When you hear the camp instructor say, “Unfortunately we don’t have the technology to put lasers on our Speeders...although, that would be pretty cool,” you know it’s gonna be a good day at camp.
My kindergartner and I recently visited one of Bricks 4 Kidz many spring break camps. This one was themed Star Wars Lego and met at Willamalane Sports and Recreation Center.
My little guy hummed the Star Wars theme song the whole way there. He is the kid who uses the Force to open the automatic sliding doors at Target (moms of little boys -- you know what I'm talking about). So I was quite appreciative of the Star Wars-y ambience, complete with music and a video, upon arrival.
We were greeted by Joe, one of B4K instructors in Lane County. B4K is a franchised business with a local chapter in Lane County, recently started by Zach Smith and his mother.
Zach said, “I originally found Bricks 4 Kidz while looking for cool education programs for kids. I've always been very passionate about helping people improve their lives. Bricks 4 Kidz looked like the perfect opportunity to offer something fun and educational to make a positive impact in the community. I showed it to my mom and she fell in love with the idea too.”
B4K classes provide an extraordinary atmosphere for boys and girls, where they learn, build, and play with Lego bricks. Zach said, “I really wish I had something like this when I was a kid. It's very inspiring watching the fun and excitement among the kids while they build creativitiy and learn things that help get them ready for the real world. The kids and the teachers have a blast together which makes it very rewarding.”
Learn more here about B4K. In addition to spring break and summer camps, they also do a daily after-school program at a number of local schools. Check the list here.
B4K supplies tablets and project kits from which instructors can generate dozens of Lego creations. On the last day of the Star Wars Lego Camp, the students built a Speeder. They watched a two-minute video to become familiar with the concept of a Star Wars Speeder and then gathered around tables to build.
Joe said this was the most time-consuming and challenging project of the week but after a quick informal survey of the kids, it was also the most favorite project. Kids like a good challenge!
Students worked at different paces, those who finished first were encouraged by Joe to, “Partner with someone and help them finish, like a good Jedi.” Once the Speeders were complete, it was time to race!
Besides building models, students also do mosaics using single bricks and a Lego base board and 3D figures using classic bricks.
I appreciate how B4K does not use Lego themed sets (which are no small cost and are NEVER on sale) and teaches kids concepts to use their imagination with the basic, classic Lego bricks. I also appreciate Joe’s thoughtful, conscientious instruction. He emphasized play and kept encouraging kids they could do these challenging projects on their own – even when the kids were stumped. They perservered and made it through a very tough project!
B4K wants GoMomGo readers to know that the program is the perfect combination of fun and educational. The hands-on building helps engage kids. In the after school classes B4K teaches concepts of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) which gives kids valuable concepts and skills that will help them later in life. They work in teams and learn to share and work together.
Zach and B4K are happy to offer a summer camp discount to GoMomGo readers. Please call 541-600-6614, mention GoMomGo and receive $25 off a summer camp!
Summer is coming soon! Make sure you check our summer camp page to start planning and stay tuned for our next Summer Camp feature with Old School Eugene!
Well, true to form, the Oregon weather has proved to be a fickle friend once again. This week is forecasted to be rainy all the way through, so we better put away our swim suits and sunscreen and start pondering how many games of UNO we can play before our eyeballs fall out of our heads in boredom.
So besides UNO, what does one do with small children when you are home and not wanting to spend a ton of money? I mean, we love open gyms and such as much as the next family, but contrary to my preschooler's belief, we can't just go to the bank and get "tons and tons of monies for free."
Well, one of our go-to activities is baking. Now, I realize that baking isn't exactly free, nor is it entirely wise for the waistline. However. I have strong arguments in favor of you making these cookies pronto.
1. They will make your house smell so good. Like a factory with little elven cookie makers bustling around.
2. You can use up those brown bananas that are sitting on your counter (don't deny it).
3. Baking is great language, math, and fine motor practice for your little helpers.
4. This recipe makes a TON of cookies - I get 56 - so they're fun to share. Like Pete the Cat says, "sharing is cool."
4. Because you get to eat them at the end. End of story.
Banana Bread Cookies
(Don't like banana bread? I promise you'll like these cookies anyway.)
In a large bowl, cream together:
1 cup butter, softened (that's two sticks)
1 cup packed brown sugar
When that's mixed together, go ahead and add:
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas - please don't measure this. Just mash them up.)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Okay so that gross looking stuff in the tupperware? That's what bananas look like after they've been in the fridge or freezer. If they're in your fruit basket and are looking pretty sorry, either peel them and put them in the fridge for a day or so, or else peel them, chop them into bite size pieces, and throw them into the freezer. Once they're frozen they're easy to pull out to bake with, and also great for smoothies!
Also, I used to make these with all white flour. Now I do half white and half whole wheat. I 100% promise you can't tell the whole wheat is in there. Plus you can eat way more cookies because they're super healthy now. Right? Hooray!
