Heartwarming documentary about competitive Rubik’s Cube Solving
For people like me, who used to peel off the stickers of a Rubik’s Cube and rearrange them in order to “solve” it, this is going to blow your mind.
Netflix has just premiered the quirky documentary, The Speed Cubers, one of those hidden gems the popular streaming service offers from time to time that you may skip past in favour of rewatching an old episode of Suits if you’re not tuned into what its actually about.
If you think The Speed Cubers is just a documentary about a bunch of brainiacs competing in a colourful, hands-on, pseudo Mathletics championship and filming it for YouTube, you’ll be surprised by what you actually get, which is more of story about friendship, rivalry and finding one’s place.
Meet Feliks Zemdegs
Feliks Zemdegs is basically the Tom Cruise of the speed cubing world. Or I suppose if I’m going to be true to an actual athletics analogy, the Michael Jordan of the speed cubing world. In any case, he’s really damn good and the rest of the cubing community either like him, want to be him, or want to beat him. Or a combination of all of the above.
At least they did… until Max Park came along.
Enter Max Park
For Max, who has Autism, speed cubing isn’t just a hobby, or a game, or something that’s going to make him a shit ton of money on YouTube.
He was originally introduced to cubing as a way to improve his fine motor skills, and as a happy side benefit, when his parents started entering him into competitions it also became a way for him to develop his social skills.
Max’s parents reveal that as a child he seemed trapped in his own world but competitive cubing has seen him overcome many of the obstacles he used to face and helped him develop socially and emotionally along the way.
And he’s also really damn good. We’re talking solve a cube in 6.3 seconds good.
The rivalry and the friendship
Feliks is an idol for Max; the first person Max ever asked for an autograph from or to take a photo with. As they keep meeting on the cubing circuit (yes that’s a thing), they become friends.
Somehow, what could be a fierce rivalry, with Max inching closer and closer to usurping Feliks from his Cube King throne, remains supportive rather than competitive, even as they set to face off at the Cubing World Championships (yes that’s also a thing).
Watching as Max annihilates almost every cubing record Feliks has set (no spoilers here, you’ll have to watch until the very end to see if Feliks manages to hold on to any of his Cubing Titles -also a thing-), one could be forgiven for assuming that Feliks might get, you know, a little ticked off by the whole thing, but instead we see Feliks texting Max after every win to say congratulations. We see him encouraging Max to eat his greens when they’re at dinner together. We see Feliks in tears at a tournament Max doesn’t win because he knows how that feels. And, most poignantly, we see Max try to express his own emotions, something his parents attest is something he struggles with due to his Autism, as he finds out at an event that Feliks doesn’t make podium.
It’s a portrait of two young men that appears to be almost unintentionally vulnerable as the see-saw of natural emotions disappointment and envy tips back in favour of the weight of the friendship they’ve built.
It’s short and sweet
It’s only 40 minutes, so this is a great one to watch with the kids who will be wowed by how it’s even possible to solve a Rubik’s Cube BLINDFOLDED, and also shine a light on the friendship between Feliks and Max and how their individual differences make for a beautiful and touching friendship.
When ten-year-old Maudie, a freakishly gifted observer of human behaviour, forms an investigator agency with her classmates Ezra, Ava and Kyle, no school or neighbourhood crime is left unsolved.
What parents need to know
The InBESTigators is an Aussie series, featuring four unlikely friends who form a detective agency to solve mysteries brought to them by school mates and town locals.
Whilst it’s not officially classed as ‘educational’, the pint-sized detectives regularly use the critical thinking skills of observation, analysis and explanation in the course of their investigations each episode, posing questions to the audience and encouraging viewers to come up with their own hypotheses of who dunnit and how.
Themes of kindness, teamwork and responsibility make this a solid pick, as well as a racially diverse cast that often defies gender stereotypes.
Is it any good?
You know what? Yes. It’s funny and entertaining, filmed as a mockumentary comedy, and adults will get a kick out of it alongside their little people.
The actors lines are often laced with kid-friendly sarcasm and good natured humour. The mysteries are generally pretty low key (missing bake sale money, prank callers, a turtle thief) but interesting enough to keep slightly older kiddos engaged and guessing along.
There’s something for everyone, with the morals and values underpinning each episode once a mystery is solved, remaining relevant to young tweens.
