Mary Briseno

THE POCKET CALCULATOR

• Aids in visual cognition
• Refines logic skills
• Helps enhance technical knowledge
• “fact check” accuracy for mental validation

Pocket calculators are a great tool that assist children in school every day. Unlike cellphones or computer calculators, a pocket calculator will not distract children from school work. An advantage of the pocket calculator is the design simplicity – there are no additional applications on the device. A calculator is largely used with the intention to be a shortcut to mathematical procedures such as multiplication or division. However, children who are learning these concepts should do most of their work mentally or by paper, so they can properly learn and practice. In these instances, calculators should be used primarily only as an assurance that mental calculations are correct.

The calculator also serves as a helpful visual aid  when learning difficult equations. They can be used as tools to explain abstract concepts or long calculations. A child will have a better understanding of this information by physically punching in these calculations, rather than if he or she were to do it by hand. This hands-on style of learning is more effective than visual aids because it requires physical practice and engagement. While calculators do not replace knowing basic equations, they are great for teaching children how to learn and apply certain concepts that will arise in real-life situations, such as calculating percentages.

Studies have shown that when children use calculators, things like spatial visualization skills, critical thinking ability, and logic skills will all improve. A child that is proficient in basic math can then apply this knowledge to the calculator to help solve more complicated problems. In subjects such as Algebra and Calculus, children benefit from these types of calculators, as the focus in these subjects is on the formulas, rather than the number calculation. This simple device is a very valuable education tool that streamlines the process when learning to advance through more complicated math concepts.

SPLITTING IMAGE

• Helps engage in problem solving
• Reduces stress
• Promotes critical thinking and creativity

Brainteaser games help to improve critical thinking skills. The problem-solving aspect keeps the player engrossed, while the level of difficulty in the game or puzzle will challenge and build on previously learned skills. A game like Splitting Image employs critical thinking skills through the design patterns on the cards. Each pattern is unique, so the child has to assess each card and learn to use the mirror as a tool. The patterns are visually pleasing which stimulates the brain as well. Splitting Image can boost creativity and challenge players to use new ways of thinking.

Brainteasers are a fun and rewarding way to pass the time or combat boredom. These are a popular choice with teachers and students to break up the school day with something fun that is also educational. Being able to disconnect and solve tangible problems in the form of puzzles and games is an excellent way to reduce stress as well. Unlike other activities like video games texting, or using social media, playing games such as Splitting Image keeps the mind active. Studies have shown that after playing with mental games, children are relaxed and more able to focus on the task at hand. Whether in a classroom or at home, brainteasers make learning exciting.

SPIN AND LEARN COLOR FLASHLIGHT

• Motor skills
• Learning numbers and colors
• Imagination

Children at an early age are very receptive to sounds and colors. Incorporating these things into learning tools are a great way to take that curiosity and focus it on learning. The types of toys we give children to play with can have profound influence on the way that they learn skills. Many types of toys for young children can be used as a way to jump start education.  One good example of these educational toys is the Spin and Learn Color Flashlight. Toddlers will have fun listening to music and animal sounds while interacting with the lights and colors of the flashlight. Numbers, colors, and animals are repeated through different games on the Spin and Learn Color Flashlight. The repetitive nature of the themes and activities helps children learn numbers and colors in a fun and engaging way. Toys using sound and lights to stimulate learning through the senses are likely to be the ones found most appealing to toddlers and young children.

The flashlight has different buttons and switches with different activities that will provoke curiosity. Playing with this toy enhances motor skills through different types of touch for every learning activity. The toy has a special button in the shape of a ladybug, which when pushed, also encourages movement as well. The buttons are designed to do different things depending on how many times or how hard they are pushed. For example, number buttons on the flashlight have two functions. One press will activate the numbers and two times will play music. Children who play with this will start to learn these push patterns and learn how to remember which features to activate.

The functions of the Spin and Learn Color Flashlight encourage toddlers to use their imagination. Versatile toys with multiple features and options such as this flashlight are great for encouraging imagination and creativity. Toddlers and young children will enjoy hours playing with these types of toys that cultivate knowledge and help shape and exercise their developing senses.