Mix again. Then add:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Yes. Keep mixing. Now, some people are fancy and mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before adding them to the wet stuff. That's great, if you like to wash lots of dishes. Me? I'm lazy, and just add the dry stuff right in. No problemo.
Last but not least! Throw in:
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups oatmeal (I prefer quick)
2 cups chocolate chips
Mix those puppies right up. Its taken you like 10 minutes so far, amiright? So worth it. And if you're tricky you have only dirtied a few things, so you win the smart cook award.
Okay, time to bake. If you have some, use parchment paper on your cookie sheets. This stuff is miraculous because you don't have to grease the cookie sheet, the cookies will slide right off, and then you get to throw away the paper when you're done. (Also, it leaves your cookie sheets so clean that you don't have to wash them afterwards. I won't tell.) Oh, and you can reuse that parchment paper - this is good because it's sort of expensive.
Plop the dough down in about tablespoon-ful size lumps. Using a scoop is so handy for this. Go ahead and put the cookies pretty close together on the sheet. They won't rise or spread much.
Bake at 375 for 9 or 10 minutes. If you like your baked goods on the well done end of things, go ahead and leave em in for a few minutes longer.
Be sure to eat them warm, because oh my word. You'll be glad you did.
Also, if you want to be crazy, you can freeze some cookies and then have an easy snack to pull out and make happy tummies. You can freeze the cookies after you bake them, which is easy. Just put them in a ziplock bag and toss em in. Or, you can put the cookie sheet in the freezer before you bake it, but after you've plopped the dough down. Freeze them like this for a few hours, and then you'll have little raw cookies. Take them off the sheet and throw them in a ziplock bag. Don't forget to write the baking directions on the bag. Then one day you'll be wishing for a treat because your littles are behaving like wild things, and you'll remember that you can have fresh cookies in just a few minutes, thanks to your excellent planning skills. Please don't feel the need to share the cookies with your wild things. Give them carrot sticks or something.
Megan Defferding is the mom to two super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County! Check out her blog series, Happy Adventuring, weekly on GoMomGo.
We are fans of vegetables at our house - especially ones that sing, dance, and don't have to be consumed at suppertime. This means that the VeggieTales shows are usually well received by my four year old. The new 48 minute story of Noah's Ark is no exception.
Maybe your family is familiar with the Biblical story of Noah, or maybe not. In the story, Noah is prompted by God to build a giant boat to save his family, the animals, and himself, from a massive flood. Understandably, doing so took an extraordinary amount of faith on Noah's behalf. This DVD explores what it means to trust God and His promises even when you have different ideas about what you think should be happening in your life. This is a super applicable message for kids, and Noah is a very relatable figure with all of his animals and tools and silly songs (note: the silly songs are NOT actually in the Bible). :)
I don't always love kid's movies and shows - my kiddo might, but often I find myself annoyed at bad graphics and obnoxious songs that won't. leave. my. head. But this VeggieTales' Noah's Ark show was really, truly, 100% enjoyable for both my four year old and myself. It included difficult concepts of control, consistency, faith, and patience, which were addressed in a very approachable fashion. There were some clever references that flew right over the head of my kiddo but that made me chuckle - nods to "hammer time", gluten free diets, and Titanic were all subtly thrown into the mix. But they felt pretty natural, you know? Not like a desperate "we're trying to make this humorous for all ages, do you get it??" plea.
There were some elements added to the story for dramatic measure that aren't in the Biblical account of Noah - for example, I'm pretty sure that there were no giant squid attacking the ark. Also, I am 100% positive that the actual ark did not include a gym, spa, or kareoke lounge. But the overall message of trusting God even when your life seems confusing is solid. The show includes seven catchy new songs and features Wayne Brady (random right?). The length of the show is perfect, in my opinion - longer than the 22ish minutes of a single kid's show (who can get anything done in that time??) but not an entire hour (insert guilt for letting my kid's brain melt to mush). Apart from some really overly cartoon-y animals (why do all of them have giant, sad eyes?), I thought Noah's Ark was really worth the watch.
My little is SUPER obsessed with a certain oceanic show right now (Do you know everything about every ocean creature ever? Because I do. Thank you Octonauts.) so I was pretty surprised when he asked to watch Noah's Ark again during our TV time the next day. Anything that breaks the routine of "Creature Report" while also teaching my little about God's trustworthiness is a giant win. Well done, VeggieTales!
Thanks, Megan! It sounds super cute!
We are super pumped to give away a Free copy of VeggieTales Noah's Ark today on GoMomGo!
In the comments tell us your kiddo's favorite vegetable (& if you prepare or serve it in a certain way we would love to know about that, too.) & you're entered!
Saturday, February 28 at 10pm
Today we'll be talking about the most stripe-y building in all of Lane County, and perhaps in all of the world: Our very own Science Factory. Have you visited the Science Factory? It is one of my family's favorite Lane County spots. Here's what you need to know:
The Science Factory is a children's museum where kids can explore scientific concepts in a welcoming, hands on environment. They have a traveling exhibit that changes a few times a year, as well as some things that are permanent fixtures. There's also an exploration dome (aka planetarium).
