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Smart Mom’s Toy Box: 10 Games for Fall

Smart Mom's Toy BoxNationally renowned brain training experts Ken Gibson and Tanya Mitchell have created a free list to help parents shop for toys, games, and brain activities that will help improve their children’s learning skills. (See the list of cognitive skills and their descriptions below.)“Our hope is that parents will shop wisely for toys this year, purchasing toys that can help develop the cognitive skills that make learning possible—like auditory and visual processing, memory, logic & reasoning, processing speed, and attention,” says Gibson. “Research now shows that learning skills can be taught—and therefore improved. Brain skills training does for the mind what physical exercise does for the body.”

“A parent whose child has Attention Deficit Disorder, for example, would want to shop for toys that improve attention,” explains Mitchell. “Likewise, a child who struggles with reading would benefit from games that practice sound blending and segmenting.”

Gibson is the founder of national brain training franchise LearningRx, and the co-author of “Unlock the Einstein Inside: Applying New Brain Science to Wake Up the Smart in Your Child” with Mitchell.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • A smart toy box will focus on all major learning skills.
  • Parents can help their kids get smarter at any age.
  • Brain research shows that the brain continues to grow throughout life.
  • Parents should help prepare a good learner for school by developing learning skills.
  • Parents should take 30 minutes three times per week to work on developing these skills.
  • The best way to strengthen learning skills is to use fun, game-like activities.
  • Studies show that reading problems can be prevented.


Acuity Game Set

Available from Amazon or Fat Brain Toys.

Acuity is a new game of sharp vision and keen thought! It is great for reinforcing visual spatial skills, pattern recognition, and quick mental processing, Acuity is a brilliant choice! Acuity is a fun, brain-teasing game unlike any other you’ve seen before.

Acuity is the clever matching game of quick visual perception where players race against each other or work together to discover and match hidden patterns in the tiles’ arrangement.

First, 70 wonderfully durable and vibrantly mind-bending pattern tiles are set in a grid arrangement of 36 tiles. Your job will be to find a match.

Here’s the kicker. None of the tiles match. Not one. All 70 are different. Sooooo that means to find a match, players must find two side-by-side tiles that together, by looking at two adjacent squares on each – would match the tile that you’re hoping to match. Or- alternatively, players could find the matching pattern by looking at the corners of four tiles together. If you can’t see a match, you can turn one tile one quarter of a turn to make one. It’s easy.

Easy until your mind’s eye tricks you! It’s the surprise in finding a match or thinking you’ve found a match (when you really haven’t) that makes Acuity a one-of-a-kind, long-lasting source of fun game play over time. Acuity is never, ever the same game twice. Really. Not ever.

Featuring 70 wonderfully durable and vibrantly mind-bending pattern tiles, Acuity will delight all ages. With simple rules, it is a game the entire family can play together. No reading required. You must simply have the ability to flip, turn, and match!

  1. A mind-bending, eye-catching tile race!
  2. Cleverly designed patterned tiles test your visual acuity
  3. Work with or against other players to find hidden patterns in the colorful tile grid
  4. A maverick new game with rapid game play
  5. All minds on board to master the match!
  6. Fit for families, party fun, and general good times
  7. Simple game play, no reading required
  8. 70 highly durable, vibrant game tiles
  9. Full instructions included

Board Game: Craniatics 2. CRANIATICS

Available from Amazon or Fat Brain Toys.

Magnetic mayhem. A convergence of color and clever thought.

An unparalleled collection of magnetic puzzles and games.

Famed puzzle inventor Ivan Moscovich has an eye for the unusual and a mind for enigmas. His latest magnetic collection of brainteasers, Craniatics is a visual cocktail of new configurations. These beauties will mystify your mind and open your eyes to the incredible pleasures of playing with logic.

Eye-popping magnet tiles in curious shapes are placed on a magnetic gameboard. You maneuver them. You contemplate. You consider one idea after another. You’re tempted to give up. And then, you outfox that part of you that says- it’s just not possible.

