AGES: 6 and up

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. 

The Magic School Bus: A Journey into the Human Body

  • Learn about human body
  • Interest in Science
  • Develop problem-solving skills

The human body is strong and delicate at the same time. Educators and parents teach to children the importance of taking care of their bodies for them to grow strong and healthy. A child needs to be aware of their bodies so they can be careful when doing physical activities as well as avoid getting sick. As part of the STEM program there are many anatomy experimental kits and games for children to explore and learn about the human body. One of these kits is The Magic School Bus: A Journey into the Human Body which is based on the children program. With different activities such as bend bones and build a stethoscope, The Magic School Bus: A Journey into the Human Body and other similar kits are designed to help children understand the science behind how their own bodies function.

Like many other science kits, The Magic School Bus: A Journey into the Human Body is instrument for teaching science in a hands-on setting. Children get to interact with one another and discover the human body for themselves using their senses and the kits tools. While doing the experiments and other learning activities with the science kit, a child fosters their problem-solving skills. Children get to analyze and conduct their own theories while working on the activity. Following the procedure until getting the results, the child is constantly thinking critically and absorbing the lessons. The Magic School Bus: A Journey into the Human Body and other similar kits stimulates a child’s curiosity for leaning in an entertaining way. Helping the child develop their critical thinking and reasoning outside a classroom setting.

Furthermore, children get invested in working on research of the human body and develop interest in the science field. Science kits such as The Magic School Bus: A Journey into the Human Body allow children to be fully invested in whatever project they work on. Through the empirical process the child gets first-hand experience of what scientist do. Especially what doctors and healthcare professional look for when they go for check-ups. Understanding how the human body works helps children be brave when they are sick or have an injury. Also, it helps them create healthy habits to protect themselves from disease such as washing their hands. The Magic School Bus: A Journey into the Human Body and other anatomy kits service a child’s learning in a way they can understand and enjoy.

Newton’s Tree

  • Develop fine motor skill and hand-eye coordination
  • Foster strategic thinking
  • Practice counting skills
  • Learn how to balance

From the moment an apple fell on Newton’s head gravity has been associated with that moment in history. It is the perfect example of how the force of gravity pulls us to Earth. Taking inspiration from the lesson of Newton and the apple there is a board game for children to learn and have fun. Like many other similar games Newton’s Tree uses stacking objects to develop players fine motor skills and dexterity. The premise of Newton’s Tree is for children to stack tree branches, apples, and a little figure of Newton up a tree until the tree crumbles and the pieces fall to the ground. Children learn how to shift the weights of the objects and how to control their hand movements to keep the tree steady. Developing hand-eye coordination through playing games.

Newton’s Tree and other similar board games are great educational tool for practicing other skills in class besides motor skills. It is a great visual aid in science class for learning about the center of gravity, static equilibrium, and balancing masses. However, board games such as Newton’s Tree can be applied to other lessons. Children practice their counting skills. There are card that add or subtract apples from the tree. Depending on the cards, the players have to move up to five apples in their turn adding them to the tree or pickling them. Children are engaged in the game helping them practice their counting in an entertaining way. Educators and parents can use these types of board games as supplementary material for practice.

Moreover, board games such as Newton’s Tree train cognitive skills and build up social skills. When playing these types of games, children tested their skills to win the game. Board games involve strategic thinking and problem solving. The players have to think carefully about where they place the apples and which ones to pluck to keep the tree from falling down. Children foster these skills to later be applied to real life situations. They also learn how to wait their turn and how to win and lose gracefully. It is a good way for people to come together and chat helping children develop communication and social skills. Challenging both their minds and teaching them how behave around others. Newton’s Tree and other board games alike make learning experiences enjoyable and help children to grow.

Otrio

  • Exercise critical thinking
  • Enhance strategic skills
  • Stress relief

From Tic-tac-toe originates the game Otrio a more complex version of a classic that allows up to four players in the game. Like many other board games, Otrio is designed for players exercise their reasoning and critical thinking skills. The players have to be aware of the opponent’s colorful rings forming lines of the same kind of circle, in ascending or descending order, or completing the set circles in one place. These types of games are great for children to develop the cognitive skills for analyzing any situation to come up with creative solutions. Helping them understand a problem and follow logical reasoning which is needed in almost every subject in school. Otrio and other similar board games are a fun way of learning these skills to later to apply to real life situations.

