Yes, it is indeed that time. We’ve prepared a list of some of our favorite brain-building ideas for kids from preschool to college, as well as some other selected useful items that we like. We’ve been price-conscious because folks in our office either have kids of their own or have gotten children through college. We know just how expensive that can be.
For your four-or five-year-old, Gobblet Gobblers turns the basic game of tic tac toe into something that will make them think. Surprisingly easy to play, but parents will quickly observe how it makes one concentrate. For two players
Also for the preschooler, Super Genius Alphabet is a flashcard set that makes a game out of teaching your little genius the alphabet.
First and second grade
For first graders and beyond, Ring It! is so much fun that kids don’t realize they’re learning as they play. Since up to nine can play, you can enjoy it as a family game, or your son or daughter can play with her friends. Ring It! teaches pattern recognition and develops fast mental processing speed.
Second grade and up
Tell Tale is a game of imagination. Each card introduces a new plot element in the story. You might be surprised what tales of imagination your child can spin.
Fourth grade and up
Our all-time best seller is Dr. Eureka. Up to four players race to rearrange colored balls in beakers to match the game card. We’ve seen this game played hundreds of times and always notice how often parents can’t resist trying it too. Try it at your own risk Dad -- those kids think and react faster than you know. Dr. Eureka requires both concentration and fine motor skills, the essentials of brain building activities.
Middle school and beyond
For your puzzle solver, future data scientist or gearhead, Gear Ball is mathematically related to Rubik's Cube, but as the name implies, is a ball of gears. One solves the puzzle by twisting gears until all the colors are together. Some special needs kids have purchased them from us in part due to its amazing tactile feel. In our office we've concluded (admittedly illogically) that it is harder than Rubik's Cube. A great gift for any puzzle hound.
Undoubtedly, you’ve seen some of the new research on teenagers and brain development. Researchers now know that teenagers need a lot of sleep for maximum brain development-in the range of 9-10 hours a night. And we also know that not many of them are getting that much. Want to see better SAT scores? Regular sleep -not just the night before the test, but for several days- just might produce surprising results. Sleep the night before learning and the night after has also been shown to improve retention. * Perhaps a sleep mask would help them to get a good night’s sleep. Here’s our oversized silk version.
And large-scale research from Sweden indicates that regular exercise in the teenage years, particularly cardio fitness, creates life-long advantages in college, job opportunity and job stability. Link to that research here. We’ll leave it up to you to come up with ways to get them off their phones and outside.
If they are prone to dropping a phone, consider an Otterbox protective phone case. Now, Steve Jobs would hate them, because he believed IPhones were perfect, and cases hid his cool design. But a) Jobs was a billionaire and b) got his phones for free. The rest of us may prefer to prevent damage. Otterbox cases aren’t cheap, but they are the best.
For your environmentally conscious youngster, LL Bean has a Nalgene bottle that is modestly priced at $12.95 and backed, well, by LL Bean.
Do you have a son or daughter trudging around a college campus? We’re fans of EBags Professional Slim model. Padded space to hold your notebook or tablet, smartly organized spaces for other essentials and room for nothing else. Most of us in our office have these and like that it forces us to be selective about what we lug around. Reasonably priced.
About 1 in 5 college freshmen gain 10-15 pounds in the first semester. Some of those were likely skinny kids (once upon a time I was a skinny freshman) and it was just a natural part of maturing. But not all. It turns out that most weight gained during college remains with us forever. If you want to make it easy to get a little exercise while studying, resistance bands are a great way to go. Our kit has three levels of resistance loops and bands plus a yoga strap.
Whew – All Done! Time to relax and take care of ourselves.
When you’ve wrapped it up, take a look at the scrumptious pastries, desserts and more at our friend Ramona’s site and make yourself a treat, like these chocolate chip cookies. You might even want to make some for those kids you’ve been buying for. Send a link to the grandparents and tell them to bake something for their college grandkids. If they make too much, they can send a batch to us at www.BigBrain.Place.... It’s worth going to her site just to see the unbelievable photography of her cakes, cookies, muffins, ice cream and more. You’ll thank me.
*This doesn’t end with high school or college. If you’re taking in-person or online training for new work skills, this applies to adults as well.
Have friends who could use some help with back-to-school? Please use the links below to forward this post.
www.BigBrain.Place . Everything you need to grow a bigger brain.