AGES: 6 and up

SPLITTING IMAGE

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

Brainteasers are a popular game choice for parents, teachers, and children because these games promote learning in an entertaining way that children also enjoy. Parents gravitate toward these types of games because they are both fun and educational. Puzzles such as brain games help develop a child’s critical thinking skills and mental stamina. In fact, educators also integrate them into lessons and daily schoolwork. Different brain games build up different types of skills. Splitting Image is great for children who may need to develop problem-solving skills and critical thinking. This game also develops visual and manual dexterity. The game itself consists of a small mirror, cards with patterns on them, and pattern playing pieces. A player will choose a card and then attempt to replicate the pattern seen in the mirror. With each attempt, a player will learn from the pattern. Replicating the pattern on the card against the mirror by manipulating the puzzle pieces requires patience and deductive reasoning Splitting Image fosters creativity, problem solving, and visual perception. Every pattern card is a new challenge that keeps players actively involved in the game.

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.

CHESS, A GAME FOR THE MIND

  • Improve critical thinking skills
  • Teaches creative problem solving
  • Helps improve concentration
  • It exercises both sides of the brain

Chess is one of the most played board games historically worldwide. It is played in almost every country and players ranging from small children all the way up to the elderly are able to enjoy what it has to offer. Why is this board game so popular, and for so long? Why do we teach children to play from an early age in schools? The answer is simple, this board game has been proven over time and many studies to be great developmental tool for education and mental abilities.

Chess is a fun game that challenges the brain, and the players’ abilities of strategic planning and patience. Scientists have studied the brain activity of people while playing chess and have found that both sides of the brain light up, engaging both the creative as well as logical functions, just like a musician playing an instrument. A player needs to visualize their moves beforehand, anticipating their opponents turns, and at the same time be present in a game that requires a high level of focus. A child can benefit from the multiple levels of thought needed to play a good game of chess in all aspects of life. Increasing their memory, logic, and mental capacity in general while enjoying some healthy competition, it is easy to see how the longevity of this game has come to be.

Mainly, chess is a game that works with and improves a person’s critical thinking skills. It helps children to think ahead of what they are doing as they strategize their next moves. Making plans and backup plans, assessing the situation, and deducting your opponent’s next moves are some of the skills that children acquire in chess. A person who plays chess learns to be detail-oriented, organized, and prepared. In the long run, those are great skills that apply to nearly any situation life can throw at you.

Chess directly teaches about problem solving and plan execution. Because of how the game is set up, players must think in creative ways to find solutions when their opponent challenges them. The child learns to see the different angles of a problem to decide what will be the right course of action. The child is building the cognitive skills that are crucial to success in life with every game they play. This kind of problem solving and strategic logic can be applied to other subjects like math and critical reading as they advance in their schoolwork.

For children who have difficulty paying attention, chess can be a great tool to help them to focus on one thing at a time. The game requires a high degree of concentration which helps children acquire the skills to stay focused on their ultimate goal, to checkmate the opponent and claim victory. One of the valuable lessons taught in chess is to not get distracted and be aware of the pieces and their potential moves, both for themselves and their opponents. Players need to devote all their attention to the board in order to play well – a good lesson to learn early on in life. Once you learn to play chess, including the more advanced strategies, the game is very entertaining and can be a definite source of lifelong pride.

PLAY JENGA

  • Improve Hand-eye coordination
  • Increases logic skills
  • Teaches creative problem solving
  • Improves concentration

The game of Jenga is well known for its simplicity in design:  A tower of wooden bricks that must be removed one by one, until one of the players causes the tower to collapse. This popular game also offers some unexpected benefits that are worth noting. Playing Jenga improves fine motor skills, dexterity, concentration, and perception capabilities. Game play encourages children to have fun while practicing these key functions that will be beneficial when facing various obstacles that may arise later in life. 

Grabbing each wooden brick from the Jenga stack can be a real challenge, especially when there are a lot of bricks already out. The game is designed to become more challenging as it progresses. Players must demonstrate patience and dexterity because of how carefully each brick must be pulled out and replaced. This is where the use of fine motor skills comes into play. Jenga also requires the use of logic and creates opportunities for players to problem solve by perceiving which brick is likely to progress the game and which ones would be bound to make the tower fall. Practicing observation and using logic will help children learn to identify patterns and aid with many daily activities like studying, social interactions, and chores. Concentration is also encouraged during game play, making players focus on the task at hand to accomplish a goal. 

Jenga is commonly thought of as a party game because the rules are simple and it’s incredibly fun to play. While this is all true, it can also be used as a great education tool. In fact, it’s so easy to tailor Jenga for specific learning needs that it has become a very popular game for educators. It can be easily customized by writing a topic or question on each brick that must be answered with each turn – all the sudden it becomes a fun and effective study tool. With all of the benefits and entertainment that this game has to offer, it’s not hard to see why Jenga continues to be so popular with both adults and children. 

NUMBERED PLAYING CARD GAMES

  • Improves math and computation skills
  • Improves visual cognition
  • Better memory retention
  • Refine logic and strategy

It’s not uncommon to have a deck or two of cards stored away in the house, waiting for a situation to arise to be used. Cards have been a fixture in family game nights, parties, and boring Sunday afternoons for many years, and with good reason. They are an inexpensive and simple source of entertainment that doesn’t require anything else to enjoy. There are literally hundreds of different games that can be played on one deck of cards and they can be enjoyed solo or with friends. Today where most of our entertainment revolves around staring at a screen, many people are choosing to come back to card games as an alternative to this. Classic games like cards help us disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other, which is becoming harder to find in a world that has been oversaturated with TV, social media, and video games.

It’s easy to see how cards are arguably the most versatile source of entertainment on earth, but they even have more to offer than that. By nature, every card game out there requires some level of thinking. By engaging in this type of active entertainment, our brains are also benefitting in a number of ways. Many number card games are already known to be effective educational tools. Playing these games forces us to use and practice a number of cognitive skills and can be used to help learn new ones. Depending on the cards and game, skills such as math, memory, logic, strategy, and critical-thinking are likely to be used – some of these all at once!

Playing card games together can be a great way for parents to bond with children while helping them develop valuable skills at the same time. Games such as Crazy Eight are great for building hand-eye coordination because this fast-paced game requires players to move as fast as their eyes can see the deck. It will also help improve cognitive ability and quick-thinking, as moves are made just as fast as a player can move his or her hands. Many card games are especially beneficial for memory skills. Concentration is a classic memory game that can be played with a standard deck and is simple enough for young children to play but can also be modified as the skill level goes up. Other games such as Solitary and Go Fish involve using logic and deductive reasoning. Players will learn how to think more strategically and use observation and analysis while playing games like these.

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.

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