AGES: 8 and up

BUFFALO, THE NAME DROPPING GAME

  • Refines conversation skills
  • Increases memory cognition
  • Improves concentration and logic
  • Helps improve social interaction skills

Card games that are easy and fun to play are a great way to bring people together when hanging out with friends and in many other social settings. Buffalo, the Name-Dropping Game fits into both of these categories because of its’ simplicity in design and the opportunity for many people to play at once. As an added bonus, players will practice valuable skills that can be applied in many other social and educational situations. 

Memory cognition, concentration, and logic are all important skills that can be developed when playing Buffalo. Players must connect card descriptions to a possible person or character, making answers endless. Connecting these cards to form responses that gain points requires concentration and memorization to do effectively. The mechanics of playing will require constant problem solving through memory cognition, testing a player’s ability to remember character descriptions and how quickly he or she can spot and recollect patterns. The fast-paced nature of the game helps to develop quick and accurate decision-making abilities. Games like Buffalo can be especially beneficial to children as a way to introduce and practice these skills through play.

Card games are a well-known source of entertainment, but the additional benefits they can offer are worth considering. Playing card games like Buffalo is a unique opportunity for people to connect, socialize, and strengthen relationships. Positive social interactions like this are a key component in setting a foundation that builds confidence, self-esteem, and effective communication skills.

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.

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!

THE GAME OF CHARADES

  • Helps increase creativity
  • Improve memory retention
  • Exercises both sides of the brain
  • Team building exercise

Charades is a classic staple for any family game night. This hilarious game is a favorite that has stood the test of time. Charades is both fun and relaxing; players who aren’t afraid to unwind and let loose a bit will find themselves at an advantage with this game. The nature of the game encourages different kinds of creative expression and will help more reserved players learn how to push past their comfort zone a bit in a way that’s not overwhelming. This type of play can be especially beneficial to children who may need to improve communication skills. Participating in teams forces players to learn how to work together using creative problem solving and logic in order to win.

A fun and silly game like Charades might make it hard to believe that it can actually also be a great brain exercise that uses both sides of the brain at once. Players will need to memorize a list of words, think logically, and create gestures in order to act out words or phrases. The players trying to guess the answer use logic and deductive reasoning in order to do so. Both the actors and viewers are exercising their brains while taking turns during the game. The game of Charades is also an exercise in memory retention. Recalling a list to act out later is a great way to improve the memory. Strong memory skills have been shown to correlate to improved study habits and test scores in school.

The importance of teamwork is a recurring theme in games like Charades. Players must trust one another and learn how to work together quickly and efficiently in order to win. This can be a great opportunity for a child to observe and demonstrate these behaviors as well. Learning to be a team member is not only important in school, but essential in the workplace.

MAGIC: THE GATHERING

  • Improves creativity and imaginative thought
  • Helps improve logic skills
  • Improve memory retention
  • Teaches Creative Problem Solving

Magic: The Gathering teaches two very important skills for a child’s development:  Creative practice and critical thinking. Playing the game encourages outside-the-box thinking in order to uncover different methods and endless styles of play. This unrestricted style of game play gives players the freedom to set their own game pace and use any card deck of choice.

When playing Magic: The Gathering, players have the option to build and customize their own deck of cards according to personal taste and strategic preference. Adding cards to a deck requires a critical analysis of each card. Preferences, features, and intended function are all things that must be taken into consideration before the card is added. Players must create a strategic plan to play the game in order to win. Plans are created through trial and error, analyzing past experiences, and visualization. The nature of the game requires players to expect the unexpected and be able to prepare for any number of unforeseen challenges. Progressing through the game of Magic requires critical thinking skills, memorization, and creative problem-solving in order to win. Since each player’s deck is highly personalized, the game is heavily influenced by what each deck looks like and how players have chosen them to function. The unpredictability of so many factors that go into play creates unexpected obstacles that must be solved creatively.

Creating cards and building strategy will encourage players to stretch their imagination past the confines of the real world — this is what sets playing fantasy games like Magic:  The Gathering apart. Practicing critical thinking and creative problem-solving are especially beneficial for children, and developing these skills in play empowers them to use them in other ways that reach far beyond a game.

MONOPOLY THE BOARD GAME

  • Engages in memory adeptness
  • Teaches financial abilities
  • Enhances math skills
  • Practices problem solving and logic

Monopoly is a classic board game that has entertained groups of friends and families for years. Having been around for generations, it’s considered a piece of American history and is still wildly popular around the world. It’s no secret that game nights with friends and family are a great way to socialize and bond, but many games such as Monopoly are also great for teaching important life-skills. Monopoly gives children an introduction to real-life situations and will expose them to topics like economics, business, and taxes. Playing the game teaches math and negotiation skills, and is even a great introduction into how things like property ownership and taxes work. Children who play Monopoly will practice skills like math during the game and be able to take many of the valuable lessons learned from play with them for life.

