I (and The Hubby too) love to come up with fun games that challenge the brain to think differently. As I started up Left Brain Craft Brain, I realized that sometimes you can do it better at home but realistically, some companies have done a great job too. Until I’ve got some original brain games ready for you here’s a short list of a few of my favorite commercially available brain games for ages 3-5. This is the < $30 / no battery edition because sometimes you just need peace and quiet in the house…
MightyMind introduces children to logic, reasoning and problem solving skills. Kids learn counting, sorting, categorizing, spatial relationships and color matching by finding the correct pieces and then building pictures. The set helps kids progress by increasing difficulty picture by picture. The magnetic set makes it a great car or travel game too.
Mazes can improve a child’s ability to concentrate, plan, and focus their attention on details. They also encourage what’s called mental flexibility (and you know that your pre-schooler needs some help in flexibility!!!). Mental flexibility is essentially the ability to anticipate, change your mind and reverse direction which helps improve brain’s processing and reaction times. Kumon offers a great set of progressively harder mazes for ages 2+. I found The Babe’s book at Barnes and Noble. Also take a peek online for some freebie printables if your printer’s toner is cheaper than buying books.
Tell Me a Story
Tell Me a Story cards feature illustrated and intriguing images that provide the components to make up your own stories. Great for all ages, too because you can start by asking what they see in the picture and you telling the story and then progress to the kiddos telling you a story. I’ve found that working with these cards has helped my ability to formulate creative stories on the fly that satisfy The Babe’s need for one more story before bedtime, too.
Inchimals are incredibly effective math blocks that teach measurement, number concept, addition, subtraction, and pre-algebra even. Since they’re so adaptable in what you can teach, they work well with younger and older kids. Plus, they’re adorably designed wooden animal blocks measuring 1” (the tiny ladybug) to 12” (the towering giraffe). Did you know that Ladybug + Tree Frog = Mouse (1+2=3).
Everybody has puzzles. My hint here is to check out the dollar stores for puzzles. I find that The Babe starts to memorize puzzles after she’s done them for a few weeks. So I pick up a few new ones every so often. Best way to store a continuously growing set of small puzzles? Cut the picture off the top of the box and put the picture and the pieces in a Ziploc. Cuts storage space way down.
Let me know what you think of these brain games and what your kids’ favorites are too in the comments. Thanks!