Bible Bee this weekend

The National Bible Bee

Way back when I posted about the Bible Bee coming to this area, and the time has arrived. That post has consistently drawn numerous hits, so I wanted to make sure all interested readers were aware of the opportunities this weekend right here in the Chicago area.

Event begin on Thursday and roll through Saturday. Even if you did not prepare to participate in a Bible Bee, everyone can join the activities surrounding this national finals event. Tickets for various events and meal can be purchased online in advance.

In addition to the actual bee, activity bands are sold that cover admission to the other games and activities. Their website offers this description:

Please purchase one for each sibling, relative or guest for their unlimited access to the following exciting activities during open hours Friday and Saturday:

Lego Experience by Legoland

Join in a team challenge to build a replica of Chicago’s Sears Tower, or to build a useable Lego chair!  Make and take small projects, build and play with more Legos, and purchase additional Lego sets.

Laser Quick-Draw

This two-man, quick-draw competition will challenge the speed of your reflexes.  First come, first serve; each turn last 5 to 7 minutes each.

Craft Room

Come express your creativity together for a quieter activity.  Make and take a variety of small craft projects.  Appropriate crafts available for all ages from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Family Fun Area

Explore the park-themed place to play with a huge inflatable crawl-through caterpillar, park benches, tables set with chess and checkers, foosball and more!

Little Bee Playroom

Filled with age-appropriate playthings, the Playroom offers a safe space for the youngest members of your family to have fun with parents and older siblings.

If you can’t make it in person, their website says it will offer a webcast beginning with events on November 11. This might be a great opportunity to motivate kids for next year to begin learning their verses and hide God’s Word in their hearts.

Check out all the details on this soon to begin event at the Bible Bee website.


We had the opportunity to spend the day as guests of LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Schaumburg. I wanted to give you all the inside scoop on what to expect when you take advantage of the Homeschool Days on Wednesdays. I did not attend the homeschool workshop, so I cannot give you information on that item, but I will share about the facility in general.

We arrived around 10:30 and after a quick stop at the register we entered an amazing recreation of the city of Chicago. Over a million bricks went into building this mini-city. If only one person worked on it, it would have taken 15 years to complete! It is impressive, to put it mildly. We probably spent at least 15 minutes just soaking it in. It gradually fades from night to day and back again. You could stand there all day and still not take it all in. On the wall behind you as you view the skyline are various facts about the city of Chicago, some of its landmarks, and all that went into recreating it in miniature (including the 1,000 Lego people that wander the streets!)

That is only just the beginning. You will also find these exhibits and rides in LEGOLAND (this is a long section, but I put many pictures in the album and wrote in detail to give you as much as possible a good picture of what to expect when you arrive):

Jungle Adventure — If you follow the natural layout you will find yourself in the jungle just past mini-Chicago. After a brief introduction from the guide, you head into the jungle to find tigers, hippos, monkeys, and snakes, and one really big spider, all Lego of course. Take your time and enjoy the sites. They even have some wildlife trivia that the kids can answer on their own scratch off sheet and learn something along the way. We found the lighting a little too dim at times in this area, but enjoyed marveling and learning along the way.

Factory Tour — (upstairs) A fun trip “through” the factory. This quick one room tour gives you an idea of what goes into creating a Lego brick. From granules to the finished product, volunteers get to “help” by pushing buttons along the route. The staff host is generally entertaining and plays their part well. Our kids especially liked the special Lego piece they each walk away with — LEGOLAND’S very own, stamped and all. You can even get these individually engraved for $2 each.

4D Cinema — (upstairs) Two films available in 4D (3D plus water, wind, lighting, and other miscellaneous effects). Some of these at other places have scared my kids, but these are pretty mild, although you will get splashed a bit. If your child is young and might get upset by that, you can warn them, and you can usually tell when it is about to happen (like when Bob shakes his Thermos to try to get the water out, you just know it’s coming). We enjoyed both of the films — Bob the builder makes a roller coaster and Spellbreaker (a Lego exclusive with good and evil battling it out). Very young or sensitive children might be scared by the evil wizard type character and the skeleton army, all Lego pieces, but still loud and surprising at times. My four year old sat in my lap and jumped a couple times, but he loved it.

