AGES: 11 – 13 years

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 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!

PICTIONARY

  • Increases logic skills
  • Helps Improve creativity
  • Improves memory retention and cognition
  • Helps refine hand-eye coordination

The game Pictionary is a great group activity that can engage children in creative drawing and the development of visualizing ideas.  Alongside this proactivity towards creativity is the practice of logic and problem-solving skills. A great activity for memorization and motor skill development with hand-eye coordination, these aspects about the game create the opportunity to teach children important elements that can benefit their education experience.

When playing Pictionary, logic is used in different ways. First of all it engages the player when you are drawing the prompt handed to you.  You must consider the audience and draw something that can lead to the answer for your team, creating healthy communication skills and logic skills at the same time.  The team members trying to guess the image and decipher what is the image drawn are using the same cognitive abilities, but in reverse.  Getting into the perspective of the player who is drawing necessitates the creative use of logic within the context of the game.  Pictionary helps hand-eye coordination by the act of drawing and focusing on what the drawing is to represent, and it helps improve memory retention and cognition by putting a name or title on the drawing itself and taking the win. 

Educationally speaking, Pictionary is a great method for supplemental teaching as well, bringing it out of the classroom and into the family environment.  You can make your own prompts related to any topic you want to teach or discuss, and as a team each person can draw out the identified prompt.  This can enhance leadership abilities and create a healthy way for teamwork exercises.  Pictionary helps break the ice in a social situation and it can engage children in a social academic experience, growing their confidence and practicing pattern recognition and memory at the same time.

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.

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 DOMINOES

  • Helps to develop critical thinking skills
  • Bond with families and social groups
  • Reduces stress
  • Improve memory retention

There are many classic board games that can be useful in classroom settings and have been proven to be effective, if unconventional, tools for learning. Games such as Dominoes are great for translating critical thinking and memory exercises into real world settings, with ramifications applied for the decisions made. Children benefit from games like this because they present them with challenges that require creativity and thinking outside the box. Dominoes is a game that requires a high level of strategy and planning in order to win. How the game works, a player analyzes the board to deduct what Domino tiles the other players have left, based on how they played each round. The game forces the player to be constantly guessing their opponents’ tiles and strategizing to block their moves in order to control the board and win the game. This type of skill can later be applied to lessons such as logical reasoning exercises as well as working through mathematical equations.       

In Dominoes, it is vital that the player stays sharp in order to win the game. The concentration and focus required to play well benefit children’s memory retention. Dominoes has twenty-eight tiles to use in different combinations; the player needs to memorize and understand the usefulness of the seven they have in their hand in order to effectively understand their opponents play options. So, when it’s the player’s turn, they have gathered the essential information to anticipate their opponents in order to make strategic moves to control the board, and ultimately win the game. There have been studies that have found that playing Dominoes helps children improve their visual abilities and even assists in the development of photographic memories. The way a child builds their ability to memorize the Dominoes tiles can later be applied to schoolwork for example in learning the periodic table, or in any one of the unlimited applications in the real world. 

Another wonderful benefit of Dominoes is that it can be played anywhere. Dominoes is a game that can be played in any social setting, whether it is a family gathering, or at a party with friends, and can even be used as a fun break between study sessions. You can play in teams of two or individually, which plays into variations of strategy. It is a great tool for children to bond with older family members since there is no age limit either direction for the game.

Dominoes is a great opportunity for a child’s social confidence and skills to blossom. Unlike some other board games, in Dominoes players are encouraged to have fun banter and conversations in between plays. Playing Dominoes creates an environment where players are encouraged to talk amongst each other. People of all ages benefit from this type of healthy competition. The game is a great way to boost endorphins and reduce any stresses of the day. Plus, it is an activity that can involve the entire family where everyone can unwind and just have fun together.

PLAYING THE PIANO

  • Increases your memory capacity
  • Exercises both sides of the brain
  • Enhances Split Concentration
  • Playing the piano teaches concentration and discipline

Playing the piano offers a plethora of health and mental benefits that will supplement every part of your life. And, that doesn’t even begin to expand on the deep network and historical tradition of the instrument and art. Even though you’re sitting down, playing the piano is somewhat of a mental and physical workout all its own. It offers different physical and physiological advantages to players of all ages. For instance, regular piano playing improves fine motor skills and betters hand-eye coordination in the young and developing. Research has also shown that piano lessons for adults have a significant impact on increased levels of Human Growth Hormone, which slows the adverse effects of the mind and body aging. Playing the piano is also proven to reduce anxiety, heart and respiratory rates, cardiac complications, and to lower blood pressure which in turn increases immune response.

Piano practice boosts cognitive and intellectual capabilities, which is to say, it makes you smarter and activates similar parts of the brain used in reasoning and math. Studying piano has also been shown to improve memory,  particularly verbal memory, and can build good habits like focus, perseverance, diligence and creativity. Children who have had a few years of piano study could remember 20% more vocabulary words than their peers. And childhood taught musicians are said to be better equipped later in life to retain information from presentations and lectures.

