It’s Friday and day 16…

2016 Lego Christmas Advent Calendars

Ok, it is actually Saturday morning but I am sharing the Lego advent calendars fro Fridday as we lost power last night and I couldn’t access the internet to post this.

Again, my daughter was questioning the Christmas aspect of the Friends calendar so I am trying to explain that not everything in an advent calendar has to actually be about Christmas. But given her enjoyment of making things, she was very happy to put together a craft table and glue bottle.

Lego Friends craft table

My son found a plane in the Lego City calendar. I wondered if it would turn out to be a shuttle and part of a rocket (as happened last year) but we’ll have to wait until tonight to find out!

Lego City advent calendar plane

If you have enjoyed reading about day 16, you can go back to day one or even read the 2015 day 15 Lego advent calendar review.

Santa is coming to Australia – Christmas book review

Santa is coming to Australia

by Steve Smallman
illustrated by Robert Dunn
AliCat, South Melbourne, 2012

Age group: early to mid primary school

Santa in Australia – you gotta love that 🙂Santa is coming to Australia

The story

The book starts with Santa and a little old elf preparing the sleigh and reindeer for his trip Down Under. It then covers the flight, including getting lost in cloud, and delivery of the gifts.

My review

Santa is nice and cheery, a young reindeer is bright and finds the way to Perth’s Bell Tower, and Santa’s magic is throughout the book. So it was a fun and happy read.

Interestingly, Perth got the most mentions but Santa then went onto the other major cities (though one does wonder why he went to Alice Springs, then the east coast before going to Darwin!). One spread includes many recognisable structures, although predominantly Sydney and Melbourne, and the last page sees Santa flying home over Sydney rather than Darwin…Sample page from 'Santa is Coming to Australia'

As a positive, the Santa-nav uses kilometres and there is no snow in Australia, Santa refers to little Aussies and ‘crossed the Equator and headed down under’. I was less happy with children leaving out ‘cookies and milk’ and a reindeer snack was left inside rather than out on the grass as I’ve always known to do.

Sample page from 'Santa is Coming to Australia'

There are other versions available, such as Santa is coming to Western Australia, Santa is coming to the beach, various parts of the UK and USA, and even Santa is coming to my house.

Astute children may ask why Santa went straight home after Darwin rather than delivering gifts to children in other countries (and my seven year old did notice!), but that didn’t detract from the overall story.

As always, it’s nice to see a book centred around places you know, so Aussie kids are bound to enjoy this book. And children elsewhere may well enjoy the story in its own right and get some interest out of seeing some views of down under!
Sample page from 'Santa is Coming to Australia'

Day 15 in our advent calendars…

2016 Lego Christmas Advent Calendars

Tonight, the Lego City calendar joined in the food theme with a cake stall! At least, it is the physical part of a stall and some cash – my son believes it will be followed by an oven and some food 🙂

Lego City advent food stall

Emma and Naomi discovered a camera and tripod in their calendar so took a shot of themselves having afternoon tea in front of the piano, and some of their new pet.

Collage of Lego camera photos

If you have enjoyed reading about day 15, you can go back to day one or even read the 2015 day 15 Lego advent calendar review.

Advent calendars are up to day 14!

2016 Lego Christmas Advent Calendars

“Mummy, would you love a cup of tea?”

My daughter was quite excited tonight to find a teapot and mugs with a table in her Friends advent calendar. The table nicely matches the seats from last night, although the tray of cupcakes won’t fit on the table if the mugs are already there!

Collage of day 14 Lego Friedns advent calendar

Following all the cooking utensils, the cupcakes and Santa’s snack, my daughter asked “why is Lego giving me a feast?” to which my son answered “Well, Christmas usually has lots and lots of yummy food you know!” So it was established that the calendar is fitting the Christmas spirit!

Meanwhile, in Lego City for day 14, a helicopter was revealed for the remote control discovered yesterday. My son is very happy with and enjoyed flying it to the top of advent calendar itself and then having the ice hockey players admire it!

lego helicopter images

If you have enjoyed reading about day 14, you can go back to day one or even read the 2015 day 14 Lego advent calendar review.

