Smart Mom’s Toy Box: August 2015
Brain training experts Ken Gibson and Tanya Mitchell have created a list of toys, games, and activities that support healthy cognitive development. “We want to give parents practical tips they can use to make savvy buying decisions,” Gibson explains. “Science continues to provide insights into how plastic our brains really are, and there’s absolutely no reason not to use that characteristic to help our kids experience more success in school and in life.”
“A parent whose child has Attention Deficit Disorder, for example, can purchase toys that improve attention,” explains Mitchell. “Likewise, a child who struggles with reading can benefit from games that practice sound-blending and segmenting.” Gibson is the founder of national brain training franchise LearningRx, and the coauthor of “Unlock the Einstein Inside: Applying New Brain Science to Wake Up the Smart in Your Child” with Mitchell.
Things to Keep in Mind
- A smart toy box will stimulate the brain in ways that support core cognitive skills (read definitions here).
- Parents can help their kids get smarter at any age.
- Brain research shows that the brain continues to grow throughout life.
- Children who are already good learners will do even better in school with stronger cognitive skills.
- Parents should take 30 minutes three times per week to focus on developing strong cognitive skills in their children.
- One way to strengthen cognitive skills is to use fun, game-like activities.
- How important are strong cognitive skills? Research shows that 88% of all reading struggles are the result of a single weak cognitive skill.
By this point in the summer, it’s likely that moms and dads around the country have heard their fair share of “I’m bored!”s and “what can we do now?”s. Check out these games from Marbles the Brain Store that are sure to bust the boredom and get you through the summer!
There’s nothing like a beach day. The sun on your face, your toes in the sand; now you can bring beachy AND brainy fun to your home! Introducing Gray Matter, the non-Newtonian fluid that will befuzzle and inspire creativity in brainiacs of all ages. Gray Matter is an incredible feat of science of antibacterial and non-toxic, super lightweight building sand. You can shape it and mold it to your heart’s content because it never dries out! It even sticks to itself without it being sticky which means your carpet and furniture are safe from any unwanted crusty spots. Build the sand castles you always dreamed of. Roll it into spongy cannon balls as extra ammunition for your da Vinci’s Catapult or Trebuchet. There are numerous fun and interesting ways to play! So, lay out the beach towel, apply the sunscreen, and put on your thinking caps; Gray Matter is here to brighten up your day. It’s beachy keen! The Gray Matter Maker Kit also includes a pedal and brick roller with interchangeable handles, two sand sculpting tools, and one sandbox tray. Engage and develop fine motor skills and spatial intelligence as you build new shapes out of the special molding sand.
The world of engineering is calling. And you can make your kids listen with the Hydraulic Robotic Arm. Constructed from sturdy, die-cut plywood with an MDF base, this do-it-yourself 3D model takes about an hour to assemble and makes it fun to learn about robotics, levers, fluid dynamics and engineering principles. When assembled, it rotates 90 degrees, stands 34 cm high and has arms that stretch 41 cm. The best part? The Hydraulic Robot Arm can pick up and move small objects, which will keep your budding engineer mesmerized for hours. Kids will learn basic principles of physics while engaging fine motor skills of the motor cortex in order to build an awesome machine. Package includes all pieces necessary to build the robotic arm. You’ll just need a ruler and scissors to complete the project!
Explore the chemistry-based wonders of slime and gels with this Polymer Goo Kit. Conduct experiments to make your own blood clots, tadpole soup, and ghostly eyeballs! This handy kit comes with everything you need inside, (including safety goggles), so you’ll never be without fun and protection. Pick up this handy set to bust boredom and satisfy the curiosity of your little Mad Scientists. The Polymer Goo Kit includes 7 goopy experiments! This set of chemistry experiments will exercise the prefrontal cortex as you hold detailed instructions in your short-term memory, as well as fine motor skills to carry out precise measurements.
Get ready to launch yourself into some serious fun with this Super-Elastic Colliders Kit! Mold crystallizing polymers into bouncy balls to explore Newtonian physics to launch balls over 8 ft! Everything necessary is included in the box, (especially safety goggles), so you’ll be able to instantly start creating your own bouncy balls! The Super-Elastic Colliders Kit gives you hours of scientific fun and a long-lasting bouncing trophy when you’re all finished. This set of experiments will exercise the prefrontal cortex as you hold detailed instructions in your short-term memory.
Get ready for your mind to explode with this set of Volcanic experiments! Use the Double Volcano Island and Lava Bomb molds to turn minerals and gases into fizzing reactions and magma mayhem. The kit includes everything you need to be fun and safe as you conduct the experiments. Get your mind and hands busy for those with scientific inclinations!