instructions below.  You can also use silicone molds to make Lego inspired candies.  Place melted chocolate or pieces of your favorite flavor of Jolly Rancher candies in the silicone molds to create your own yummy treats!

DIY Crayons
  1. Remove the paper covering from old, broken crayon pieces and fill the molds.  
  2. Pop them in the oven at low heat until the crayons are melted.  
  3. Pull them out and let cool.  
  4. Once cooled remove from the mold.  

Card with Lego Heart

Use two Lego arch pieces to create these adorable hearts.  These are near and dear to my heart because they are the inspiration for our BrickHearts program.  Attach them to your Valentines for a special added touch.  Or use the holes to attach a necklace chain or chains to create a fashionable necklace or set of necklaces.  One for you and one for your Valentine!

Spread the Lego Love

These Lego messages are sure to let your little Lego lover know they are loved!

Hold Me and Never LEGO
Lets Build Something Together 
We Were Built To Be Friends
We're the Perfect Fit
You Complete Me
We Just Click
We Fit to Together

To show our readers how much we LOVE them, we are offering 10% OFF your total purchase for the month of February! Use the Promo Code: LEGOLOVE

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Be Good. Do Good. {4 LEGO® Inspired Charitable Organizations}

BrickSmarts is getting ready to launch it's community outreach program called BrickHearts.  We have contacted various non profit organizations in the Tampa Bay area, and are currently working to put together after school Lego® Clubs serving kids in need.  This has been my favorite and most exciting part of growing our BrickSmarts brand!  On the surface Lego bricks are fun toys that provide hours of entertainment for builders young and old.  But the reality of it is, Legos are educational, and help to build skills that growing kids need.  My kids have been blessed to have access to these amazing little building blocks since a young age, but unfortunately due to cost, or accessibility many kids do not.  Here are a list of 4 non-profit organizations currently working to share the wonder and magic of Legos with all kids!  I can only hope that BrickHearts is able to replicate the great work that these organizations are doing.

1.  The Giving Brick based in Kansas City Missouri.  Working hard since December 2014, The Giving Brick founded by Matthew Gould, has given away thousands of bricks for kids in foster care.
The Giving Brick shared this beautiful statement in a feature with in 2015, stating

“We wanted to give our LEGO sets to kids who had little else to call their own and needed an escape from the challenges life was throwing at them."-Matthew Gould
The Giving Brick accepts donations of Legos in any condition.  They also take direct donations for their worthy cause.  Check them out at the link below.

2. Creations for Charity , founded by Nannan Zhang in 2010, is a nonprofit organization that hosts a fundraising event from October to November each year.  Builders from all over the world donate custom made Lego creations to sell and raise money to buy Lego sets for underprivileged children during the holidays.  In 2016, Creations for Charity was able to sell over 100 customized builds, in turn raising almost $14,000!  This money was used to purchase an incredible amount of Lego sets for underprivileged children.  Check out their inspiring work here:  And if you are a Lego Artist maybe consider donating your creation for this year's fundraising event!

3. BrickDreams, is an organization based in Folsom, CA.  It's founder Bailey Snow, is an inspiring teenager who recently handed the reins of his charity to 12 year old brothers Lleyton and Kyle Rutz.  These boys are keeping the vision of the organization alive by packaging up donated Legos in tennis ball containers.  The Legos are then donated to kids in need, primarily kids affected by domestic violence.  Well done boys!  You are an inspiration to us all!  Stay up to date on all of their accomplishments here:

4. Brick Recycler, another California based organization take used Lego bricks and donates them around the world.  Here are just a few of their generous donations:
  • Help One Child and Compassion (for foster children)
  • Orphanages in Mexico and Honduras
  • Hands of Hope (for Zimbabwe orphanage)
  • Children of Haiti
Read more and donate by following this link:

We are moving closer to launch of our own community outreach program BrickHearts.  You can stay up to date with our progress on the BrickSmarts website.  If live in the Tampa Bay area and would like to volunteer with us, or have an idea for a BrickHearts project, send an email to!  We would love to hear from you.  Let's share the gift of Legos with children everywhere...Be Good, Do Good!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

BrickSmarts Hosts MOMs Club of Westchase Playdate

Wednesday, BrickSmarts had the awesome opportunity to host a playdate with the MOMs Club of Westchase to talk about using Duplo Legos as a learning tool.  This playgroup is a valuable local resource for any mom who is looking for kid friendly activities, friendships, and opportunities to socialize!  What a GREAT group of moms and kids!  

