Common Challenges

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.

SIMON THE MEMORY LIGHT GAME

  • Increases memory cognition
  • Improves concentration and logic
  • Encourages motor skills
  • Improves hand-eye coordination

Simon the Memory Light Game has been a groovy fixture in family game night since the 70’s. As the name suggests, this game will put your memory skills to the test. Games like Simon the Memory Light Game will help people of all ages train their memory while having fun. This pattern repetition game can especially help young children, as increased memory retention enables them to retain information better in school. Players will have their memory tested by having to learn, remember, and repeat long color patterns that are given by the game. The rounds are timed and players to don’t finish the sequence in time will lose the round.

A benefit of games such as Simon the Memory Light Game is that they utilize and require concentration and logic skills in play. Like many other pattern-repeating games, the player needs to focus on the commands given in order to learn and repeat the sequence. This forces the player to really pay attention to details such as the lights, pace, sounds, and colors of the buttons that will help him or her recall the pattern. Players also utilize logic, reasoning, and problem solving as they analyze the best strategy for playing the game. Sharpening these skills leads to better cognitive performance and quicker decision-making abilities.

The design of the game also helps improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Just like the game Simon Says, players have to move their hands to follow the commands of the lights. As the game progresses, the patterns become longer and more intricate and the speed of the movements will increase. These movements help to strengthen the mind-body connection. While Simon the Memory Light Game has the same basic principle as Simon Says, the upgraded electronic component of this game makes it an exciting alternative for children and adults alike.

TEETER POPPER

  • improves core strength
  • stability
  • leg strength
  • balance
  • coordination

An important aspect, although maybe not intuitive at first, of every child’s education is taking the time to do physical activities alongside their schoolwork. Studies such as the one conducted by pediatricians in the University of Illinois have shown that exercising after a lesson or homework helps children with retention and to do better scholastically in general. Exercising is a great way to balance schoolwork for any age, especially if you are able to take short breaks between classes. The Teeter Popper is a great toy to encourage that physical activity between breaks as well as playtime, anytime.

When looking for activities to get children moving, it is essential that they engage in a fashion that the entire body is involved. The Teeter Popper benefits a child’s core strength which helps create a healthy posture and more endurance while doing more advanced physical activities such as playing basketball or soccer. The ease that the Teeter Popper can be used during study breaks is great because it is not so intense as to exhaust the child, but instead gives a natural boost of endorphin fueled energy. Having this break and getting some light exercise in can kickstart learning as they can burn off the excess energy and come back focused and alert for their lessons.

A fact of modern life is that we tend to be in a seated position for long periods of time, which often leads to slouching and bad posture in general. The Teeter Popper is a great way to offset this because the child needs to stay balanced as they play on it. Engaging the legs in this way directly builds balance and strength, which is doubly great if they can’t go outside for a run at the time or prefer to be indoors.

Another benefit of a toy like this is its portability; it can be easily moved and removed so that it doesn’t interrupt study time or leave a messy home. The Teeter Potter can be moved or stored in any part of the house, so parents can decide when and where their child plays, and be able to watch over them as they practice and play. The Teeter Popper allows children to come up with fun and creative tricks to show off, which helps build creativity and their overall body coordination and stability. Often, we tend to focus on the more cerebral aspects of learning, but don’t discount the importance of physical activity during those study sessions to keep your kids focused on the topic at hand. Playing with toys like the Teeter Popper doesn’t take up too much time or space, and it exercises the child’s entire body in a fun way with the long term benefits of both their body and mind.

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.

LEARNING MATH WITH YAHTZEE

  • Helps improve memory
  • Improves cognitive skills
  • Accessible math for young kids
  • Helps refine logic and strategy

Yahtzee is a game beloved by many, and has shown itself in many different cultures and regions, although sometimes under  different names and rule variations.

The objective of the game is simple on the surface – to score points by rolling five dice to make certain combinations. The dice can be rolled up to three times in a turn to try to make various scoring combinations, and dice must remain in the box. A game consists of thirteen rounds back and forth rolling the dice with the winner being the player that scores the most points. After each round the player chooses which scoring category is to be used for that round. Once a category has been used in the game, it cannot be used again. The scoring categories have varying point values, some of which are fixed values and others for which the score depends on the value of the dice. A Yahtzee is five-of-a-kind and scores 50 points, the highest of any category. 

When young players first start playing, they may need to count the numbers on the dice to note which number they have rolled. However, as they get more used to seeing those dots on the dice, they will be able to easily recognize the patterns of each number, so that they can see at a glance which number they have rolled. Both excellent developmental skills.

