Smart Moms Toy Box

In Kiddos by Lola Magazine

Cognitive skills can change!

Kids can get smarter and so can adults through simple interventions such as brain training and simply by playing games that challenge their thinking processes both online and family game style! The key to everything is intensity and moderation.

Think of exercise for the body. A benefit can be had from a friendly game of volleyball or soccer in the front yard or a daily swim in the pool however, a greater benefit is had if it is intentional and regular. This doesn’t mean that you have to play the same games over and over-quite the opposite! To challenge the brain, up the ante each time the game is played by using a timer or counting or change to different games with the same skill set in mind. For example, a great game of tic-tac-toe can be played by most anyone, and it can be challenging by just a little tweak such as having to count to five while making the play on your turn and having to do it within that count of five or by a simple change of playing it with numbers or letters instead of Xs and Os.

Let’s explore the benefits and tweaks to make the games a little more exciting and challenging for true brain growth in a few of the “regular” games we have around the house on the holidays. Uno is a great game of numbers and can be made much more beneficial to the brain by simply adding a counting or speed to it. This game works the short term memory, processing speed and number/letter recognition while having fun as well as a myriad of other skills such as attention and focus. By simply adding a timing factor to it, the intensity is raised to challenge even the best player. If an adult who is quite skilled is playing with a child, the adult could have to make a decision by counting aloud to 3 and playing while the child gets to count to 10 while playing. -This playing. This evens the playing field and makes it a mental challenge for both players as well as a fun laugh when someone loses a turn for not playing quick enough!

Another fun game of strategy is checkers. I love getting those big mats with the enormous checkers out to play with all the nieces and nephews! Challenge the game up a level by using the same timing activity mentioned above or making a rhyme ongoing. First player must say a food, then the next player on his/her turn must list another food of the same food group, color, or rhyme a word with it.

Most everyone can remember the old Rhythm game-snap, snap, clap, clap, rhythm; name some kinds of ice cream…. Well, this game is a classic oldie but a goodie! This game has turned into a new game of categorizing like Scattergories and five second rule. These games are great for boosting that long term memory recall. One can always play the easy homemade game of alphabet in the car on long trips or at a family game time. Name animals that start with letters of the alphabet-A: Anteater, B: Bear, etc. recalling what all the previous persons listed on every fifth letter adds to the challenge.
The main point is that game time with the family creates memories, relationship, fun conversation, social engagement and grows the brain at the same time. Games are always great gifts to purchase and last long beyond the moment! Classic games can be bought, made, enhanced or embellished very simply. Get your game on and plan a fun family holiday time!

LearningRx is happy to give you a list of games on the next page, as well as to make a downloadable game gift pack available to any who come by or ask. LearningRx is also having a Smart Toy Box giveaway in December. Sign up and one lucky family will enjoy game time with a winning box full of games. Additionally, a great gift to give is the Gift of LearningRx brain training/ assessments (Assessments are discounted this month to $195-regular price is $299 and Brain Training Special Trial packages are only $299 for 6 hours). With any assessment booked in November and December, the parent/client will receive a wrapped game for giving.