Playing piano has been shown to increase spatial temporal ability, which is heavily involved in math, science and engineering. Regular music practice at an early age can even make physical/structural changes to the brain that stay with you for the rest of your life, making your brain more efficient both while playing and in endeavors outside the musical realm. Playing piano has also been shown to be a great way to relieve stress, and provide opportunities to bolster self-esteem. It is also widely used as a form of therapy for Attention Deficit Disorder, helping individuals learn to focus in a structured way.

String Art Kit

  • Work on attention span
  • Develop fine motor skill
  • Foster creativity and cognitive skills
  • Stress relief

Time for arts and crafts is an important break from long periods of studying or work. Young children need this time to explore and develop their cognitive abilities from a different angle that is not reading or math. There are many activities one can do for arts and crafts, each one helping in different ways. For example, String Art is a good way to increase concentration. Trying to create a geometric image using strings requires a lot of focus. Helping children increase their attention span which is needed for learning or doing any other activity.

Other aspects of arts and crafts is that it helps work other cognitive skills. String Art helps to tap into one’s creativity. Children decide what figures they want to recreate and what string combinations they want to use. Allowing self-expression and their imagination to be exercised. Also, studies have shown that arts and crafts projects help improve memory and foster problem-solving skills. Exercising both sides of the brain by working with arts and crafts such as String Art. Increasing the brain function is important for learning and retaining information and doing these types of activities are a fun way to stimulate a child’s mind.

String Art and other arts and crafts are also an entertaining way to work on fine motor skills. Developing dexterity, hand-eye coordination, sensory stimulation, among other functions. Children get to exercise and work the fine motor skills needed for writing and typing. Arts and crafts such as String Art are a fun way to use the hands to create something memorable. Taking a break from studying to stretch their hands and move them to string work. It is a great therapy for the hands that showcase one’s talents and work the muscles.

Finally, arts and crafts are commonly known as great tools for improving a person’s mood. It is a great way to destress and tune out any worries. Calming the state of the mind to improve cognitive skills arts and crafts projects such as String Art are good hobbies to do anytime. Everyone can enjoy them and work on them together. Helping to be in a good mental state for learning children can use this time to reenergize for schoolwork. String Art and other arts and crafts are a good way to be entertained and stay healthy.

THE GAME OF CONCENTRATION

  • Helps concentration and focus
  • Improve memory retention
  • Refine logic skills
  • Improves visual cognition

Concentration is a classic memory card game that is still widely played all over the world today. The simple nature of this popular game has made it a favorite with young children, but different versions have emerged over the years that also tailor to a variety of different audiences. True to its name, this game will build concentration and focus, as well as memory and recognition.

The game is very straightforward – A deck of cards is laid out facedown and then players take turns flipping them two at a time, in search for matching pairs. Once a player finds two matching cards they get to keep the pair, otherwise they are put back. The player with the most matches at the end wins the game. Cards are often colorful or unique, which is another reason that children are drawn to playing this game.

Concentration is a fantastic tool to help children build focus and memory retention through play. As the game progresses, they will learn to use logic and deductive reasoning to recognize patterns and find matches. Practicing these skills at an age where the brain is rapidly developing improves cognitive function quickly and sets a solid foundation for learning more complicated concepts down the line. Children who play memory games like Concentration are more likely to develop a love and curiosity for learning and will be able to apply these skills in future education.

Three Sticks

  • Foster creativity
  • Develop logical thinking and problem solving
  • Enhances spatial Awareness
  • Practice math skills

There are many games that cater to the STEM learning program. They are a fun way to incorporate math or science exercises in playtime. Exercising player skills, the STEM games stimulate the mind. Children benefit from these types of games as they are still developing cognitive skills. One of the many STEM games that can be added to math class is the board game Three Sticks. With a geometrical board Three Sticks and similar games challenge players to create simple geometric shapes to earn points. Helping players to practice geometry such as finding the perimeter and understanding angles. By adding points every time a player creates shapes Three Stick and similar games help exercise and sharpen math skills. Children learn to the mental computations and practice geometry in a fun way.

Another benefit of playing with STEM games is that they require the players to think logically. For example, in Three Sticks each player has five power card and a reload deck they can use to their advantage. They can only use up to two power cards on their turn. Exercising their logical thinking skills, the players have to choose carefully what sticks and cards they want to play that earns them the most points. It helps children to think about creative problem solving. The STEM games encourage learning from a different perspective. Setting the games as foundation to planning and decision making, children can use the visual aid provided by the board games to think of solutions. STEM games are fun and different way of looking into problems and searching for answers.

Three Sticks and similar games help children be creative. One of the key components of STEM programs is that prompts ingenuity and innovation in the different scientific fields. These types of games foster creativity by challenging the players to come up with different shapes by only using two sticks per turn. It is important to challenge a child to step outside of the standard way of thinking and let their imagination guide them to new possibilities. Furthermore, geoboard games such as Three Sticks are good way to enhance spatial awareness. The players must analyze the points in the board to make the connections and create a shape forcing the mind to imagine the shape before they set the sticks. Three Sticks and similar games are great way to spend time training the mind while having fun.

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