THE GAME AWKWARD MOMENT

• Increases critical thinking and logic
• Improve memory cognition
• Helps improve concentration
• Improves social interaction

Is everyone in separate rooms playing video games or watching TV right now? If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Technology has drastically changed the way we spend our free time. The rise of social media, video games, and TV apps means people are spending more time on these socially isolating activities than ever. Game nights used to be a popular choice for people to relax and have fun while spending quality time together. With recent studies being published about the negative effects of screen-based activities like social media, people have recently shown more interest in going back to some of the more “old fashioned” activities that used to make us happy. Gathering friends or family for a board game night is a great option for catching back up on some of the quality time that might have gone missing. Many board games, such as the game Awkward Moment, also offer benefits that might be unexpected at first glance. Board games are created for entertainment by design, but they can also give players the chance to learn and practice many different useful life-skills. Activities like this that require us to use our brains are ultimately better for us overall than relying on passive entertainment like TV.

The game Awkward Moment is created to reflect real-life situations that anyone could encounter day to day. In the game, players analyze the ‘awkward moment’ card being played and pick the best reaction card, according to the instructions of the ‘decider’ card. A new ‘decider’ is picked for every round. The ‘decider’ card may say that best answer is to pick sometime like “what a teacher would expect you to do” or “the silliest thing you could do”, in response to the chosen ‘awkward moment’ card. The player who has been designated as the ‘decider’ will determine the best reaction card for the awkward moment and the player with the winning reaction card earns a point. This game is great for people of all ages and gives everyone an opportunity to be creative. Since Awkward Moment is a strategy game, there is critical thinking and logic involved during play.

Board games that require strategy such as Awkward Moment can be especially beneficial for children. Playing these types of games requires the use of many critical thinking skills such as deductive reasoning, pattern spotting, and logical decision-making. By practicing these skills through games, children will have an easier time making connections that will enable them to apply this knowledge in school. Another benefit of Awkward Moment is that it will improve concentration skills. Players must be focused on the situation at hand to win points that will win the game. It has different levels of difficulty, so parents are able to engage children at an appropriate level. The game can also be played using different variations – for instance, players can do things such as create their own awkward stories, act out the reaction cards. Switching up the rules of the game a little will make it fresh and exciting to play over and over.

Training the brain through board games is a fun way for children to develop and apply their cognitive skills in an entertaining environment.  Awkward Moment is a great way for players to share learned experiences, recollect old stories, and give children experience in thinking about all different types of situations. Regardless of the age, it is a game that incites growth and learning. Children and parents alike can both enjoy being in an Awkward Moment!

Spy Alley

• Develop logic and reasoning skills
• Memory formation and problem solving
• Practice interpersonal skills

There are many types of board games that serve educational purpose. Educators and parents add these games to their lessons or at playtime to help children practice cognitive skills such as reasoning and logical thinking. Playing to develop logical and reasoning skills is a way to keep children invested in learning. Spy Alley is one of these board games that makes learning fun by taking different elements of other types of games and combining them into one. Like many other similar board games, Spy Alley is rolling dice move game however it has guessing feature and a money component. Helping children to exercise their logic thinking skills by deducting the other players spy identities before they collect all their items. Basing their reasoning off the players purchases.

Another benefit of board games such as Spy Alley and similar games is that it puts into practice problem solving skills. Players have to be careful in disguising their spy identities when they purchase items off the board. Creating strategies as bluffing tactics or using mystery cards. Analyzing the items other players buy as tale signs of their spy identities to win the game. Also, it is good way to exercise the mind. Thinking about their and other players moves also helps to build memory retention. Stacking up the clues, players have to memorize their identity cards making sure to guess right so they don’t get eliminated. A child is using their minds to remember, decipher, create strategies, and manage their spending while playing which skills will be later be handy to have for real life situations.

Board games may seem like an unconventional learning tool, but it is a compelling way to develop and grow. Teaching children life lessons that go beyond the lesson plan. Children exercise interpersonal skills by learning to read facial expressions. Requiring players to use their observational and communication skills the game. Board games offer opportunities to build up their social skills. Children not only learn to bluff but also how to work together and wait for their turns. Spy Alley and similar games are a fun way to put these skills into practice. Being mischievous and doing some friendly banter it is a good way to exercise the mind without the pressures or stress of homework. Spy Alley and other board games alike are fun activity to bring everyone together for friendly competition and having a good time.