The characters are role model worthy, and the life lessons don’t come across as preachy; children are given independence by their adult counterparts to solve their own problems.
It’s age appropriate, and funny, and parents won’t hate watching it! There are a heck of a lot of TV shows that don’t tick all those boxes!
Talk to your kids about…
Here at KIDDO we love it when can bring talking points to all of our activities, yes even TV watching.
Conversation starters you might find in the InBESTigators include:
Critical thinking skills – how are the skills of observation, analysis, evaluation and explanation used as the characters undertake investigations
Have you ever solved a mystery? What was the mystery? How did you solve it?
What character strengths can you see in each of The InBESTigators? How do they work as a team and play to their strengths and weaknesses?
Have you ever worked as a team, and used your curiosity?
You can watch The InBESTigators on ABC iView and Netflix
The Inbestigators is a series from Gristmill, made with the support of Screen Australia and Film Victoria for ABC and Netflix. The Australian Children’s Television Foundation distributes The Inbestigators worldwide.
Given Brainchild is one of the highest rated children’s TV shows on Netflix, obviously many families have found this gem hidden within the reams of brightly coloured cartoons and Barbie Dreamhouse episodes. But, even though my kids are pretty well versed at figuring out how to find shows on Netflix, we have only just stumbled across this one and I figure we can’t be the only ones who’ve missed it up until now.
No subject is too big or too small for Brainchild
Ostensibly Brainchild is all about making science fun for kids. Whether tackling big subjects like the impact and implications of social media, through the use of clever experiments, or asking life’s big questions like “do fish pee” or “how big is the universe” or “what exactly are memories”, the show covers a broad range of topics that kids have questions about that may not be covered in traditional school curriculum.
The show doesn’t talk down to children, but instead asks them to get involved and come to their own conclusions.
Brainchild also offers something so important in times where diversity is still sometimes lacking on our TV screens; it’s hosted by a woman of colour, Indian American Sahana Srinivasan.
Produced by Pharrell Williams
Showcasing people of colour is the reason why popular American rapper Pharrell Williams signed on to produce the show.
“Seeing a woman talk to you about science and stuff is very encouraging for young girls and they message me about that,” Srinivasan said. “I also have women of colour, Indian young girls, who tell me that they’re interested in going into acting and this is inspirational for them.”
All the answers to “But WHY MUM?”
According to Netflix, “Brainchild makes science fun, cool, and accessible to everyone. Each episode tackles a topic that’s important to kids (and adults!) with comedy, experiments, and interactive games.”
The first 13 episodes are available on Netflix now. They’re 25-minute explorations of interesting topics including emotions, superheroes, social media, space, dreams, and creativity, among many others.
Brainchild is perfect for inquisitive kids and anyone, anywhere, who likes to ask “but why?”
Season 1 of Brainchild is available to stream on Netflix.
Watch the official Brainchild trailer below for a hint of what you’ll be getting.
and we’ve got your comprehensive guide to what it’s really like!
(Spoiler alert… you’re going to love it!)
It’s a big call, but after spending a weekend at Woodhouse Activity Centre, I think it might just be one of Adelaide’s best kept secrets.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a review online of Woodhouse that really does it justice.
Woodhouse Activity Centre is only 15 minutes drive up the freeway and truly offers a unique experience for kids and families; it’s like a time warp in the best possible way, taking you back to the days where kids had scuffed shoes, grassy knees, and mud smudged faces. The times when they were exhausted by the end of the day because of non stop adventuring, running, jumping, climbing and yes, maybe even falling.
Without a Nintendo Switch or Netflix account in sight.
When I think Woodhouse, I think of old school adventuring. The kind of outdoor escapades we had, and our parents had, as kids. Switching off the screens and running amok in nature, having a lark, getting wet, or muddy, falling on our bums and getting right back up again.
This is exactly the experience you’ll get if you go to Woodhouse Activity Centre for the day, or stay for the weekend like we did.
Play at Woodhouse Activity Centre
I don’t think I can overstate how fun the tube slides at Woodhouse Activity Centre actually are.
The Tube Slides at Woodhouse are the only tube slides operational in South Australia and, honestly, if you haven’t tried it you haven’t lived.
If you’re not sure what to expect, think waterless waterslide, or a snow free ski run where you whizz down 100m+ synthetic slopes in big rubber rings that spin, bump, turn and basically give you a fun, fast and fabulous ride!
