“Use it or lose it!” Wise words not just for your body, but also your brain.
Here’s a roundup of gifts that teach and stretch the brain, while being fun for adults and children.
SPOT IT! This tiny round tin has a lot to offer. A great travel-size game for 2 to 8 players, ages 7 and up. This fast-paced game develops visual perception and matching skills as you try to spot one matching symbol between 2 cards. It sounds easy, but it’s challenging and fun for all ages. $13, Marbles: The Brain Store
COLORKU For Sudoku fans or right-brained folks who prefer colors to numbers. It plays like Sudoku but uses colored marbles on a wooden board. For one person, but two could play, too. It seems simple, but this is a logic game that works both sides of your brain. $30, Village Toy Shop
DAKIM BRAINFITNESS A software package (Mac and PC) for Baby Boomers on up. Daily 20- to 30-minute sessions or “brain games” use funny stories, film clips, music and 20th century popular culture to exercise your brain. It was developed by scientists to “cross-train the brain in 6 cognitive domains.” $250, Marbles: The Brain Store
QWIRKLE MindWare’s most awarded game of all time. It’s for 2 to 4 players, ages 6 and up. Using logic and strategy you earn points by building rows and columns of blocks (108 blocks total!) that have matching shapes and colors. It seems like a simple concept, but it requires tactical, planned, well-calculated maneuvers. $25, mindware.com
BRAINBOX “How much can you remember in 10 seconds?” Good question. All 8 BrainBox games are 55-cards in a sturdy box ranging in topics from “My First Brain Box” (ages 4 and up), to “All Around the World,” “Nature” and “Presidents” (all suitable for ages 8 and up). The game gives you 10 seconds to memorize as many details on a card as possible. It’s excellent for memory recall while teaching facts on a subject. The game moves fast and keeps players on their toes. $15 mindware.com and Village Toy Shop
THINKFUN KNOT SO FAST Knot tying is not just for boy scouts any more. This is an innovative new gift with 40 knot tying challenges. It tests who can tie a series of knots the fastest. Play solo for practice or with other players. Recommended for ages 8 and up. It teaches teamwork, spatial development and manual dexterity in young and mature players. $20, Learning Express
WORD ON THE STREET Like the classic word game Scrabble, this interactive party game for 2 to 8 players, ages 12 to adult, requires mental quickness and taps into vocabulary, spelling and reading skills. $25, Children’s Gift Shop
BRAINWARE SAFARI A win-win for parents and kids: video games that teach you something! A software program for kids ages 6-12 in a video-game format. It uses “clinically proven cognitive development techniques” while kids are on jungle-themed adventures. The program helps children with attention memory, visual processing, auditory processing, sensory integration and thinking skills. $150, Marbles: The Brain Store