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Smart Mom’s Toy Box: September 2011

Smart Mom’s Toy Box

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 bottom of the page for a list of cognitive skills and their descriptions.)“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 and 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.

1. CallistoCallisto Game

$17.26 from Amazon
(or $9.99+ from other Amazon vendors)

Callisto is an abstract strategy game that combines simplicity with brilliant game design. It was designed by Reiner Knizia, world-renowned and award-winning game inventor. Players are given three pillars, from which they can build outward and tiles that must be connected by at least one full side. Players compete to place the most tiles on the board. It will have everyone in your family totally enthralled, from young to old!

It’s an easy game to learn but requires strategic skills and a little luck to master.

2. CubulusCubulus board game

$22.95 from Amazon

Will you dare to face the Cube? Based on a concept produced by Sylvain Ménager, the objective of Cubulus is to be the first player to form a square in your own color.

Manipulate the cube and be sure to look at it from all angles. Next insert a colored ball or change the order of a complete row then hand the cube to the next player. As the cube fills up, the plot thickens: beware not to help other players to win! Cubulus is a funny little game, quite out of the ordinary!

3. EquateEquate board game

$20.39 from Amazon
(or $11.11 from other Amazon vendors)

Have fun creating equations crossword-style. Equate is a great math board game for family and classroom. Earn higher scores using division or fraction tiles and landing on premium board positions. For two to four players or teams. Many levels of play.

Fractions: High-scoring fraction tiles motivate players to learn about fractions. Position: Players strive for a high score by taking advantage of premium board positions. Large Numbers: Single digits placed adjacent to one another form larger numbers. Strategy: Equate is strategically challenging for advanced players who already know their math. A game you’ll never outgrow. Levels: Adapts to many levels of play.

4. Flip 4flip four board game

$11.56 from Amazon

The award winning, strategic math game you’ll flip for! Easy to learn, challenging to play and great for the whole family. This game perfectly combines math and strategy. Roll the dice then add, subtract or multiply the numbers to land on board squares. For two to four players.

5. Logic LinksLogic Links Game

Puzzle Box = $10.59 from Amazon

Logic Links Level A = $11.95 from Fat Brain Toys

Logic Links Level B = $6.24 from Amazon

Logic Links Level C = $11.18 from Amazon

Logic Links Level D = $9.93 from Amazon

Logic Links requires you to think sideways, backwards, right to left and up and down as you read the clues that lead you to the one and only correct answer. Each puzzle is comprised of a series of clues that instruct the player where to place colored chips and solve the puzzle.

Kids will be hooked on logic once they try thinking sideways, backwards, right to left and upside down and they’ll have a great time doing it! Logic Links gets kids to build thinking skills as they reason out sequencing puzzles, using 48 chips (included) to help them visually organize their thinking.

6. Matching/MemorySports Matching card game

Sports Matching Game $14.95 from Fat Brain Toys

Preschool Numbers Matching Game $13.00 from Amazon

Children will love this sport themed matching game beautifully illustrated by Micah Player. Game includes 72 cards featuring team and individual sports such as hockey, kayaking, football, figure skating, and more. Helps build memory and concentration skills.
Published in February, 2011
• 9 x 9 inch with 72 cards in a box
• Full-color throughout
• Ages 3 +

7. NoodlersNoodlers sticks puzzle

$10.37 from Amazon
(or $6.99+ from other Amazon vendors)

Use your noodle and the sticks inside to separate the groups of symbols on each puzzle into individual spaces. The catch? The instructions tell you how many or how few sticks you get to use. Great for spatial learning and building problem-solving skills. This game includes 80 full-color puzzles, six plastic sticks, and instructions.

8. Speed Stack CupsSpeed Stacks board game

$23.99 from Amazon (for orange)
Other colors may vary in price.

Speed Stacks are specially designed high-tech Sport Stacking cups endorsed by the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA) for competition.
Each set comes with its own nifty nylon and mesh bag along with our cool Stacker Training DVD, loaded with instructions, World Championship highlights, Sport Stacking techniques and competitions to help you truly “Stack Fast!”.

Speed Stacks are the only cups permitted for use in WSSA sanctioned events and each Speed Stacks cup carries the official WSSA approval mark.
Speed Stacks, Inc. is the worldwide leader in Sport Stacking (formerly known as Cup Stacking). Sport Stacking is an amazing sport of fitness, agility, concentration and quickness. Thousands of teachers, administrators, and parents along with millions of kids have experienced the benefits of Sport Stacking. Become part of the movement!

9. Tile Lock Scrabble scrabble board game

$15.94 from Amazon

With Tile Lock Scrabble, your words won’t be slip slidin’ away thanks to the special board’s clever design. There are also soft pads on its bottom that allow you to effortlessly slide the board across a table or rotate it for a better view. And, the compact size of the board (10″ x 10″), tiles and racks, make the game ideal for travel. You can play Scrabble in a car, train, plane or boat with no worries!

10. WinominoWINOMINO board game

$15.75 from Amazon

The rules of Winomino are very simple. It is for one or two players of all ages! Winomino is also an excellent educational tool for introducing children to spatial geometry.

In the two-player mode, the winner is the first to make the designs shown on the cards.

When playing alone, the aim of the game is to find as many Pentas as possible among the hundreds of thousands of possible combinations.