And you know what, you also have to work for it, which I kind of love! What comes down…. must also go up! In order to get to the top of the slide you have to drag your own tube up the slope to the launch pad, which was actually pretty awesome because a) it meant I could work off the sticky date pudding I’d eaten the night before and b) it meant the kids learnt that in order to do something fun, sometimes you also have to put a little effort in. And I have to say, they must have ridden the tube slide in excess of 50 times each, so they certainly got their step counts up over the course of the day!
The Tube Slides are open weekends and public holidays from 11.00am-3.00pm and only when predicted rain fall in Piccadilly is less than 5mm and 50% chance of rain. There are always 4 staff members operating the tube slides, unlike the other activities at Woodhouse which are largely self guided and accessed at your leisure. This is so the slides are maintained properly while they’re being used, to hand out the correct sized tubes for sliders and for everyone’s general safety.
There could not have been a more perfect activity for my energiser bunny children. They couldn’t have loved Challenge Hill more, and honestly, we all got involved, it’s an activity that truly isn’t just for the kids. This type of obstacle course reminded me of my youth, where playgrounds were wooden, not brightly coloured plastic, spinning, high tech engineered gadgets that you can probably see from the moon.
Obviously modern day playgrounds have their place, but Challenge Hill at Woodhouse Activity Centre harks back to the the old school obstacle course that you tackled as a young scout or cub.
You’re going to climb, you’re going to swing, you’re going to clamber, you’re going to balance, you’re going to crawl, you’re going to get muddy; and you’re going to have a darn good time while you’re doing it.
Challenge Hill is more than just fun though. It’s about team work, conquering your fears, being brave, overcoming challenges, encouraging each other, and learning how to be a good leader.
These are the types of lessons that sometimes get lost on our children when they’re busy trying to figure out how to complete Super Mario Odyssey, but the kind of old school teachings that we desperately need to get back to instilling in them.
The littlest in our crew (an almost 6 year old) wasn’t always able to complete every challenge on the hill, but gave it a darn good crack and it was so lovely to see her older brother and sister (both 8 years old) give her a hand, and see if they could guide her through some of the techniques, or just give her the courage and encouragement to try!
By the end of our stay at Woodhouse Activity Centre, my three kids had completed the course three times, and each time attempted something they hadn’t succeeded at the round before. It’s that kind of perseverance, determination and tenacity that Challenge Hill will bring out in even the littlest among us!
The giant split-level maze, with a fun fireman’s pole, a slide and 2 flights of stairs adjoining the 2.8m drop from top to bottom tier, is an epic challenge for big and little people.
Yes I got lost, and yes I was waiting for David Bowie to suddenly step out resplendent in full Labyrinth garb and majestic 80’s hair blowing in the breeze at any given moment. No such luck!
The internal panels of the Labyrinth at Woodhouse Activity Centre are interchangeable so even if you or the kids think they’ve mastered the route, (which is 135m directly from start to finish), the team at Woodhouse change it up regularly so you never know quite what you’re going to get, it’s always fresh, and the kids will have an a-MAZE-ing time trying to get through it each time you visit, or even from one day to the next.
External to the Labyrinth at Woodhouse Activity Centre there’s a web of interconnecting underground tunnels that the kids loved bolting through as well.
Some cool extra facts about The Woodhouse Labyrinth
270 beams adjoining each panel in the Labyrinth were made out of recycled materials.
10,530kg of waste material was diverted from landfill.
5,265kg of waste plastic was up-cycled.
An approximate 63,180 x 2 litre milk bottles were recycled in this one project.
Approximately the annual milk bottle usage by 1,215 SA homes.
Stags Activity Centre
If you’re looking for a change of pace, or a break away from the weather, or just want to try something a bit more low key at Woodhouse, you can always head to Stags Activity Centre.
The old scout shed is decked out with 2.4 metre high bouldering walls, and over 300 climbing holds, so little people can get the feel of what it’s like to rock climb, but with the safety of low walls and a padded flooring beneath.
Stags Activity Centre also has a basketball hoop, giant floor checker board and a novelty sized game of noughts and crosses which were all popular with my kiddos when it was raining outside and they were exhausted from a few rounds of Challenge Hill.