Arranging the vibrant magnetic pieces is fun in itself. Putting your cranium to good use with them is a remarkable way to spend time. Challenging another person to a Craniatics game is rewarding interaction. With a beautiful system for solving—a puzzling space that opens so that you can play neatly on the attached magnetic board—there’s no question Craniatics is well-suited for travel. And it’s even better for building concentration, critical thinking, and logic skills. Compelling magnet play and inviting Craniatics themes will delight even those most unlikely to attempt a brainteaser.

  1. An unparalleled collection of magnetic puzzles and games.
  2. Ten superb magnetic challenges with solutions. (Actually more than 10, a number of the brainteasers include several variations.)
  3. Open the magnetic box, place a puzzle and solve!
  4. Build concentration, critical thinking, and logic skills.
  5. Includes three Craniatics games suitable for one or more players.
  6. A plethora of magnetic playing pieces, game boards, and a magnetic board included.
  7. High-quality construction.

equilogic board game3. EquiLogic

Available from Amazon and Fat Brain Toys.

Nine Squares + Three Rules = One Solution
This collection of 48 puzzles will enhance critical thinking, logic and deductive reasoning skills while sharpening math and sequencing.

Each EquiLogic puzzle provides number, symbol, color or shape hints. Using these clues, players put their deductive reasoning skills to the test and must find the magic number by identifying the correct combination of tiles and numbers.

With only three rules to follow, you will quickly be scratching your brain to arrive at the solution!

memory game board game cards4. Flip to Win Memory Game

Available from Amazon and Fat Brain Toys.

Flip to Win Memory Game is perfect for home or life on the go. It includes one game board, seven double-sided game cards, and a two-player scoreboard. The innovative flipping pieces won’t get lost.

Choose from among 14 fun themes, slide a card into the game board, and start looking for matches. There are no loose pieces and everything conveniently stores in the board. Great for travel! For ages five years and older. Measures 11.7″ x 8.7″ x 1.2″.

Board Game: Fold5. FOLD

Available on Amazon and Fat Brain Toys.

FOLD is a brainpower decathlon of ten fiendishly fun folding puzzles.

You’d never guess folding 10 brilliant patterns could make you sweat like this…or bring success so sweet.

Famed puzzle inventor Ivan Moscovich created FOLD brainteasers to help you bulk up your mental muscle and have fun in the process!

These 10 smart origami challenges will send your hands racing folding, unfolding, twisting, turning, and flexing to find the solutions. Keep at it!

The vexing twists and turns of your mind will lead you to gratifying accomplishment eventually! Then, you can show the world the beautiful results!

A partial list of FOLD puzzles included:

  1. Color Windows
  2. The Mysterious Morphing Magic Square
  3. Lotus of the Heart
  4. Tricky Triangles
  5. FlexiTwist

Are they easy? Not on your life. FOLD puzzles will astound you, confound you, and gather folks around you!

  1. Ten fun origami brainteasers with solutions (Truthfully, more than 10; many puzzles have several variations to solve.)
  2. Build mathematical thinking, logic abilities, fine motor skills, and patience.
  3. Heavy-duty laminated puzzles designed for repeated folding and multiple uses.
  4. Beautiful geometric designs.

Be forewarned: these heavy-duty laminated puzzles could last longer than your patience. It’s a test of will not to crumple under the pressure.

Board Game: Icosoku6. Icosoku

Available on Amazon and Fat Brain Toys.

This puzzle is maddening!

Place the number buttons randomly on the ball. Solve the puzzle by matching the dots to the numbers so that all of the dots touching a number add up to that amount. There are thousands of ways to play! It adds up to fun—you can count on it!

Icosoku is a mathematical masterpiece. Position the tiles so that all of the dots encircling a yellow peg add up to that number. This puzzle can be solved every time, regardless of how you the yellow pegs are arranged, so repeat play is endless. Crunching numbers has never been so much fun.

Board Game: Ivan's Hinge7. Ivan’s Hinge

Available from Amazon and Fat Brain Toys.

Articulating joints bend hither and yon. Your hands fly out of boredom into action—and your mind follows right along.

Manipulate the swinging, hinged pieces of Ivan’s Hinge. What starts out as simple pleasure in flexing vivid pieces & sections- leads to head-scratching challenge when you attempt to match one of the brilliant pattern cards.