APPLES TO APPLES CARD GAME

• Improves logic skills
• Increases memory cognition
• Refine social skills in a group environment
• Improves creativity

Card games are a great way to help us connect with family and friends and opens the door to countless hours of entertainment. Aside from being used as a fun way to socialize and pass the time, there are other benefits to playing cards worth keeping in mind. Games like Apples to Apples are an immersive way to help players improve cognition by practicing skills like logic and memory retention. They also offer a way for children to develop healthy social skills. Social interaction is a huge advantage that classic card games have over more technology-based activities that have recently become so popular.

When playing Apples to Apples, players are dealt seven red cards that each have a noun on it. Every round, a green card will be drawn that lists some sort of characteristic. Players will choose which card from their hand they think most closely relates to the green card. The chosen cards are given anonymously to the judge, who determines the round winner. Players rotate into the role of the judge with each round. Choosing which card to lay down each round is a practice in logic and critical-thinking. A unique aspect of the game is how winners are determined — since the role of the judge changes every round and he or she chooses a winner subjectively, knowing your audience is an important component. Players who use observation and memory skills to recognize patterns will have an advantage in predicting which card a judge might choose. This also encourages players to think outside the box and get creative when choosing cards.

Apples to Apples is great to play in just about any social setting. The nature of the game makes it an especially good breaker when making new friends or getting to know peers and classmates. Learning effective communication and building social bonds is essential for children in order to develop confidence and skills that can be applied in many aspects of life, from school to future employment and beyond.

iTrax

• Develop critical thinking
• Foster Problem solving and strategic thinking
• Enhance concentration and memory skills

Games are a fun way to test one’s cognitive skills. Breaking away from the traditional way of learning, games bring excitement and challenge the brain to think outside the box. Keeping the mind active and sharp. Educators and parents integrate these games into their lessons or breaks to make the class more entertaining. Board games such as iTrax are designed to help workout the critical thinking skills in a fun way. iTrax like other similar games is a matching game that challenges the players to find the connection of two blocks in a maze and replicate it. Analyzing the bigger picture to get the solution before the other players. Children get a kick out these brain teasers by competing with one another to see who can solve the problem the fastest.

Another benefit of these types of games is that it helps boost concentration. Players focus all their attention to the maze searching for the connection. In iTrax, the players asses each card and place the lines and squares accordingly and as quickly as possible. Depending on the level of difficulty some mazes may require more time than others. Children need concentration skills to apply it to their studies. Helping them be attentive to what they read and hear to process it and come up with answers. Also, games like iTrax can enhance memory skills by observing and copying figures and patterns. Children get to memorize complicated patterns in short time which can help them practice memorization techniques for studying. Making it a fun way to expand the short-term memory.

iTrax and similar board games present different problems and challenges that cut loose from the textbook exercises. With three difficulty levels, iTrax is fun way to engage in problem solving and strategic thinking. Enhancing creative problem solutions, players are faced with unusual challenges prompting to think differently. Players can come up with different strategies to recreate the maze depending on the difficulty level. Children have fun solving the mazes and completing the challenges. Helping them to enjoy exercising their thinking skills. Games and brain teasers such as iTrax are a fun time anywhere and at any time. They foster players to work on their cognitive skills in a fun way that everyone can enjoy.

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWIMMING

• Swimming is not only fun, but it’s a great way to keep fit
• Swimming is low-impact and has many physical and mental health benefits
• Builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular rigidity
• Swimming is a healthy activity that you can do for your entire life

Swimming is an excellent recreational activity for people of all ages. Recreational swimming not only provides a low-impact workout, but it’s also a good way to relax and de-stress. Common swimming styles in recreational swimming are the dog paddle, the breaststroke, the backstroke, sidestroke, etc.

Swimming is an excellent way to workout your entire body, as well as strengthen your cardiovascular system. It is said that an hour of swimming burns almost as many calories as running, without all the negative impact on your bones and joints.

Some people who enjoy and show aptitude at swimming may be inclined to take it to a competitive level. This can provide the health benefits of a more intense workout, as well as the fun and thrill of competition and comradery. Some of the competitive swimming styles commonly seen are the breaststroke, freestyle, backstroke and butterfly. The distances in a swimming competition can vary from 50 Meters in a pool to much further distances in open bodies of water. Swimming may even help reduce some types of chronic pain or improve your recovery from an injury, when applied correctly. One study showed that people with arthritis reported a significant reduction in joint pain and stiffness, and experienced a better physical range after engaging in activities like swimming.