Dragon Ride — (first floor) My older daughter was a little disappointed as from the picture on the website she kind of expected a little roller coaster. This is more of a relaxing story journey. The dragon shaped car takes you through the wizard’s tale of knights and kings and end’s in the dragon’s lair where you might get a puff of “steam.” Despite the disappointment, it was a cute ride and my kids generally enjoyed it. The older ones thought once was enough though. My younger daughter was scared at the start of the ride, but the attendant gave her a shield to ward off anything scary, and she went on again without the shield. 🙂

Build and Test — (upstairs) We spent the bulk of our day here. Free to come and go from this area, you will find bowls full of Legos, stools all around work tables, and a challenge. Each hour or so the employees post a new Creative Challenge for the builders. The winner received a cardstock LEGOLAND crown, that my kids were quite proud of. Sometimes an animal, sometimes “Cartoon vs. Video Games” (take your pick), anything that rhymes with “sat,” and various other themed builds. It was fun to see what the kids would come up with when pushed to build something outside of their typical “really cool car.” One important note: there are not wheels out for use in this area. However, you can get wheels. You just need to turn in some form of ID and they will give you a set of wheels from their stash. We didn’t know this at first and were surprised that there were no wheels in this build room. So, now you know. There are wheels, you just need to ask for them and leave something in exchange. After building a car you can test them on the large ramps and race track.

Technicycle — (upstairs) a carnival type ride that rises when you peddle. My kids all enjoyed this and rode it repeated times. If your kids are really into the simple carnival rides this alone could make your admission worthwhile, although the line can move slowly when crowded. On a weekday we did not have any lines at all to worry about.

Model Builders Workshop — (upstairs) Throughout the day they offer mini workshops to show you how to build a special Lego creation. We were a little disappointed that the day we went it was just how to make a large Lego block out of eight smaller Legos. Then these were all combined into one large candle for LEGOLAND’s first birthday. But, August is over now, so you should have something different. Previously they had the Sears’ tower, monkeys, and other items. You don’t take the items with you, just the skills you learned.

Hall of Fame — (first floor) a small assortment of various Lego creations of famous personalities (R2D2, Batman, etc.) Great for picure taking. For other amateur photographers, photographing Lego statues is a challenge, because the flash really glares off of them if not done just right.

Physical Play — (upstairs) small indoor playground, perfect for the little ones to run and slide

Girls Play — a small corner of the build area has girly type Lego pieces including castle pieces and lots of pink. Cute, and my girls enjoyed it, but kind of small. However, probably fitting since the large portion of their guests seem to be boys.

There is also an area designed with the younger set in mind — Duplos (LOTS of them!), and big soft Legos. Great for the younger siblings that are tagging along.

And, to make your visit more comfortable, you will find lockers, coat hooks, plenty of tables and chairs for resting or snacking at, bathrooms (boy, girl, and family) and a drinking fountain upstairs, and a little cafe (meals range from just over $4 to just over $7 a piece — hot dogs, pizza, or sandwiches).

Walking around the museum you can’t help but stand amazed at the huge Lego statues and structures throughout the building. Bob the Builder, giraffes, Star Wars and Harry Potter characters, recreations of famous paintings, and even some of the floor mats. Legos find themselves all over this building starting with the large giraffe that straddles the front door.

All in all we enjoyed our time at LEGOLAND. The kids had a great time interacting with each other and with us. The many opportunities to build stretched and rewarded their creative abilities. Our oldest, a twelve year old, is on the top end of the ages I would recommend this trip for. From Bob the Builder movies to the jungle display, they seem to target a younger set. I would say kids that enjoy Legos and fall in the 3-10 age range would have an entertaining time. My 12 year old did enjoy taking the littler ones on the rides, and helping them build, and in that way it was a great day for all of us.

The staff were cheery, polite and interactive. The facility is clean and easy to navigate, and the gift shop isn’t too overpriced! We took a break for lunch which we brought with us, but otherwise easily spent 5 1/2  hours enjoying the “sites.” Rush hour traffic on the way home was another story . . .