We were unfortunately rained out before we could have a round of Disc Golf (which honestly has, I think, got a bad marketing wrap and should probably be called Frisbee Golf because it was wildly different to what I was expecting when I saw the words Disc Golf).
The game is much like traditional golf but instead of a ball and clubs, Disc Golf players use a frisbee. The aim is basically to complete each hole in the fewest number of strokes (or, in the case of frisbee golf, fewest number of throws).
A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target which is the elevated metal basket. As a player progresses down the fairway, they must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw landed.
Stay at Woodhouse Activity Centre
If you fancy more than just a day trip to Woodhouse Activity Centre, there is a variety of options for accomodation onsite.
We were lucky enough to be staying in Chambers Chalet for the duration of our time on the property, one of three smaller cabin offerings for families or couples.
If you’re expecting the Ritz, then that’s not what you’ll get, but the whole point of a trip to Woodhouse Activity Centre is the old-school camp experience, and the chalets offer a humble, rustic, homely option for those not wanting to stay in a tent (i.e. me).
Our cabin was big enough to suit our family of five, and the opportunity to unplug, reconnect, and not have any of the kids fighting over the remote control or what to watch on Netflix was a welcome change. Instead, on the evening of our overnight stay, we played Jenga and sat around the fire pit outside listening to the sounds of nature around us and the banter of other campers nearby.
Each cabin has split system heating and airconditioning; it was the dead of winter during our stay, and everyone stayed toasty warm. You’re responsible for bringing your own bedding when you stay, so if you are worried about getting cold, just bring an extra blanket!
Other modern conveniences of the cabins include a fully functioning kitchenette (think all the basics that you need for a short getaway; fridge, toaster, kettle, oven, microwave) and (PRAISE BE) a private toilet and shower.
Chambers Chalet also has a lovely front deck, BBQ and outdoor seating, and the view wasn’t too bad either.
Larger group accomodation
Woodhouse also offer large group accomodation by way of bunkhouses, dormitories and the old manor house, which can all host bigger numbers, camps and youth groups.
Camping and Caravans
The property is enormous and also hosts campers and caravans, as well as your good old peg in the ground tents and swags.
Our trip to Woodhouse Activity Centre was on the last weekend of the July School Holidays, and as such, wasn’t as typically busy as it tends to be during school breaks or on long weekends, but if you’re worried about not having enough space, just remember, this place has played host to 15,000 young scouts at Jamboree’s in years gone by, so you’re not going to have any trouble with crowds, there’s plenty of fresh air to spare!
Meals (and coffee!) in the area
Unless you’re cooking over a camp fire, using one of the onsite BBQ’s or utilising the kitchen facilities of your cabin or bunkhouse, there isn’t any ready made food available to buy at Woodhouse Activity Centre. We used the opportunity to take a night off and headed to neighbouring Uraidla and had dinner at the Uraidla Hotel.
I can honestly say this is my favourite pub in SA, the food is incredible, the ambiance is spot on and the decor is on point for Hills charm. There’s also a swing set and slide outside for warmer evenings, the kids menu is excellent and the chocolate sundae for dessert the best my kids have had at a pub anywhere in SA!
And because coffee is a necessity for us to function like normal human beings, the following morning we ventured back to Uraidla to the Uraidla Bakery for coffee which was top notch, hot chocolate for the kids and we took an incredible freshly baked sour dough loaf back to Woodhouse to devour for lunch. Winning.
We really can’t say enough good things about our time in Piccadilly at Woodhouse Activity Centre and the team at KIDDO highly recommend taking a trip up the freeway and immersing yourself in some back to basics fun with your crew!
For more information or to plan your day trip or stay at Woodhouse:
Mini Golf at The Beachouse Review: A Day on the Green
The new mini golf course at The Beachouse is ready to go after it’s recent refurb and we were lucky enough to head down to check it out with our mini KIDDO crew during the recent school holidays.
T’was a foggy old day, and each with a Beachouse putter in the crook of our arm and a golf ball in our pockets we took to the greens at Glenelg on the Western side of The Beachouse.
As we threw a few blades of grass in the air to determine the wind direction and the best course of our play, we couldn’t help but be reminded of the hazy twilight on the fifteenth fairway and smooth greens of the famous St Andrews Golf Course that has played host to so many pro golfers before us.
OK, I’m kidding.
