Things To Do With Hexbugs - Make a Lego Habitat
Whilst Christmas shopping for the children last month, I came across the Hexbug Nano. Perhaps I have been a bit out of the loop, but I had never even heard of the Hexbug, although I have since learned of their popularity. I checked out the reviews on Amazon, of which there were many - something I do with most purchases as I don't like wasting money on rubbish. The reviews were mostly very favourable and the Hexbug was only £6 - can't go wrong, I thought, as a stocking filler for my three year old boy.
Well, my children came downstairs on Christmas morning to a treasure trove of gifts under the tree. The tiny Hexbug wasn't even discovered in the pile for quite some time. I was half worried that it would get thrown out with the wrapping paper, but in the end it surfaced.
Of course, this small gift was not a main present - that honour was reserved for a huge Playmobil Castle with dragons. But the Hexbug Nano was an instant success. I didn't even get one for my older son, an 11 year old boy who has decided that playing with toys is now uncool. Big mistake - he spend half of Christmas Day hogging his brother's, So often, I find, it's the little after-thoughts that become the biggest hits. And the Hexbug Nano is fun for all ages - even for the odd grown-up!
So taken was my eldest with the Hexbug, that I had to promise him one of his own. Even though he had his own presents, I didn't mind - to be honest I was quite pleased that he was showing interest in something so small and simple. In my mind, it makes a refreshing change from computer games, so I was happy to oblige.
To cut to the chase, we now have four little Hexbug Nanos, all in different colours. For anyone not in the know, they are small, battery-operated robotic 'insects' that look a bit like tiny brushes zipping manically around the floor. They don't work on carpet, but don't let that put you off. You do not need flat, wooden floors for the Hexbug Nano - you just need imagination.
So, what on earth can you do with a Hexbug, once you have watched it scurry around the floor a few times? Well, you could buy a special Habitat, designed just for these little creatures, but that is not for us. The Hexbug Habitat kicks imagination in the teeth - the real magic comes from making your own. After all, if you make your own you can be as creative as you like and it will be different every time. You can experiment with new designs, fix the problems if it doesn't work out and easily fill the morning of a rainy day. I should know - the day after New Year, I spent well over two hours helping the children make the perfect environment for their new Hexbugs.
To make a Hexbug habitat you could use anything which will contain these runaway robots. When we first got them, we put books around the edges of the dining room table so that they wouldn't fall off. That's just sensible. Then we progressed onto creative habitats, using the number one toy of all time - Lego.
The beauty of a Lego habitat is that you don't need anyone to tell you how to create it. You just do whatever you want. As with anything made from Lego, a lot of the fun comes from the building itself, rather than the end result. If it not an instant success, who cares? You can just make alterations, until it works.
When we first made our Lego Hexbug Habitat, we made it a bit too maze-like. There were too many narrow pathways in which the Hexbugs couldn't turn round and kept getting stuck. Wider paths were the answer. We also built little tunnels, which were fun. As we amended the habitat, it got better and better, but still the Hexbugs were getting stuck in the corners too often. Sometimes another Hexbug would come along and nudge them in the right direction; sometimes they just wouldn't budge at all. This was quite frustrating, until we realised that Hexbugs like corners that are very short in height. In fact, some of the corners were eventually made using a couple of the really flat Lego bricks stuck together and in the end the Hexbugs found it easier to navigate. Sometimes they did still get stuck, but in general it was a lot better.
Our First Attempt at a Lego Hexbug Habitat
It was not until after making our Hexbug habitat that we came up with the idea of making a video and uploading it. I don't usually do things like that. The first couple of attempts didn't quite go as planned - on one of them my oldest son started talking about fancying some chocolate cake. But we got there in the end, the result of which you can see above. I think it is something we will do again - after all, the more you practice at something, the more ingenious an idea can become. Lego is a toy with so much scope that the possibilities are endless - combined with the Hexbug Nano, there is much that can be created. Whilst on YouTube, we discovered an absolutely genius idea of building a Lego Hexbug maze with the bricks placed on their sides - quite complicated, but the results are so impressive that it is really worth a go. Have a look below and you are sure to be impressed. It deserves some recognition.