Legoland Discovery Center discounts


A representative from Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumburg contacted me recently about letting you all in on a great deal. More than likely you have heard about this exciting facility, and maybe you have visited. However, maybe you haven’t. Maybe the admission prices made you reconsider, especially when you start adding up all of the members of your family. Maybe you didn’t know what to expect when you arrived.

If that sounds anything like you, or if you have any Lego lovers in your home, then you will want to check out this offer they have put together especially with the homeschool family in mind:

At the LEGOLAND Discovery Center we aim to make learning fun! Journey through an informative LEGO world of color, interaction and creativity for a visit your children are sure to remember!


Special rates will be available for Chicagoland Homeschool Network families on each of the following Wednesdays during the 2009/2010 school year:

  • August 26 through November 18, 2009 (each Wednesday)
  • January 5 through March 17, 2010 (each Wednesday)
  • $7.00 per Child plus a FREE workshop
  • 1 FREE adult for every 5 children booked
  • $7.00 per additional adult


Students get a chance to build towers and test them on an earthquake table.
Grades 1-3,Science/Math

Educational Objectives
This 30-minute workshop helps your children:

  • Learn about structures such as houses and towers.
  • Learn how to increase the stability of tall structures through hands-on experiments in a workshop.
  • Relate hands-on activities to the experience of the attractions in the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center.

Workshops must be booked at least 1 week in advance. To reserve your workshop, please call 847-592-9708 or email
Go  here to download your Chicagoland Homeschool discount coupon (if the link doesn’t work for you, you can cut and paste into your browser):

Download and print off your coupon and bring it with you when you visit.

If you end up loving it, you can become a member (just $32 a year per person if purchased online) and enjoy it even more frequently, but either way you will more than likely come away with some great memories. Please feel free to spread the word about this fun learning opportunity.

It gets even better . . .

To help spread the word about these specially designed homeschool days, Legoland Discovery Center is giving away a free pass for one family (2 adults and up to four children) to enjoy their facility.

If you would like to enter this drawing you must leave a comment on this post. Everyone gets one free entry just by leaving a comment below. You can earn additional entries by spreading the word. If you facebook, blog, or tweet about the homeschool days at Legoland Discovery Center and this contest you can earn another entry, just come back and comment again each time, telling where you spread the word.

Contest closes on September 15 at 10:00 pm and the winner will be announced at that time.

Labfest Grande Finale

Science Chicago’s LabFest! Triggers Reaction in Millennium Park

Blowout celebration offers hands-on science excitement in the heart of downtown Chicago

CHICAGO [July 28, 2009] – Science Chicago’s traveling LabFest! science festival is set to go out with a bang in downtown Chicago’s Millennium Park on Friday, August 21. After more than a dozen stops at CPS schools, local parks and libraries throughout Chicagoland, this finale event promises even more science discovery for Chicagoans and visitors of all ages in one dynamic and fun-filled summer day.

LabFest! in Millennium Park will give kids and families the opportunity to explore the sciences from – astronomy to zoology – in an interactive, memorable and FREE way. The day offers numerous hands-on activities, craft projects and games such as “Pop Fly” with Nate Ball, host of the popular PBS television series, Design Squad, where participants will have the unique opportunity to brainstorm, design, build and test products that are used in everyday life. The new season of Design Squad will air locally on WTTW11 Sundays at 11:30 a.m. beginning October 11, 2009.

“It’s all about making science and engineering accessible,” said Design Squad host, Nate Ball. “The Science Chicago initiative, just like the Design Squad TV show, features the importance of science and the design process in every aspect of our day-to-day lives – from riding a bike to recycling our garbage to making a call on a cell phone. LabFest! is an awesome opportunity to demonstrate the ideas that we share with our viewers every week. I’m even bringing one of the prototypes that our teenage cast invented on-screen!”