But with a fresh look and a whole lot of new obstacles, the mini golf course at The Beachouse is absolutely on par (….geddit?) with, at the very least, the top putt putt golf courses in SA.
While the doors of The Beachouse were closed, the team were hard at work upgrading the course, and it shows.
With the surface stripped back, new greens installed (smooth enough to allow for several holes in one from my little people and even one from me – a minor miracle!), upgraded landscape gardens (the place is a succulent heaven now!) the course is looking beauTEEful, there are no ifs, ands or putts about it.
Being school holidays it was fairly busy, but we all know a good game is a fast game (particularly with kids) and despite the amount of people on the course, we had absolutely no waiting around for other people to finish their shots. The course flowed smoothly and easily as the amount of obstacles, and their difficulty level, suit the space and no one was standing around trying to get the ball in the hole on shot after shot or throwing their putter in the ocean through sheer frustration.
Given the competitive nature of my children, this was definitely a win.
With the oversized novelty dynamite casually placed around greens, the course had a distinct old school iconic Looney Tunes vibe about it which my kids and I loved; it felt like we were moments away from seeing the roadrunner whizz past with Wile E Coyote hot on his heels.
It’s a full 18 hole mini golf course which gave the kids enough time to get their eye in and feel like they were improving but it’s not so vast that they felt like by the end of it they were dragging their clubs behind them wishing to finish.
The upgraded mini golf course at The Beachouse definitely get’s the KIDDO big tick and 6 thumbs up of approval from our little golfers.
If you’re keen to try it out yourself, now is a great time to do it as The Beachouse is currently offering an awesome School Holidays mini golf special:
FAMILY MINI GOLF PASS: $30
Includes 18 holes of Mini Golf for 4x people!
To take advantage of this special offer plus heaps more, head to The Beachouse website and download their School Holiday Vouchers at:
Part of the littlest KIDDO crew had the exciting pleasure of heading to Funtopia Prospect during the July school holidays to join in the fun at a friend’s birthday party. And let me tell you, there’s no better time to be turning 6 now that Funtopia Prospect is here and open for the most fun filled awesome time imaginable for little people!
Given their age and height, our mini party goers spent their two hours powering through Playground World, and it sure as heck didn’t disappoint.
Funtopia’s Playground World offers five levels of fun to explore and is legitimately and officially a boredom free zone.
The colourful indoor adventure playground kept the kids completely joyous and engaged, not to mention sweaty.
Very. Very. Sweaty.
Just a tip for beginners; even if you’re going in winter, I’d suggest giving the kids a T-shirt option under jumpers because long sleeves were firmly pushed up and leggings fashioned into shorts very early in the piece, despite the 12 degree day outside. I’m no rookie parent, but I still managed to make this mistake! The kids weren’t walking, they were running from colour blast of adventure to colour blast of adventure, and if pink little cheeks and hair plastered to foreheads are markers of a good time, then they sure were having it.
The speed slides were a firm favourite, and with a mirror maze, a ball shooting gallery and beginning climbing walls, accompanying parents basically didn’t see our kids the entire time (Hooray! – did I say that?), save for the occasional sweaty blur whizzing past yelling “WATCH THIS MUMMY”.
Funtopia is also a haven for older kiddos, offering awesome kid themed indoor climbing at its absolute best!
Our little people were just that little bit TOO little to brave the climbing wall, but I can tell you this place is the BUSINESS.
Kiddos can climb the burning building and put out the fires as they go or use the grips on the labyrinth and climb the puzzle. My personal favourite was Jack’s beanstalk just for the sheer storybook of it all, and I know my competitive older kids would have loved racing each other on the speed wall.
For $2 a ride, kids could also jump on the mini dodgems and go for a burn around the track. This gave me a hilariously horrifying glimpse into my future with my lead footed daughter, who thankfully still has a decade before she’ll be able to get a real license. This was great practise and awesome fun, and the first time she’s been able to drive a dodgem without an adult in the passenger seat so she loved it.
And of course… Coffee!
I’m going to call it, Mr Spriggin’s Cafe at Funtopia Prospect served me the best coffee I’ve EVER had at an indoor play centre. And that’s high praise coming from me. The cafe seating area also has large overhead heating installed so you won’t freeze to death while the kids are busy bouncing around in the play area.
If I can have a couple of hours break from entertaining my kids AND have a good coffee, then you’ll have my vote every time!