Saturday 26 August 2017

Why It's Good To Be A #BigKid

The first Christmas I was with my.partner, I bought him a PSP. He bought me a coffee machine. That's the only time he's ever bought me kitchen equipment for Christmas. I tried to be very polite, but it was probably quite obvious I was a teensy bit disappointed. I simply didn't enjoy playing with my coffee maker as much as he enjoyed playing with his PSP.

Truth is my partner hadn't even considered to buy me toys for Christmas and to me that was very strange. It didn't occur to me that you bought people sensible presents at Christmas. Rightly or wrongly, he was happy to agree my way was best and we've never looked back. I've had a LEGO Creator House for Christmas each year since, and the Christmas Village LEGO set for my birthday in November.

Humans need to relax, we need to unwind. We all need time off from everyday stress and sometimes being passive isn't enough, we need to be actively away from the day-to-day. Children practice real life through play, adults avoid it. 

As adults a lot of people play through sports or move on to more grown up pursuits which have earned the title of  'Hobbies'. They usually require glue. It's even acceptable for full grown humans to play out alternative lives on consoles and computers. Immersing ourselves into something that requires our full attention is a great way to zone out for a while. Some people up the ante and their toys are the kind that cost a small house.

Thing is, I don't want to play sports or take up hobbies that need any degree of artistic skill. I can't commit to a computer game because as soon as I sit down I have too many kids demanding the location of some object that exists somewhere in the house. A yacht would be nice, but I'd never really get the chance to use it. It's maybe not the biggest of secrets but I don't review toys because the kids like them. I review them because I like them.

Tesco Direct asked me to write about the fact I'm a Big Kid and talk about one of my favourite toys. I think everyone knows my favourite toy is LEGO, I've written about that loads of times. I actually have another toy I'm quite passionate about and get some awesome ones to review. Maybe I can blame all my boys for causing it, but I'm a secret Nerf collector.

Since I've been working with Hasbro I've been spoilt. I've had some amazing Nerf Blasters to review and I've really enjoyed it. Sadly it's not really the done thing for an adult to ask for a Nerf N-Strike Modulus Blaster for Christmas, but it should be if that's what you want, because crikey you can have some fun with one.

I let my kids have a turn, but I like to fire the first dart just to check it's working properly. And I don't let them use my special darts because they leave them on the floor and the rabbit eats them. And I always win - mainly because I practise when they're at school. I'm still at the stage they expect me to win, but I know from experience that will change, and then I'll have to raise my game or lose my 'Cool Mum' points.

I haven't yet invited my friends over to see who can get the most Nerf darts through a hole in a sheet of paper, but I hope that day will come. I have been known to invite people round to show off my LEGO Winter Village though. I think it's fair to say it's always a gorgeous thing and it's no real surprise that it's adults who have the widest eyes when they see it.

The kids demolish my village and I say "it's fine, it's what it's for. It's not broken, it's LEGO", and the parents run over to replace everything and rearrange the vehicles and minifigures. I like it best when they are there far longer than necessary, and I see them turning the minifigure faces and moving their arms, and forgetting, just for a moment, that they aren't standing outside a toyshop in the snow.

Over the past 20 years I've watched it become widely acceptable for adults to like LEGO. It's an amazing change and one I think is brilliant. Without adult fans there'd be far fewer LEGO sets to choose from and no LEGO Shows. I'd never have met some great LEGO friends or had my date night at AFOL evening at LEGOLAND. LEGO building using differently rated sets was how we measured my partner's recovery from Meningitis and it's been an amazing distraction for us the past 3 years.

My father used to run Scout groups and he'd encourage the young people to play as much as possible. Something he said has really stuck with me. "They'll be adults long enough". Since that moment I have given play the respect I feel it deserves. We are adults for a very long time, most of it hard work and stressful, play gives us the opportunity to take time off from being that adult, to think like children and find joy in the blissfully simple. We should all find the time to be a Big Kid every now and again.

LEGO Blackpool Tower Building

Tesco Direct has a huge range of toys and is in fact usually an excellent place to buy Nerf and LEGO. We just bought some replacement Nerf darts at 20% off in one of their regular toy sales. It was also the first place I ever made a big Nerf investment more than 10 years ago - £20 each for two water blasters that served us very well for many years. My partner said I was mad when I bought them, but he was first to fill one up...

I was paid for the time taken to write this post for the Tesco Direct #BigKid Campaign.


  1. Replies
    1. Cheers Anna! Glad you agree - I bet you will be expert at Nerf soon enough with your 3 lads too :D

  2. Thanks for making me feel ok about my love of Lego minifigures. I started collecting them about series 12 and have them in special display cases. The kids are only allowed to look, not touch! I would love to buy some of the larger sets but can't really justify the cost, particularly as I have nowhere to display them once made. The Christmas ones are the loveliest, I find.

    1. I love the minifigure collections - although I'm not as organised as you and I did originally let my kids play with some, so a lot of the older ones are just among the LEGO! I'm annoyed they're £2.99 now as that price jump really makes a difference :D
      We put up some wide shelves which as great for display, but you can never really have much out at once :)

  3. My oldest is absolutely loving Lego right now and can't get enough of it. It's brilliant. I love this set you got and would love someone to buy something like this for me. Nerf guns kids just love don't they x

    1. No-one can resist a Nerf blaster - if I leave them loaded I alays come back to missing darts :D
      I honestly think I get more pleasure from my LEGO Christmas Village (and Halloween Village) than I ever could from the equivalent in clothes, make up, shoes or booze :D

  4. There's a lot to be said for being a big kid. I love doing kids craft stuff and I'm a crack shot with the Nerf guns. I also have to physically leave the room when Ben is building a new Lego set, I just want to either do it myself or micromanage the whole process. I wish someone would buy me my own Lego I could do myself and not have to share :)


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