Mary Briseno

THE WORD GAME SCRABBLE

  • Teaches vocabulary
  • Improves memory retention
  • Teaches creative problem solving
  • Helps improve concentration

The board game Scrabble is designed to challenge your mind to come up with different words, using only certain letters provided to you. This classic game combines the mechanics of a word puzzle and a board game, resulting in a challenging and entertaining activity that people of all ages can enjoy. Playing Scrabble creates a healthy competitive environment that will require players to use problem solving, memory retention skills and concentration. 

Players are provided with a number of letters and are tasked with creating words on the board using only the letters they are given and what is already up on the board. The game emphasizes vocabulary and will challenge players to use memory and think creatively in order to come up with words that will fit on the board with their letters. The competitive nature of the game will encourage players to use problem solving and logic in order to navigate the board and come up with words in order to win the game.

 Scrabble will lead to increased concentration while players are focused at achieving the task at hand. Players will use strategic thinking throughout the game to come up with best possible moves, as their letter options evolve and the board starts to fill up. This game will build confidence in using these skills for tasks other than just game play as well. Board games have been found to be excellent tools for healthy socialization, and Scrabble is no exception, which make it an excellent choice for a game that is both entertaining and beneficial in many ways.

THE GAME OF CHECKERS

  • Improve logic skills
  • Teaches Creative Problem Solving
  • Helps improve concentration
  • It exercises both sides of the brain

Checkers is a classic board game that never goes out of style. The rules are easy to follow and it’s a great activity for passing time. Aside from being simple to learn and fun to play, Checkers and other similar board games can help children learn valuable skills, like task-specific focus, problem-solving, and logic. Introducing Checkers to a child from a young age improves concentration and these benefits will carry over onto many different aspects of life, from school and beyond. Players must use strategy to execute moves while also paying attention to their opponent. Winning the game requires logic and concentration in order to analyze the board and predict possible outcomes.

Strategy games like Checkers are an exercise for the brain – in fact, it requires players to use both sides of their brain at once. While one side of the brain is working to visualize the board and possible moves, the other carries out strategy and calculates how the opponent will move. Checkers and other similar board games have been proven to help develop young minds and sharpen old ones. Players must process information quickly then make choices using reason and creativity. In the same way that physical training promotes strength and wellness, working out both side of the brain contributes to an active and healthy mind.

Helping children learn effective problem-solving is most impactful with real life experiences. The ability to teach through play is what makes Checkers and other strategy games a valuable teaching tool. Overcoming the challenges on the board will encourage confidence in using the skills it takes to play, making it easier to apply this knowledge in situations well beyond game play.

THE ART OF ORIGAMI

  • Improves fine motor skills and brain development
  • Helps improve problem solving and logic
  • Exercises both sides of the brain
  • Improves concentration and spatial awareness

Origami from ori meaning “folding”, and kami meaning “paper” (kami changes to gami due to rendaku) is the intricate art of paper folding, which is often associated with Japanese culture. In modern usage, the word “origami” has expanded to be an inclusive term for all folding practices, regardless of their culture of origin. The goal is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques, like the famous paper crane.

Modern origami practitioners generally discourage the use of cuts, glue, or markings on the paper as it is considered against the art and skill traditionally developed. Origami folders often use the Japanese word kirigami to refer to designs which use cuts, differentiating it from the more classical approach.

Origami has been shown to improve spatial visualization skills by using hands-on learning. Such skills allow people to comprehend, characterize, and construct their own vernacular for the world they see around them. You can find origami or geometric shapes everywhere in nature, then being described in geometric terms. Researchers have found that students who use origami perform better in math and logical disciplines. It is potentially an untapped resource for supplementing math instruction, and can be used for geometric construction, determining geometric and algebraic formulas, all while increasing manual dexterity along the way. In addition to strictly mathematical applications, origami is a great way to merge science, technology, engineering, art, and math all in one. You can use origami to determine the area by applying a formula to a real-world situation. It has been found to strengthen an understanding of geometric concepts, formulas, and labels. People love origami, even if they don’t think of it in formal terms, as shown by how we are enamored with first seeing a paper airplane, paper hat, or paper boat. And while we might not always think about it this way, origami surrounds us — from envelopes, paper fans, and shirt folds to brochures and fancy towels. It is all around us.