Advent calendars are up to day 13!

collection of images from teh Lego 2016 advent calendars

We’re now past half way through our advent calendars and Christmas is definitely feeling closer now…

Tonight, we discovered some chairs and a plate of cupcakes for Emma and Naomi, and a man with a remote control device in Lego City.

Collage of day 13 Lego advent calendars

Remember you can read the introduction to our Lego advent reviews or catch up on day 12. And if you’re interested in using a Lego advent calendar after reading our reviews, I don’t think it’s too late – the kids will just have the fun of opening lots in one go, or maybe make it two a day until you catch up. Especially as some places may have reduced the price a lot by now…

What’s cooking on day twelve in Lego calendars?

collection of images from teh Lego 2016 advent calendars

Oops – I’m a bit late with last night’s advent calendar review so apologies for that 🙂

Anyone hungry? The Friends calendar provided my daughter with an array of cooking utensils – plate, knives and forks, along with a hand mixer, frying pan and spatula. Emma was quickly whipping up dinner for Naomi and the two ice-hockey players from Lego City 🙂

Lego cooking utensils and people

Emma using Lego cooking utensils to provide dinner for friends

Over in Lego City, we’ve got a bit more Christmassy light to enjoy… An old fashioned lamp post (not the same as the one we got in last year’s calendar as this one has two lights and a circular wreath) decorated with a Christmas wreath is pretty and welcoming.

Lego Lamp post with a green wreath

Lamps and a Christmas wreath to decorate the Lego City

Which would you prefer to have discovered behind flap twelve – the cooking things or the lamp post and wreath?

If you missed days ten and eleven nine, they are still available – in fact, every day of our Lego Advent Calendar reviews from 2015 and 2016 are online for you to catch up on at any time!

Foam Christmas decorations

My children have made Christmas decorations for the boys in their classes this year, having already made hair ties for the girls.

child-made decorations in Christmas card envelopes

Foam decorations made by my children for their classmates

We used a craft kit of foam decorations which they decorated and popped into an envelope with a Christmas card.

The kids loved colouring in the ornaments, to the point that my son even coloured along the edges of some!

children working on foam ornaments

My children enjoyed making these ornaments (excuse the marked table they were working on!)

Foam decoration kit

The kids were excited and got into the decorating before I got photos taken so I only have shots of the kit in part!

foam Christmas ornament craft kit

Foam ornament kit from Art Star

The kit made things very simple and the kids enjoyed making the decorations.

The kit contains 12 foam Christmas ornaments (three each of four designs), lengths of golden string, four small textas and some glitter glue. The packet states ’embellishments included’ and there were two tubes of glue so I thought there was something else to glue onto the ornaments – it took a little while to understand it was glitter glue and that was classed as an embellishment.

The biggest issue with the kit is the size of the textas – they were cute being so small but didn’t last well enough for my kids thoroughly colouring in the ornaments and writing messages on the back. In particular, my kids used a lot of red (on Santa’s suit and other decorations) so ended up using their own textas and pens.

But you could certainly use the kit for a quick Christmas activity or as gifts like my children have done.

Days ten & eleven – Lego advent calendars

collection of images from teh Lego 2016 advent calendars

As day ten was Saturday night, I left that review until tonight so day ten and eleven are together 🙂

The Lego City advent calendar produced a girl dressed for ice-hockey on day ten – my son was very excited to see her! The girl was on the side of the box to show the size of Lego pieces so he has been expecting her…

Two Lego characters ready for ice-hocket

Time for a game of ice-hockey…

While my daughter was ecstatic to put together a piano from the Lego Friends calendar – she has been looking forward to the piano as it is on the box (and I hoped it was more than just a prop on the background!). I love the fact there is sheet music and how the keys look real – it is based on a white grill piece as the white keys and the gaps look like black keys are there!

Lego girl at piano

Emma at the piano

Tonight, my daughter was extremely excited to find a purple guitar on a stand – purple is her favourite colour so she loves this guitar. “And it’s even a plug-in guitar, Mummy!” Both children are now planning a Lego band with their combined instruments and musical equipment from this advent calendar.

