Smart Mom’s Toy Box: July 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.
Games for your summer vacation
Whatever you’ve got planned this summer, you’re sure to find the perfect game in this list. We’ve rounded up all the best games for the beach, the car, the campsite, the hotel, or even your own backyard.
This take-anywhere trivia countdown game tests your knowledge under pressure as you learn fun tidbits of information related to each question. The object of Kwizniac is to accumulate the most points by answering as many trivia questions as possible. Unlike most trivia games that give just one piece of information about a subject, Kwizniac offers a more in-depth trivia experience with a set of 10 clues in decreasing order of difficulty. The more clues it takes to answer the question, the less points you receive. Kwizniac activates the brain’s hippocampus, the memory center of your brain, to train you to think creatively.
Hide and Seek, Egg Hunts, Scavenger Hunts…humans like to find stuff! The thrill of the hunt, the joy of the find, there’s something that always keeps us going back for more. With Find It Dinosaurs, players are tasked to find hidden dinosaur-themed objects buried within the filled cylinder. Great to play solo or with a group! It’s even perfect to keep the kids busy during long car rides. The hunt is on, will you come out on top? You’ll test your visual acuity and pattern recognition as you search for tiny dinosaurs hidden in pellets.
HOW TO STAY ALIVE IN THE WOODS is a practical, readable-and potentially indispensable-manual for anyone venturing into the great outdoors. Broken down into four essential sections, Sustenance, Warmth, Orientation and Safety, this enlightening guide reveals how to catch game without a gun, what plants to eat (full-color illustrations of these make identification simple), how to build a warm shelter, make clothing, protect yourself and signal for help. Detailed illustrations and expanded instructions, newly commissioned for this deluxe edition, offer crucial information at a glance, making How to Stay Alive in the Woods truly a lifesaver.
We’re all lovers of lists. There’s something incredibly satisfying about seeing our to-do’s, favorite things, or bucket lists compiled into a handy list. Let us introduce list-y magic into your playtime with Read My List, an organized and categorical party game! Choose a level, listen to a list, remember what you heard, then think quick! Win points for naming things missing from the list, identifying their category, or being the last player standing in a lightning round. Guess incorrectly, get stumped, or name something that was on the list and you’re out! Categorical thinking depends upon the language regions of the brain (primarily Wernicke’s area). This game will test how quickly you can categorize a list of items.
Beach volleyball was once reserved for shirtless dudes and bikini-clad babes who had the foresight to reserve the net or the patience to wait their turn. You, sadly, have neither. And really, who could blame you for not planning ahead for what was supposed to be a laidback day at the beach anyway? Good thing there’s Spikeball, a portable, no-reservations-required game that’s akin to volleyball. In Spikeball, the net is more like a small trampoline that’s placed between two teams of two. Just hit the ball on the net so it bounces up to your opponents who have three chances to bounce it back to you. Includes Spikeball net, carrying bag, an
d 3 balls for tons of fun. Brain areas important for motor function and hand-eye coordination are highly engaged when you play Spikeball.
6. Ballo Green
Ballo is the smartest water bucket around! With its sturdy, round design and top hole, it makes it easier than ever for your child to scoop up the ocean and take it with them. The sleek design ensures your beachy architect will carry water with ease from sea to sand castle! And as a bonus, it’s also great in the bathtub!