The goal of Monopoly is to compete in overtaking a vast majority of property on the board. This encourages friendly competition between players and engages them to want to win. Players must navigate through the world of business and finance, as they analyze the pros and cons of property ownership on the board. Negotiation skills will be developed during play while players buy and sell their property strategically in order to get ahead. This is a great way to refine communication skills, as these are often tricky and delicate interactions.

Monopoly allows children to learn the fundamentals of business and finances to children in a casual and fun environment. Having a fundamental understanding at an early age of many of these important concepts will give children a distinct advantage for when they will have to navigate these in the future.

THE BENEFITS OF THE GRAVITY MAZE

  • Engages in problem solving
  • Develops motor skills
  • Promotes engineering, STEM, and building
  • Encourages creativity

When trying to get children to learn in a home setting, it is important to consider what will keep them both interested as well as stimulated in a good way.  Toys that promote key foundational skills that encourage mathematics, engineering, STEM goals, and creativity are important and all found in a part of a game like Gravity maze.  It helps create an educational environment invisibly, while remaining fun for hours at a time. 

Gravity Maze and others like it provide children the liberty to create, play and learn at their own pace with different types of challenges and courses that the toys provide. Each challenge can range from easy to hard, creating different advancing levels of learning throughout the gameplay.  The learning is accomplished in different areas and on many different levels, and can lead directly to the formation of STEM skills early in life. Gravity Maze is considered a STEM toy because of its problem solving mechanics, focus on perception, and how the game can immerse a child into a world of solving basic mechanical problems that have high level concepts underlying their existence. Trying to figure out how each challenge card is handled and solved in creative and stimulating ways bridges the gap between creativity and rational logic. Making a marble reach the bottom in one flow creates a well-defined but attainable goal that gently encourages the player to adapt to their current situation. The ability to solve the challenge with the given pieces for construction, within the confines of the grid shaped area, grows along with confidence and the more abstract mental skills that develop in the background.

All these details can help students enhance their studying habits and learning capabilities.  Focusing on a challenge or a single goal to its completion can help a child at school, when taking a quiz or a test, or through many of the issues life can present.  Being able to lean on those developing abilities can easily lead to a boost in confidence, giving children more ease when presenting a topic in class or when challenged anywhere.  The toy engages creativity and motor skills, helping develop both as the child continues to play and have fun with the Gravity Maze game.  Most importantly, it is an easy way to engage children into using their brain to solve fun and captivating puzzles, all the while providing the fun necessary to help keep them focused.

THE GAME OF SUDOKU

  • Increases concentration
  • Refine logic skills
  • Improve memory retention
  • Helps increase neuroplasticity

Let’s play some Sudoku! Over the years there have been many studies illustrating how Sudoku helps keep adult minds from deteriorating. While not traditionally thought of as a children’s game, Sudoku and similar puzzles will also help develop young minds. Children who play Sudoku have better short-term memory. Playing the game will improve memory retention, logical problem-solving, and strategy skills. Similar to visualizing moves in a board game, Sudoku requires players to analyze the puzzle in order to determine where the numbers need to go. This type of game play is fun and challenging for people of all ages.   

Playing Sudoku can actually change the way our minds think. By forcing players to think outside the box (literally), neuroplasticity in the brain will start to increase over time. Logic puzzles like these present new challenges with every game, so benefits will continue with play. Children who play Sudoku will experience increased cognition even faster, as the brain is more neuroplastic and easier to change at a younger age. Teaching children to find new ways of solving problems is especially critical as their brains continue to grow and develop.

Even though Sudoku is a puzzle about numbers, the goal of the game is not to practice math fluency, but utilize logical skills. The object of the game is to deduce the numbers missing from a pattern by using an elimination process. A mental strategy must be developed in order to solve it. Deciding where to start to the Sudoku begins by analyzing the grid of numbers. Sudoku stimulates a child’s curiosity since the placement of numbers must be frequently tested to see how it will affect the bigger picture. Examining both the block as a whole and each square individually to unlock the solution is the key to solving this puzzle, so reasoning and logic are in constant play.

Concentration is another cognitive skill that Sudoku will improve. Sudokus are designed at different levels of difficulty. Depending on the level of difficulty and how much experience a player has, a puzzle can take anywhere from a few minutes to hours to solve. When a child is at a comfortable level working independently, Sudoku can become a great tool that will engage the mind and improve concentration and cognitive skills.

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.

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.

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