It's located in Alton Baker Park, just south of Autzen Stadium. (Their parking lot is used for football games, so they're closed on game days.)
Okay, now that introductions are out of the way, I'm going to give you my take home message right now, at the very beginning of this post, because I want you to keep it in mind while you read. Ready? Here it is: Buy your family a membership to the Science Factory. Better yet, ask a grandparent to gift it to you for a birthday or holiday or whatever. You'll be glad you did. Okay, while you think on that, let's check out some visitor tips:
Visiting the Science Factory:
Other sweet Science Factory happenings:
Parking: A nice big free lot.
Cost: Ages 3-61 - $4 for either museum admission or an Exploration Dome show, $7 for both
Resting/nursing spots: there are several benches scattered throughout the museum
Time frame: half an hour to all afternoon!
At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, I really do recommend getting a membership. In addition to all the great stuff I already mentioned, here's the added bonus:
Through the ASTC Travel Passport Program your Science Factory membership currently gets you in FOR FREE to the following:
We have taken advantage of the free admission to these places more times than I can count. It's so amazing to be able to visit for free - it totally takes the pressure off. If someone gets cranky or tired or you forgot to pack snacks or the diaper leaks, it doesn't matter - just go home and come back another day. So much nicer than gritting your teeth and growling under your breath about how you paid $84 to get in so everyone BETTER smile and enjoy themselves or else.
Also these are free but I've never visited them so I can't vouch for their coolness. Maybe someone else can?
And you guys!! Guess what!? Carolyn and Emily from the Science Factory so very generously gave us a few admission passes to the Science Factory to give away to a few of you lucky ducks! You know it's going to rain for the entire month of March. Think of how happy you will be if you have one of these passes in your pocket. Free, outside of the house entertainment?!
Go enter, quickly!!
To enter, tell us what YOU like about the Science Factory. If you've never been, mention something that Megan told us about that you're looking forward to checking out.
We will draw winners on Thursday night at 10pm!
Megan Defferding is the mom to two super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County! Check out her blog series, Happy Adventuring, weekly on GoMomGo.
Westside Indoor Playground (WIPG) is a co-op of local parents who gather almost daily and set up a gigantic indoor playground for their children, age 5 and under.
It is a lifesaver – especially during these chronically cold and wet days of winter.
You know the giant plastic slides and climbing structures and really cool ride-on toys you wish you owned but don’t have room for and don’t want to spend money on?
WIPG has multitudes of ALL those things. There is a roller coaster, two giant climbing structures, a mini trampoline, see-saw, lots of bouncing, rocking plastic animals and dozens of tricycles, wagons, and cars. There are giant building blocks, tunnels, and buckets of toys, books and puzzles. AND YES, there is an area reserved for babies and walkers complete with exer-saucers and tiny climbing structures.
What I enjoy the most is getting to connect with other parents as our children learn to socialize with one another. This is especially enjoyable at the seasonal parties where co-op members come together to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. Each child walks away from the party with a little gift, a craft, and a belly full of some healthy snacks (and maybe a sugar-y treat or two).
Many indoor drop-in rates for a place like this (gymnastics studios, trampoline parks, etc.) charge a minimum of $5 per child for one hour.
The cost for WIPG? For your entire family to join for January through June of 2015, it is just $40. Your only other commitment is to help set up or tear down the play area two times a month, to participate in a toy-cleaning once per quarter, and to serve on a committee that requires about an hour of your time each quarter.
That’s it. You can attend WIPG as often as you like, for as long as you like with this great deal!
The WIPG has been meeting at Bethesda Lutheran Church in West Eugene on 4445 Royal Avenue for nearly two decades. The church generously donates a large play space and storage area for WIPG. You do not have to be a member of the church to join WIPG as it is not a religious organization. The relationship between the church and the co-op is just a great example of the caring, generous virtue within our Eugene community.
Currently, WIPG gathers 9am-11:30am on M/W/F and 9am-1pm on T/TH (in accordance with the Bethel School District calendar).
As enticing as WIPG may be sounding to you right about now, it may also sound a little germ-tastic. But the WIPG maintains a very clean environment by having disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer available, stringently deep-cleaning the toys on a regular basis, and upholding a sick policy.
I am so glad we decided to join almost a year and a half ago. It is where my oldest son perfected his pedaling skills, where my youngest son wore his first Halloween costume, and where I have met many kind, compassionate and creative friends. In the warmer months we find ourselves naturally scheduling meet-ups at nearby parks and farms.
You are invited to try a FREE week!
Just contact Westside Indoor Playground via
the WIPG Facebook page
& mention this post for one FREE week pass
valid January 27-February 28, 2015
Westside Indoor Playground
4445 Royal Avenue, Eugene
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Tuesday and Thursday
January through June 2015
WIPG Facebook page
Christy Rice is a mom to two great boys. They love to explore all that Lane County has to offer. Christy is a superstar at researching & finding awesome picks & deals for GoMomGo! Check out more of her posts here.