Since the game uses five dice at a time. This allows one to start working with larger numbers and adding up multiple groups. Until the player gets comfortable with the addition, they can count the dots in order to tally their scores for several of the categories on the scorecard which require adding up the numbers on some or all dice.

The player can be encouraged to use different strategies when adding up, as their abilities grow.. For example, using their friends of ten, known doubles, etc. The game also provides the player an introduction to multiplication without them even knowing it. When scoring for fives, all answers are multiple of fives. When they learn how to skip count, it helps them add even quicker. For example, if they roll five 5s, they can count it up by going “five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five”, instead of counting all the dots on the dice one by one. This is an excellent way to teach math in a real world situation.

With all of the complex probabilities at play throughout the game, much can be learned by rote and can also be discussed and helped along in the process.

YETI SPAGHETTI

  • Promotes patience and turn taking,
  • problem solving
  • Counting

A good way to teach children about patience and the social grace of taking turns is through playing board games. Using board games, like a game of Yeti Spaghetti, in teaching has been proven to be a great tool for children because they are actively learning in a fun engaging manner. This silly game is a fun way to test and teach the players patience skills as they wait for someone to make the wrong move and let the Yeti fall. Since Yeti Spaghetti is designed to be played in a group environment, your child would be interacting with, as well as, copying the behavior of the other players as they wait for their turn and anticipate taking a spaghetti out of the bowl. Parents can take this opportunity to teach how to gracefully act when one wins, or possibly more important, when they lose. Finding opportunities where children will have fun and the adults can be assured everyone will be entertained for hours can be a godsend when stuck at home.

The premise of the game is easy to understand, and it has the added benefit of making      kids laugh while they are learning. It is a good tool for teaching children without the pressures and stress of following a teaching plan. Children benefit from board games by focusing on solving the problems and anticipating next moves, such as  picking the right spaghetti straw to grab and using their cognitive skills to decide what is the best strategy to win. Even better, your kids will be spending less time using their tablets and computers alone by themselves and sitting down and playing together as a family.

But above and beyond being a simple game, board games like Yeti Spaghetti can be useful for schoolwork with a tiny bit of ingenuity. Children can learn how to count out loud using the spaghetti straws, helping master speech and early math. Also, for subjects in science, it is a great tool for helping explain advanced concepts such as gravity and others. Once enough spaghetti straws are removed from the bowl, your child will experience what happens when the Yeti does not have a solid ground – a very direct example of gravity in motion! Furthermore, this can lead to experiments, as children can come up with different structures and strategies to keep the Yeti from falling. It is a great way to introduce them to engineering skills and the ability to anticipate the results of their actions at an early age.

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.

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.

PRETEND AND PLAY CASH REGISTER

  • Number recognition.
  • Fine motor skills.
  • Trading and sharing.
  • Color recognition.
  • Problem solving

Do you remember how hard math was growing up? How can a person buy seven apples but only need three? For children who are starting to learn about the subject, getting a grasp on numbers and math can be intimidating. A good way to get your children on a good path to learning their numbers and starting to solve math problems is to turn it into a game. A great technique to get them to learn in a fun way is to use toys like pretend cash registers. You can start slowly and easily learning the numbers first, and then graduate to doing basic math with simple adding and subtracting and build from there. This greatly benefits the potential for learning because this takes abstract concepts and applies them to actual objects in a non-threatening way to help them better understand numbers and how to use them.

A toy cash register not only introduces children to basic math problems, but also familiarize them with the concept and importance of money, two very important skills they will need in life. Cash register toys are designed to mimic the real thing which can help the children to jump start their imagination. Plus, it is a great opportunity and super fun to pretend to be a customer while your child gets to pretend to be the adult. You can easily create different scenarios where the cash register would be handy such as a grocery store using items in the kitchen or a clothing boutique with items from your closet. Children learn through these scenarios the concepts of trading goods in exchange of cash, as well as how to be polite and thankful of other people. Definitely a great tool to teach concepts of sharing and how to get along with others from the earliest of ages.

Recognizing the numbers on the cash register buttons is a great for intellectual development, and it benefits the child’s motors skills as they push the buttons to record the purchase. Developing hand-eye coordination with the action of grabbing the money from inside the register and pushing the buttons is easy and fun. The colors on the toy money also help differentiate different types of paper money and coins, as well as makes it easier for them learn their colors. Associating a number with a different color benefits them to understand the different values of money, but more importantly, it helps develop advanced cognitive skills that help further math and other skills at a young age.

remember that you are speaking to a parent who has concerns for their children in specific. They have taken the time to seek out options to help their kids be both entertained as well as learn important concepts in a tangential, no pressure, fun way.

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!

en_USEnglish
es_ESSpanish en_USEnglish