A purple Lego guitar

A purple Lego guitar

My son was pleased to get a bare tree (back to the winter concept of deciduous trees) with some Christmas lights on it.

Christmas lights on a Lego tree

Christmas lights on a tree

Back to day nine…

Day nine

collection of images from teh Lego 2016 advent calendars

It’s Friday and we’ve done nine advent calendar flaps now – Christmas Eve is getting closer!

Keeping with the ice-hockey player from day eight, Lego City produced a stand (for want of a better word – I don’t know much about ice-hockey!) for holding ice-skates, pucks, etc beside the ice.

Lego ice-hockey player next to a tand on the ice

Lego City day nine – Ice-hockey equipment for our Lego player

Unfortunately, my daughter was not so happy with the ninth flap of the Friends calendar – in fact there were tears because it wasn’t anything Christmassy and advent calendars should be about Christmas Mummy!”

two Leog girls with microphones and a turntable

Two microphones and a turntable were behind flap nine for Emma and Naomi

I thought the turntable and microphone set was quite cute, but I agree it is not related to Christmas as such (but I never expected every day to be directly Christmas related). I guess it is hard because ice skating, fires and hot chocolate and the like are not part of our Christmas celebrations in any way – hopefully Lego will do a warmer weather focussed advent calendar next year (it’s not only Australia that is in summer!)

aerial view of Lego girls, microhones and turntable

A turntable is an interesting choice in this digital age!

Back to day eight…

Day eight is Christmassy!

collection of images from teh Lego 2016 advent calendars

“Mum, today’s calendar is really Christmassy!”

So yelled my six year old upon opening the Friends Lego calendar this evening and finding a snack for Santa and carrots for the boomers and reindeer.

Lego biscuits and hot drink plus a reindeer carrot

Getting a snack ready for Santa and the boomers!

Meanwhile, in Lego City advent calendar, my son found a boy with ice skates and hockey gear.

Lego ice-hockey player in front of advent calendar

Creating an ice-hockey player!

Back to day seven…

A bit of applause for Mrs Claus – Christmas book review

A bit of applause for Mrs Claus

by Susie Schick-Pierce, Jeannie Schick-Jacobowitz, Muffin Drake-Policastro
illustrated by Wendy Wallin-Malinow
Naperville, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2012.

Age group: 3-5 year olds, plus earlier readers

A Bit of Applause for Mrs ClausThere are many, many books and stories about Santa, but not so many about Mrs Claus so this seemed like a different angle worth looking into.

The story

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa is sick so Mrs Claus has to take over so the children don’t miss out on Christmas.

My review

Many parents will understand how Mrs Claus feels with the number of jobs still to be done on Christmas Eve as she has a very busy night. She has to wrap gifts, cook snacks, harness up the reindeer and finish decorating all the trees. Mrs Claus even has to write a pile of letters children to on behalf of Santa!

[Spoiler alert!] While the story focuses on Mrs Claus, the story doesn’t damage anyone’s expectations or hopes as Santa gets better in time to do the Christmas Eve run.Sample page from 'A bit of applause for Mrs Claus'

We’re up to day seven of advent calendars!

Day seven and the kids had to open the calendars early today as we went to a Christmas celebration.

Do you tend to open the calendars at the same time each day, or just when you think of it? It feels right to us to do it a little before bed time so it is really counting down the sleeps until Santa arrives, but the principle applies whenever you open the flaps!

At first, my daughter was surprised to find a fireplace in the Lego Friends calendar, but then she realised you have to have a fireplace to have a chimney for Santa to come down, plus the calendar setting was cold so a fire would keep Emma and Naomi warm. The tiny instructions didn’t help with getting the fireplace together – it was beyond my six year old and I ended up making it for her.

A Lego fire under a wreath

A warm fire burning beneath and Christmas wreath

Lego City calendar, on the other hand, gave us a green wreath on a …fence? mantelpiece? building top? What do you think the wreath is attached to?

Lego City Christmas wreath

Lego City Christmas wreath

If you have missed them, you can start on day one of our advent calendar reviews, or go back to day six.

Share your Christmas story
Instagram