Besides the learning benefits, board games such as Otrio are a source of entertainment that does not require electricity or too much time. They allow the players to unwind and enjoy each other’s company in a friendly competition. Otrio and other similar board games are a good tool for stress relief. They can be played anywhere and anytime, and they keep the mind occupied helping the player forget their worries. With elements of Tic-tac-toe, Chess, and other board games, Otrio and other games alike bring laughter and joy. People can stimulate their brains and at the same time have a good time and socialize with others. It is a good break for adults and children from their busy lives.

Another benefit of board games such as Otrio is that it fosters the players strategic skills sets. Since the game can be played by up to four people, the players have to plan in the moment defensive plays to prevent other players from forming a line or a full set as well as coming up with strategies to win the game. Like many other board games, Otrio options for strategies are endless and you could combine plays. Children get to practice planning moves ahead like chess and develop strategic skills as they play. Elaborating strategic thinking through games gives the child the foundation for learning in school. Otrio and other board games are good unconventional educational tool that allows children to think outside of the box and enjoy themselves.

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.

Last One Lost

  • Enhance logic skills and strategic thinking
  • Develop fine motor skills
  • Foster visual perception

Games and puzzles turn every moment into a learning experience where minds are stimulated, and a person’s curiosity is tapped. They are fun activities that help foster cognitive skills. Last One Lost or Last Mouse Lost is one of the many games that keep the mind active when the boredom strikes. The game has a simple goal: to not be the player that pushes down the last bubble. Last One Lost and similar games help develop a players critical thinking. Players need to use logic and strategy to come up with gameplays to defeat their opponent. It is a type of game where a player can be creative. Children get to exercise their thinking skills by challenging others in a friendly competition. Also, parents and educators can create rules to how to play to make the game more challenging and connect the game to class.   

Besides training the brain, games can also help to keep the body active. Parents and educators use games as hand-on learning tools, so children participate in class and have them fully engaged in the lesson. It is important to exercise the body while learning to help children concentrate on schoolwork. Last One Lost and other similar games exercise fine motor skills by designing the bubbles to feel like the wrapping bubbles. Making it a tactile exercise to press down the bubbles each turn. It is essential for children develop fine motor skills so they can accomplish writing and typing tasks with ease. Children can move their fingers along the surface and push down as many bubbles as they want mimicking typing exercises without the need of use of electronics. Enhancing a player’s dexterity through play.

Games such as Last One Lost help visual perception skills. Children have fun playing these types of games while exercising visual memory and visual discrimination skills. Being able to analyze quickly how many bubbles are left and pushing them down to win the game. Helping gather information and analyze through perception. Last One Lost and other games alike are meant to be a short fun break to help refresh the mind. It is a good way to pause from schoolwork and work on a different challenge coming back with a new mindset. Last One Lost help players unwind from their busy schedules but keep the mind active. They are entertaining and addictive to play where everyone can have a good time.

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.

A Day in The Jungle

  • Build personal and social skills
  • Promotes visual observation & thinking
  • Foster communication skills
  • Build vocabulary

For children to be functional adults in society, emotional intelligence must be fostered just like the intelligence quotient (IQ). Both types of intelligence can be simultaneously developed using games and toys from a young age to build cognitive and social skills. Games that are designed to help develop emotional intelligence have been proven effective in teaching positive ways to handle emotions and maintain healthy relationships. A Day in the Jungle is a social-emotional bingo game that helps children learn through visual aid and actions to identify positive behavior. Like many other social-emotional learning games, it is a fun way to build players personal and social skills. Through play, parents and educators use these types of games to explain how to cope with feelings and how to interact with others. While having fun children learn to view helping others and sharing as a good thing.

Another side to social-emotional learning games is that they also foster cognitive skills. These games involve problem solving and critical thinking. Just like other types of educational games, they keep the mind active and players focused on the lesson. For example, A Day in the Jungle features a set of dice which one of the dice has animal drawings and the other words.  Players have to decipher the message of the dice such as, helping monkey, caring elephant, and in danger lion, and try to find the image in their bingo card that present the action. Exercising their visual observation and thinking skills. The player focuses on the images in front of their bingo cards and using their judgement decide whether the action applies to an unmarked space. Later children can apply this skill in real life situations.

A Day in the Jungle and similar social-emotional learning games once played, they open up space for discussion. It is important for educators and parents to foster how to interact and talk to others. During the games, children learn new vocabulary to help them navigate relationships and how they communicate to other about their feelings. Promoting verbal communication, children practice the new vocabulary they learned. Analyzing and discussing each interaction, these games are good visual aids to comprehend what are manners and good behavior. Boosting their visual processing. Children learn to how talk with others. A Day in the Jungle and similar games are great activities to bring everyone together and enjoy each other company.

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