Disclosure: I received press tickets to Lego KidsFest along with a pair to give away but no other compensation. Opinions are my own.
At 11, Deal Kid is a Lego connoisseur: current wish list item being theLEGO Ghostbusters Ecto-1 21108 (take note, Grandmas). Nearing 8, Deal Girl is a Lego artist…definitely not into the “girly” Legos and not a direction follower but more of a freelancer.
I can’t begin to describe the Deal Kids’ excitement when I told them about Lego KidsFest. To be honest, I was pretty excited, too. You see, Lego KidsFest is the only event actually run with the blessing of the Lego company…and it shows. I’ve taken Deal Kid to other unofficial “brick” fan events and while the sculptures were technically very impressive, the events had a “Sheldon Cooper” vibe to them. Lego KidsFest places the emphasis back where it belongs: on the kid. Visiting just 7 cities for a weekend every year, KidsFest is definitely worth tracking down if it’s anywhere near you. In 2014 there’s 1 left: Indianapolis 11/7-9. I’ll let you know the 2015 dates when they come out.
Now that I’ve given KidsFest 2 Legos up, let me give you some tips to take with you when you go:
- Before you buy the tickets, think about your kid: Was Lego KidsFest lots of fun for my kids (and a guest 5 year old)? Yes! Is it for every kid? NO! I wouldn’t bring a 3 year old (although there is a duplo section, it seems a waste of $20) and would tread carefully with 4 depending on their attention span and ability to wait in line. Kids 2 and under are free but might make life miserable for everyone else unless they’re happy in the stroller the entire time.
- Try to go Friday night if you possibly can. I know it will probably involve taking some time off work as KidsFest opens at 4 (we even took our kids out of school early) but Friday will be the least crowded of all the sessions. The displays will also be the freshest and least (sorry!) germy. On our visit Friday the event was maybe 1/2 full. Saturday and Sunday it was entirely sold out and I don’t want to think about what 2x the kids would have felt like!
- Whatever session you choose, get there at opening. Maybe even 10 minutes before as the convention center is probably bigger than you expect. The crush at the door will loosen quickly. Get there too late and the lines will be loooong.
- As soon as you arrive, head for the stars. On your map. The starred exhibits give away free Legos! Our kids got Lego Star Wars Mini TIE-Fighter set 8028 and Lego, City, Coast Guard Seaplane Bagged (30225)among other sets just for completing the fun challenges like building a bridge in teams or creating a camera in under 2 minutes.
- Pack snacks. Don’t go crazy as bags are checked, but some granola bars or fruit roll ups may be just the ticket for lagging energy. There will be hot dogs, etc. in the venue, but you’ll be glad to have some spares if the lines are long.
- Prepare yourself to move slowly and stop often. This one was hard for me as the impulse is to keep moving and “see everything”. The point of Lego, however, is not to see, but do. Stop with your kids and build. It’s fun!
- When all else fails, head to the pit. Nothing more fun than watching your kids lying on their backs making Lego angels.