11 TV-Themed LEGO Sets to Entertain You When the Cable's Out

Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

LEGO has been around since 1949, and in that time has released some incredible tributes to pop culture. Here are 11 great ways to incorporate your favorite television characters into your building sessions.

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1. THE SIMPSONS; FROM $308.90

 LEGO Simpsons House
Amazon

You probably can’t rebuild the whole town of Springfield (without a lot of creativity and resources, at least) but you can bring the Kwik-E-Mart and the Simpsons’ iconic home to life with official LEGO sets. If you do decide to create the whole town, LEGO also sells minifigs of all your favorite characters.

Buy on Amazon

2. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES; $95


You can’t take down Splinter without the right set of wheels. This turtle van will get Raphael and Michelangelo to the scene of the crime in no time. Donatello and Leonardo are sold separately, but you’ll at least have Vern there to film the action.

Buy on Amazon

3. THE BIG BANG THEORY; $59.99


Thanks to LEGO Ideas, fans have the opportunity to design and suggest different sets for the company to produce. One submission that made it all the way is Leonard and Sheldon's living room from The Big Bang Theory. Some fun details include Chinese takeout, the instrument panel, and a white board you can play Pictionary on. There are seven minifigs included, so you can probably act out almost any episode with your kit.

Buy on Amazon

4. MICKEY MOUSE; $184.99


Mickey Mouse has had a ton of careers over the years, so I guess it makes sense for him to be a mechanic. This set was released in 2000, and at the time cost $20. Today, it’s something of a collector’s item and costs anywhere from $75 to $400.

Buy on Amazon

5. JUSTICE LEAGUE; $104.75


LEGO has a number of sets that include characters from DC Comics, so it’s easy to recreate all your favorite Justice League moments. In this set, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash can save an innocent truck driver from Captain Cold and Gorilla Grodd. Wonder Woman’s ship might not truly be invisible, but at least it’s see-through.

Buy on Amazon

6. SCOOBY-DOO; $61.99


Scooby and the gang need their iconic Mystery Machine if they ever want to get to their next haunted location. The set comes with a zombie, spooky tree, and sandwich—the makings of a good mystery. But Velma and Daphne are unfortunately absent from the kit, so don’t expect it to be solved anytime soon.

Buy on Amazon

7. AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER; $389.99


Viewers of the Nickelodeon cartoon know that Prince Zuko never manages to catch Aang in the show, but when recreated with LEGO pieces, anything can happen; build Zuko’s ship and decide on your own ending. The 722-piece set comes with Aang, Katara, Prince Zuko, a firebender, and a fire nation soldier to help you set up endless scenes of cat and mouse.

Buy on Amazon

8. SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS; $99.87


Ever want to run your own underwater fast food joint? Now you can, and SpongeBob’s your trusty fry-cook. The only thing you need to watch out for is one of Plankton’s crazy schemes to get the secret formula; the set comes with two different robotic minions, so Mr. Krabs has his work cut out for him.

Buy on Amazon

9. SPEED RACER; $47.85

Build and race the Mach 5 and Snake Oiler cars that were featured in the Casa Cristo Classic cross-country road rally. The race might be a close one—there’s no Spritle Racer or Chim Chim in the truck to help.

Buy on BrickLink

10. DOCTOR WHO; $69.99

LEGO Ideas Doctor Who Kit
Amazon

Designed by a fan named Andrew Clark, this set is comprised of a TARDIS and console room. It features the Eleventh Doctor and the Twelfth Doctor, so he can regenerate before your eyes. Clara Oswald, a Weeping Angel, and two Daleks are on board too.

Buy on Amazon

11. LONE RANGER; $47.85


The Lone Ranger has starred in every medium of entertainment, from radio to international movie. Now you can create your own adventures using this LEGO set, that is technically based off the Disney movie from 2013. It comes with the Lone Ranger’s trusty steed, Silver, and three cavalry soldiers to battle.

Buy on Amazon

This Indoor Herb Garden Monitors Your Plants' Health, Sends Alerts to Your Phone, and Even Recommends Recipes

If your plants are low on water, this herb garden from GardenByte will send an alert right to your phone.
If your plants are low on water, this herb garden from GardenByte will send an alert right to your phone.
GardenByte

Having fresh herbs on hand is a great way to liven up just about any meal. But if you’ve ever attempted to grow them yourself, you may find that keeping these potted plants alive is like having a second job.

But GardenByte is looking to take the guesswork and hassle out of growing herbs with a new smart indoor planter that connects to an app on your phone to help you through the entire growing process. And until April 22, you can back the project on Kickstarter.

Using the herb garden is easy: Simply drop one of the 50 pre-seeded pods into the planter’s grid tray, add water, and the planter, which is equipped with built-in computer sensors, will take care of the rest. Throughout the day, the powerful LED lights on the hydroponic planter simulate the sun to help optimize growth, while at night the planter uses softer light to mimic the moon.

Once planted, the indoor garden's sensors help monitor the environment for water levels and other necessities. If there are any issues—like sudden changes in room temperature, a low water supply, or a nutrient imbalance—you’ll get a notification through the app. Up to 39 different plants can be placed in the garden at one time, including greens, vine vegetables, and more.