As I talked to some of the moms in this group, I saw myself 5-6 years ago.  I couldn't help but think about how important being part of a mom’s group was, when I became a new mom.  When my oldest son Dylan was born, I joined a newborn group hosted at the maternity hospital where I delivered.  I’m pretty sure I started attending as early as 3 days after we were released from the hospital.  As a new mom, I was terrified to leave the house with my new bundle of joy.  I was paranoid about germs…the rain…strangers.  I remember sitting in a circle and listening to the other sleep deprived mothers, ask questions about nursing, pooping, sleeping, breathing, and it was such a relief to know that I was not alone.  I was not alone in the fact that I was clueless how to breastfeed, I was clueless how to calm my screaming baby, I was clueless how to feel like myself after nine months of sharing a body with another human being.  

I participated in various mom’s groups until my youngest son was 2 years old.  Honestly it was the best way to meet other moms.  I met one of my closest friends in a mom’s group.  After about 20 minutes of talking with her, we realized that our kids were exactly 1 day apart in age, we drove the same exact car, and we lived less then 1 mile from each other.  It was an instant connection and we are still close friends 7 years later.  The benefits of Moms’ groups are endless!  They are the perfect place for first time moms, and moms with multiple children to socialize and support each other.  They provide safe spaces for infants and toddlers to explore new environments and interact with other children.  

For BrickSmarts, it was a perfect opportunity to spread the word about our new small business.  We are currently working to expand our inventory to include Dulpo sets due to demand.  Just like their mini counterpart…there is LOTS of life left in them, long after the kids out grow them.  Check our website and social media regularly for newly added sets!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

5 Simple Ways to Use Duplo Legos for Learning

Lets face it, kids LOVE Legos.  And for most, their exposure and their affinity for Legos starts very young.  Even in the few year that my boys have been playing with Legos, the variety of Duplo sets has exploded!  Everything from Jake and the Neverland Pirates to Jungle Animals, the Duplo sized bricks are perfect for little fingers.  A couple years ago, after my kids had expressed a strong interest in Legos I started looking on our local Craigslist for Duplos.  I easily found someone selling a LARGE rubbermaid bin filled with pieces for around $45.  With a little convincing of my hubby, we bought them and brought them home.  The man that I bought them from was so happy to get them out of his garage.  His kids had out grown them and he was looking to clear out the space.  Win, win.  As a craigslist purchase I wanted to be sure to clean them thoroughly before the kids could get their hands (or mouths) on them.  I filled the bathtub with warm water, a capful for bleach, some dish soap and a cup of distilled vinegar.  I swished the Duplos around and let them sit over night.  In the morning I rinsed them and let them dry on a bath towel for a few hours.  The kids have since had endless hours of fun with this inexpensive bucket of Duplos.  Even now that they are old enough for the small Lego pieces they often prefer to build with the Duplos!

About a year ago I stumbled upon some Pintrest posts about how to use Duplos for learning.  I thought what a brilliant idea!  If these little blocks can captivate my kids attention for hours, why not begin incorporating some intentional learning into their play?  Here are some ideas that stood out to me.  You can follow the links listed to check out additional play ideas.

1.  Sorting Pieces by Color, Shape, and Size:  Encourage your little one to create piles of bricks that are similar.  Example: Place 3-5 different colored blocks on the floor help them sort pieces by color asking to name the colors while they place them into the pile.  Repeat the game while sorting bricks by shape (squares, rectangles, circles).

2.  Matching Pieces:  Challenge your kiddo to find matching bricks based on size, shape, and color.  You can do this by tracing several Duplo bricks onto a piece of paper or cardboard.  Have them find a match from a pile of mixed bricks.  There are a variety of free printable downloads online as well if you don't want to make one yourself!

3.  Creating Patterns: You can create endless patterns with the Duplo bricks and have your child copy the patterns, continue the patterns, or create their own patterns.  Make patterned towers or simply arrange rows or mosaic patterns based on your child's age and ability.

4.  Counting Numbers:  You can use Duplos to help foster your child's ability to sequence and recognize numbers.  Use blank label stickers, or masking tape to create a label for your bricks.  Label them 1-10.  Mix them up in a pile and encourage your child to build a tower with blocks in ascending (1-10) or descending (10-1) sequence.  You can also ask you child to build a tower using a certain number of blocks.  Example: "Jonny build me a tower of 7 blocks."  Jonny then has to count out 7 blocks to build his tower.

5.  Addition & Subtraction:  As your child gets older and begins to progress towards practicing math skills.  Legos are a great way to reinforce math concepts such as addition and subtraction.  Practice adding and taking away bricks to demonstrate the concept of addition and subtraction.  Make up
word problems that incorporate using the bricks as everyday objects.  Example:  "Jonny has 3 pieces of chewing gum, Sally eats one piece.  How many does Jonny have left?"  Relating numbers to actual objects that a child can physically see, will often time make it easier for them to understand the concept.

As you can see from this very short list of ideas on how to use Lego Duplo bricks, the possibilities are endless.  You can see these ideas and many, many more by clicking the links below.  Some of the links also provide free downloadable printables for you to use.  Happy building!

Check out all of our Refurbished Lego Sets at!