Knit together a solution in your mind… then play it out by folding, looping, turning, and bending. All wrong? Untwist, unweave, unwind – and have a go again!

Finally, you’ll alight on a solution. Then, Aha! Another! A couple of successes, and you’ll aim to wrap your mind around a solution for every pattern card included!

Match your creation to the pattern pictures once, and you’ll resolve to re-solve Ivan’s hinge again & again!

  1. Fold, loop, bend, twist, and turn to find a solution!
  2. Patterned challenge cards invite curiosity, logic, and determination.
  3. Brainteaser and mind-builder that refines visual spatial skills.
  4. Ideal for brain stimulation and relaxation.
  5. Appeals to a wide range of ages.

Perplexors Level 8 Notebook8. PERPLEXORS: Basic, Level A, B, C, and D for Math, Venn, or Grid

Available from Amazon and Fat Brain Toys.

Perplexors: Basic, A, B, C, D, and Expert

Pick up a pencil and sharpen your deductive reasoning skills with these challenging logic puzzles. Each puzzle categorizes information and lists clues below. The Perplexors Level A contains 48 full-page puzzles for fourth and fifth grade.

The Perplexors Basic Level is recommended for ages eight to nine. The Perplexors Level B contains 48 full-page puzzles for grades five to six. The Perplexors Level C contains 48 full-page puzzles for sixth and seventh grade. The Perplexors Level D contains 48 full-page puzzles for seventh to ninth grade. The Perplexors Expert Level is recommended for teens age 14 and older.

Perplexors: Grid (A, B, C, and D)

Build logic skills, one story at a time, one clue at a time! Match characters to characteristics, actions to adverbs, and logical leaps to learning. Each Grid Perplexors puzzle starts with a story that challenges the reader to figure out who, what, where and when details using a list of clues. Level A is recommended for third and fourth grade.

Perplexors: Math (Basic, A, B, C, D, and Expert)

Puzzle solvers will love these entertaining story problems that require deductive reasoning, logical elimination and math skills. Using clues, cross off words in a list of all possible answers to arrive at the solution. 50 problems increase in complexity as you work your way through the book.

Perplexors: Venn

Logical learning comes full circle! Venn Perplexor puzzles use overlapping shapes to help students sort and distinguish concepts, developing critical and logical thinking skills as they go. Level A is an easy-to-understand, fun introduction to Venn diagrams designed for students aged four to seven (preschool to second grade.) It is for readers and non-readers.

Board Game: River Crossing 9. RIVER CROSSING

Available from Amazon and Fat Brain Toys.

Forget vines for Tarzan—here you have planks and tree stumps to wind your way across a raging river, getting up close and personal with alligators, snakes, and piranhas.

This innovative brainteaser game (winner of 16 prestigious awards) is as challenging as they come. The jungle adventure theme makes it compelling to play.

Forty Beginner-to-Expert challenge cards show where to place stumps and planks to start each game, and a magnet in your feet makes moving the planks a snap. Finding your way all the way across…that won’t be so easy!

  1. Avoiding alligators, snakes, and piranhas.
  2. Engaging challenge that expands critical thinking.
  3. Riveting fun in a format right for home or travel.
  4. Comes with a handy travel bag.

Board Game: Stenzzles10. Stenzzles (Tropical, Dogs, or Sports)

Available from Amazon and Fat Brain Toys.

Stenzzles is color flipping, stencil sliding, puzzle fun!

  1. First, choose a puzzle challenge image.
  2. Then, start selecting bright stencils one by one.
  3. Turn them, flip them, stack them up.
  4. Can you make a matching image?

It’s a stylish visual-spatial challenge that brings excitement when you master the artwork!

  1. An artistic layering puzzle.
  2. Encourage visual-spatial abilities and critical thinking.
  3. Flip, rotate, and layer cards.
  4. Match your stack to the challenge image.
  5. Fun for a wide range of ages.
  6. Eight Stenzzles cards and one black background card.
  7. Puzzles and solutions booklet containing eight puzzles.
  8. Puzzle stand to display finished Stenzzle creation.