THE CENTURIES OLD GAME OF MAJONG

  • Aids in visual cognition
  • Improve memory retention
  • Improves social skills
  • Helps improve logic skills

With so many new education tools out there today, options can feel overwhelming when looking for ways to help children learn essential life-skills. Technology has opened up a huge market for electronic devices designed specifically for teaching basic cognitive and motor skills. While tech certainly has its place in education, it’s worth remembering some of the alternatives that have already stood the ultimate test of time. Over the years, many classic puzzles and games have earned their credibility through longevity, proving that newer doesn’t always mean better. Games such as Mahjong are a great example of this – a simple and timeless game that is still wildly popular today, and with good reason. Playing Majong has been proven to help improve memory retention and logic skills.

People of all ages will benefit from games such as Mahjong, as playing these games improves memory retention, cognition, and decision-making using logic. In the game, each player is given fourteen tiles with different symbols that they must memorize. In order to win, strategic decision-making is essential. Players must also analyze their opponents throughout the game in order to anticipate upcoming moves. The objective is to have four of three identical tiles, or three suited ones and one pair. In playing the game, children are exposed to all of these valuable skills, which will be practiced and developed over time and continued play. Majong in particular can also help with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, providing visual stimulation without the need of any electronic device.

Allowing children to develop these skills first-hand through activities like games and puzzles has certain advantages – for instance, it’s easier to develop a skill we’ve already experienced than something that we’ve only read about or watched on a screen. Learning through exposure and play makes it easier to build connections and creatively apply knowledge across many aspects of life. The strategy, memorization, and critical thinking required for Majong will enable both children and adults to exercise these skills in a fun and exciting way.

CAN YOU SOLVE A RUBIX CUBE?

  • Improves logic skills
  • Refine hand-eye coordination
  • Improves memory retention
  • Teaches problem solving

The Rubik’s Cube is a well-known puzzle game that also somehow morphed into a piece of American pop culture. Love it or hate it, the Rubik’s Cube has been around for decades and is here to stay. When this toy was first created, it was marketed as the ‘impossible puzzle’ but is now being used as a tool by educators to teach math and logic stills.

The Rubik’s Cube, like many other puzzles, stimulates a person’s mind. Puzzles require concentration, logical reasoning, and critical-thinking. Regardless of the size of the Rubik’s Cube, the key to solving the puzzle is always the ability to understand the formula. Once that basic formula is mastered, players can start to use a little creativity to come up with other challenging variations of “solving” the puzzle. For instance, an alternative version could include having only the middle square of every side be a different color.

It takes a great deal of concentration, persistence, and patience when solving a Rubik’s Cube. By focusing on finding the pattern in the Rubik’s Cube, players will use this to problem solve and progress through the puzzle. Children will especially benefit from exercising these skills, as they directly translate to more success in school and study.

Another benefit of the Rubik’s Cube is memory retention – solving a Rubik’s Cube successfully involves many, many steps. It’s important to learn and eventually memorize these steps, so that if a mistake is made it will be possible to go back and correct. Since solving a Rubik’s Cube can be so involved, the ability to solve it can actually be a fun party trick as well. Impressing your friends aside, this classic puzzle remains popular because it is an entertaining way to pass the time and improve some important cognitive skills as well.

PAPER TELEPHONE, THE GAME

  • Refine Hand-eye coordination
  • Teaches Creative Problem Solving
  • Improve memory retention
  • Increases logic skills

If asked, most adults could probably recall at least one childhood memory involving the telephone game. Even if not, it’s often portrayed in movies and pop culture as a universal symbol of childhood. Paper Telephone is a fun variation of this classic game that can be also used as an team building exercise or in helping peers get to know one another. The entertainment factor is pretty obvious, but there are some surprising benefits to these games that people don’t always consider. Players must use communication skills and creativity, while practicing problem-solving and logic. Although it’s just a game, it requires children to focus on improving these skills in order to get better at the game.

Playing Paper Telephone offers the opportunity for players to practice effective communication, analysis, and interpretation while also encouraging creativity. As a bonus, the only materials that are required to play are paper and something to write with, so it can be played just about anywhere. Each player is given a piece of paper and a pencil and asked to write out a sentence at the top of the page. This can be anything the player chooses – or if the game is being used to teach a specific subject, it can be customized to fit that theme. Players will then pass their paper over to the player on the right. Then players must illustrate whatever the sentence says. Once everyone is finished drawing, the paper gets folded so the original sentence is hidden and only the drawing is visible, and then passed to the right again. Players must then analyze the drawing on the paper and write their best interpretation of the picture out into a sentence. These steps get repeated, alternating between writing and drawing, until the paper is filled.