The GardenByte app also lets you know when it's time to harvest your plants and will even suggest recipes that complement your assortment. If you're out of town, setting the garden to "vacation mode" on the app will automatically slow down the plants' growth and maintain progress while you're gone.

You can head here to get your own indoor garden, starting at $1299. The campaign is open until April 22.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

10 New Skills You Can Learn at Home

Ridofranz/ iStock via Getty Images Plus
Ridofranz/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

Whether you're looking to give your career a boost or simply want to enrich your life a bit, the easiest place to start is by learning a new skill. And with the recent boom in online courses, it's never been easier to add a new line to your resume without even leaving your home. Check out these convenient courses you can take from Rosetta Stone, Udemy, Coursera, and edX.

1. The Science of Well-Being; $49/month

Taught by Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos, this course is all about building up productive habits that can lead to positive changes in life, while pointing out the self-sabotaging thoughts that can sometimes get in the way. By learning about the science behind how we perceive happiness and our own well-being, this course aims to build a better, more informed mindset to help you reach your goals. The individual courses are technically free, but if you want a certificate at the end, you'll have to pay for Coursera's $49-per-month plan.

Buy it: Coursera

2. Writing Short Stories: The Essential Guide; $19-$95

Writing a short story is about more than just coming up with a plot and some characters—if you want to sell it, you need to understand the literary marketplace and how to properly pitch to an editor. The on-demand videos and downloadable resources offered by this course guide you through writing fundamentals like tone, tense, and proper endings, as well as the realities of the business, such as payments and, perhaps most importantly, dealing with rejection.

Buy it: Udemy

3. Complete Guitar System: Beginner to Advanced; $30-$200

This course is led by Erich Andreas, who has over 30 years of experience teaching guitar lessons. The class features over 300 lectures, 34 hours of video, and over 100 downloadable resources to help you learn step-by-step methods for mastering chords, songs, scales, and much more.

Buy it: Udemy

4. Introduction to Python Programming; $396

Python is one of the world's most widely used computer programming languages, and this self-paced certification will teach the basics with no experience required. Estimated to take about five months, these classes cover the fundamentals of the Python world, like code writing and revisions. As the classes grow more complex, you'll learn about advanced control structures, data structures, and algorithms. It's the most intense certificate on this list, but with the robust job market available to computer programmers, these skills may prove to be invaluable.

Buy it: edX

5. Learn a New Language; $79-$300

Rosetta Stone's language-learning software allows you to take classes in Spanish, German, Italian, and plenty more, on your own time and on whatever device you want. With interactive exercises, games, and stories to read, this is a great way to take language classes while still keeping your busy work and social schedule intact. The cost varies based on your subscription preference, and you can check out the updated pricing options here.

Buy it: Rosetta Stone

6. Introduction to Self-Determination Theory; $49/month

Like anything else, self-determination is a skill that you can learn and perfect with the right practice. This course will go into the science of motivation and psychological development and explore how both of those aspects are influenced by those around you. From there, you’ll learn how to practically apply self-determination to your education, work, and much more.

Buy it: Coursera

7. G Suite Administrator Fundamentals; $49/month

Google's cloud technology and digital services are becoming a vital tool in business, and with this course, you'll learn how to manage the complete offerings of the company's G Suite, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, and more. But you'll learn more than just how to use each one; this certificate is all about becoming a G Suite administrator for large groups. So you'll learn how to create and delete accounts on custom domains, how to manage those accounts, how to spot potential security breaches, and the best way to use all of these tools for your particular business or project. The course itself is offered by Google, and you can take it at your own pace on whatever device you wish. With four classes total, as well as a hands-on project, the G Suite Administrator Fundamentals certificate should take around a month or so to complete.

Buy it: Coursera

8. Essential Cooking Skills; $19-$45

Cooking at home helps save money and can lead to better nutritional choices, but first, you'll need the right set of skills. In this series of courses, you'll get instructions on culinary foundations, like blanching vegetables, making stock, perfecting an omelet, and more. Once you've built up this body of basic knowledge, you can combine it all to give your homemade dinners a bit more flair.

Buy it: Udemy

9. Fundamentals of Graphic Design; Free

Taught by Michael Worthington, a founding partner of Counterspace and a graphic design professor at the California Institute of the Arts, this course is a deep dive into the fundamentals of design. Students will cover concepts like patterns, colors, and typography over the four weeks that it typically takes to complete the course. When you’re finished, you’ll walk away with a new set of skills for your own future projects. It’s free to enroll, but if you want to be able to share the certificate at the end, you’ll have to join Coursera’s $49/month plan.

Buy it: Coursera

10. Learning How to Learn; Free

In this course, you'll learn about, well, learning, in order to actually understand how the brain takes in “chunks” of information in a variety of subjects like art, music, math, and many more. It also covers the misconceptions we have about memory, the best practices to master particularly difficult subjects, and even gives you tips for dealing with procrastination. It’s free to enroll, but you’ll need to sign up for the $49/month plan for a shareable certificate.

Buy it: Coursera

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

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