Swimming may even have a beneficial effect and improve your recovery from mental  injury, and degrading capability. One study evaluated a small group of people with dementia and found a distinct improvement in mood after participating in a 12-week structured aquatic program. Swimming and aquatic workouts aren’t just for people with dementia, of course. Exercise has been shown to boost mood in people straight across the board and is highly recommended as a great healthy pastime in moderation.

A couple things to note: It’s a good idea to warm up by stretching your muscles and bending joints before you enter the water.  Also, remember not to over do it if you’re just starting out!

Chickapig

• Develop critical thinking
• Exercise strategic thinking
• Stress relief
• Build social skills

Friday nights, weekday afternoons, or Saturday mornings, board games bring fun to every occasion. Even better, board games just like brain teasers are a great way to exercise the mind. With an educational value, board games are a great way for children to develop and practice their cognitive skills. Games such as Chickapig are interesting and fun for adults and children to want play and are designed to keep the mind active while playing. Having a similar concept to the classic game of chest, the goal of Chickapig and similar games is to have your pieces across the other side of the board before the other players facing many challenges along the way. Parents and educators use these types of games to boost a child’s critical thinking skills to later apply in class. Everyone playing is engaging their critical thinking skills competing one with another.

Chickapig and similar strategy board games have many components to the game. In Chickapig, each player has six chicken pig hybrid pieces. There are four colors of chickapig to choose from. The game also has four hay bales per color, a cow piece and eight poop pieces. Just like chess, each piece serves a different purpose and moves differently. Plus, there is die roll and two types of card decks. With many components to the strategy board games, it helps children practice strategic thinking by creating offensive and defensive plays in order to win the game. Strategy games set perfect scenarios to practice planning and decision-making skills. Keeping in mind that they have to move all their pieces to their goals, the players face each other and test their skills. Learning how to use the board and their pieces to their advantage.

Moreover, board games create an atmosphere for socializing. Integrating friendly banter and chitchat to the experience board games such Chickapig are fun way to relax and have a few laughs. It helps relief some of the stress and worries of the day. Assisting children in creating spaces for communication Chilckapig and similar strategy game help the players build up their social skills. Players can team up to defeat the players that face the opposite of the board. Practicing teamwork, a child learns how to interact in group settings. Children get exposed to different group exercises that can be applied to real life situations. Chickapig and other board games alike help break from the routine and let loose. Making the most fun out of strategies revolving cow poop.

THE BENEFITS OF PLAYING MAGNA TILES

• Promotes critical thinking
• Imaginative play
• Engages problem solving
• Develops cognitive abilities
• Pattern distinguishing

As children develop their ability to create, play, and imagine, it is important to nurture those qualities in a fun and scholastic way. Engaging your toddler with toys that encourage them to think, solve and construct their ideas into reality is an effective method to accomplish this while embracing a fun and healthy environment.  Being able to take control and make decisions based on what the child’s imagination wants to create is just the start to what can be an efficient way to build cognitive abilities.

Magna Tiles give children the chance to imagine, plan, create, and express themselves in a creative and educational way.  At its most basic level, each tile connects to each other, forming a pattern or a shape, but it is important to distinguish what benefits it provides as well.  When playing with a toy such as Magna Tiles, a toddler’s imagination increases and opens the door to the many combinations of shapes and sizes they can form.  For each design that pops into their mind, there is a pattern of tiles that can make that a reality.  Alongside this, they get a taste of problem solving whenever they have to think through which tile to use to get them to their desired creation.  This promotes critical abilities of logicing through problems, aiding in cognitive improvement and the practice of essential motor skills.

Being creative is not only fun, but it inspires toddlers to concentrate on an idea and to establish hand eye coordination through play.  Critical thinking with imaginative play is a great way to improve skills for further use at school and life in general.  It gives children the chance to independently make decisions that can lead to confidence building and healthy social skills.  Being able to provide children fun and efficient ways to learn and grow is always a parent’s goal and Magna Tiles is a great fun option to help them achieve it.