Some of the other exciting LabFest! activities at Millennium Park include:

• Build a 15-Foot Willis Tower out of LEGOS© – Work with architect Adam Reed Tucker to create a spectacular version of this Chicago landmark.
• Building Windmills – Engineer a functioning windmill with young Malawian innovator William Kamkwamba and author of the upcoming book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.
• Beakman’s World – See a show by Paul Zaloom, award-winning performance artist and host of the Sony Pictures science television show, Beakman’s World.
• Bubbleology 101 – Don’t just blow bubbles, discover the science of bubbles and how the molecular nature of water causes a phenomenon called surface tension.
• Alka-Seltzer Rockets – Create a rocket out of a film canister and an alka-seltzer tablet.
• Space Robots – Learn about space exploration as you build and program your own LEGO space robot with experts from the NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy.
• Solar Cars – Kids can design, build and race model solar cars while learning about renewable energy resources; then they can participate in one-on-one drag races.
• Oobleck – Take off your shoes and learn about non-Newtonian liquids when you dash across a pool of cornstarch and water mixture which will allow you to “walk on water.”
• I want to be a Vet! – Meet and talk to a veterinarian from the American Veterinary Medical Association and learn about animal health with the help of a real dog.

The year-long Science Chicago initiative, considered to be the world’s largest science celebration, wraps up in August. Since the launch of the program in September 2008, more than 300,000 people have engaged with Science Chicago programs and online communities.

“Science Chicago has been tremendously successful in building public enthusiasm for the sciences and positioning Chicago as leading city for cutting-edge science innovation,” said Cheryl Hughes, Executive Director of Science Chicago. “If you haven’t had a chance to experience a Science Chicago event, come to LabFest! at Millennium Park. It is a perfect culmination of this exciting year, as it celebrates the unique spirit of collaboration, hands-on learning and passion for science discovery that are the foundation of the Science Chicago initiative.”

Science Chicago will continue to serve as a resource for science enthusiasts through social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. The public may also visit the Web site for additional information on local science events and programs.

“It’s truly impressive that within the short span of one year, Science Chicago has inspired hundreds of thousands of Chicago residents of all ages to awaken their inner scientist and explore the many scientific resources of the region,” said David Mosena, President and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry and Vice Chair of the Science Chicago Board of Advisors. “The Museum of Science and Industry is proud to have led this unparalleled collaborative effort, and it is our hope that cities and organizations across the nation will look to Science Chicago as a model for the development of similar initiatives aimed at inspiring the next generation of American scientists.”

Event Details:
Date: Friday, August 21, 2009
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Millennium Park
55 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

For more information on LabFest! visit:

Discount tickets at Legoland during off hours

Hangin’ with the locals at Legoland Discovery Center:

Hangin' with the locals at Legoland Discovery Center

This current deal at the Legoland in Schaumburg continues to be extended. We enjoyed the day there last week with our kids. If you have a Lego fanatic in your family this could be a great family activity. I honestly do not think it is worth the daily admission rate (which you can get $5 off if you order online), but our kids (ages 4-12) did have a really great time. They don’t have a lot to do there, but a simple dragon ride, a carnival-style techincycle, a 4-D movie, numerous Lego sculptures, and a room full of Legos to build with was more than enough to keep our kids happy for the day.

Here’s the details on the current promotion:

Visit the LEGOLAND Discovery Center for only $7 per person!

Offer extended until 26th June!

Not sure what to do with the kids during the holidays, then bring them to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center!

Download this coupon, and you and your family can visit the LEGOLAND Discovery Center for only $7 each! This is a saving of $12 for adults, and $8 for children. The coupon is valid Monday – Friday after 4pm. Last admission is at 5pm, but the Center is open until 7pm.

To get your $7 ticket, simply download this coupon, fill in your details and bring a print out of the completed coupon to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center. One coupon is required per person.

Download your $7 ticket coupon here!

This is just one among many field trip and family activity destinations that can be enjoyed with smaller crowds and lower prices during off hours, which definitely works for me!

Lego Learning Opportunity!

Just came across a fun opportunity for educators from the Lego company:

Now through August 2009, LEGO® Education is hosting an activity challenge for educators of all grades and subject areas!

The LEGO® Smart™ Creativity Contest begins with your imagination and ends with great prizes, online recognition, and the chance to share your activity with thousands of students across the nation!

The task is simple.

Create an activity using only the
bricks included in a LEGO Smart Kit

Educators are being challenged to use the kits’ contents to develop a hands-on activity for their students. This can range from a simple build to a more advanced mathematical problem. You’re the creator, so let your imagination lead you!

Check out Lego’s site to request your own kit, submit your idea, and enter for your chance to win!

Thanks to Money Saving Mom for sharing this news.