Paper telephone is a bit different from other games in that there is no winner declared at the end. Once the sheets of paper are filled, they are returned to the player who wrote the original sentence at the top. It’s often pretty hilarious to see how the sentence evolves from word to picture; this is usually the most entertaining part of the game and part of what makes it such a great team-building exercise. It’s an excellent activity to consider when bringing groups together by allowing them to interact and laugh together in a relaxed and casual environment

LESSONS WE CAN LEARN FROM MINECRAFT

  • Increased Creativity
  • Improve teamwork
  • It teaches resource management
  • Helps improve problem Solving and logic

If you aren’t familiar with the computer game Minecraft,it would be understandably easy to pass it off as a simple building blocks game at first glance. Once you take a deeper look, however, you will likely be pleasantly surprised to find that it offers many more educational benefits than what you might have initially anticipated. Minecraft requires the use of important skill sets such as teamwork, competence in resource management, and problem solving through logic. Players are encouraged to use creativity in a gaming environment where imagination can be expressed in endless ways. Minecraft is an exciting game to play, but it’s also an exercise in many important life-long skills, which is a win for both parents and children alike.

With an internet connection, the game can be played with different friends all over the world. Gathering materials, blocks, and items builds teamwork and communication skills. For example, building structures in the game requires planning, commitment, and resources that must be acquired for specific items. While progressing through the game, players will start to realize these tasks become easier and more thorough when played with a friend to share and discuss ideas with. The Minecraft world is a blank canvas; it can be created in an endless number of ways and flourishes with imagination. Using creativity and problem solving in play improves cognition and critical thinking that also translates to life outside the game. Active players will start to notice an improvement in writing and presentation skills as well.

Obstacles inevitably arise in the game, such as building in a tricky spot or battling an enemy. Players are often challenged to find solutions in unconventional ways, using only what they have at their disposal. With endless options comes endless opportunities to brainstorm and find creative ways to problem solve. Another unique benefit to playing Minecraft is the exposure to STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education. The game incorporates some basic properties of coding, in a feature called ‘command block’. This feature allows players to create their own set of commands, which will activate or trigger events, according to what he or she wants to accomplish. Each command follows a pattern and this result directly affects gameplay. In short, Minecraft is a game that has much more to offer than what initially meets the eye.  It is an exciting, challenging introduction into block-based gaming that also incorporates many essential educational components, proving that learning truly can be fun.

SPIN ‘N’ SORT SPOUT PRO BATH GAME

  • Sensory development
  • Develops fine motor skills
  • Teaches colors and shapes
  • Problem solving

With a little creativity and the right tools, children can turn almost any activity into an opportunity to learn and develop skills. You can even take learning to the bath time with games like Spin n’ Sort Spout Pro and others like it. There are a lot of toys available to just entertain your kids at bathtime, though it does take a little more research to find the right ones to serve as learning tools as well. Spin ‘n’ Sort Spout Pro helps toddlers to learn colors and shapes as well as keep them entertained for hours. The toy comes with many different activities built in for kids to do while they are enjoying their time in the tub. The child can have fun moving the spinning wheels around and each one has a different shape for them to recognize and learn: square, triangle, and circle. The layout of the wheels is setup so that the child can associate the shape with a color as each wheel is specifically designed to facilitate this. It also comes with cups to play with as well, each one having  a different function to help reinforce the distinction of colors and shapes.

The simple reality is that sometimes children just don’t want to take their bath. Parents often have to resort to using toys as a way to get them in the bathtub and distracted while they are getting clean. Spin ‘n’ Sort Spout Pro is great for keeping children occupied in the bath while working on their eye-hand coordination and motor skills. Every feature of the toy is specifically designed to incite the child’s curiosity to pick them up and move them around. They can interact with the faucet, moving it side to side, filling the cups, changing the wheels, and whatever else tickles their fancy.

Spin ‘n’ Sort Spout Pro’s design creates an environment where children can get creative and experiment with water flows. They can stack the cups to prevent the water from leaving the toy, exercising and encouraging their problem solving skills from an early age in “real life” application. The child can continue to develop their skills as they differentiate how water coming from the faucet affects the wheels and the cups and learn to anticipate cause and effects. This is great for stimulating the senses and brain development. A child’s imagination and curiosity is free to go where it wants to while playing with these types of toys. More than just moving pieces around, the toddler is processing and learning how to anticipate how their actions translate into the real world. Having fun using their imagination to come up with different construction designs for the cups and other components is a great way to spend an hour or two . With this much excitement and learning, bathtime will never be the same!

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