Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Games To Keep Kids' Minds Sharp During Summer Vacation

Did you experience the 'summer brain drain' growing up? Like many other things in life, your brain operates on a 'use it or lose it' basis. When our kids' brains aren't being regularly challenged the way they would be during the school year, it's possible for them to 'forget' some of what they learned. Even if they don't forget anything specific, they still might find themselves less eager or able to learn because their brains simply haven't operated that way for a few months. One of the best ways for someone-child or adult-to keep their brains sharp is through puzzles. Since your kids are probably going to be on the internet anyway, they might as well visit a few sites that entertain and stimulate. Here are some of my favorites. is the ultimate site for people who like timed trivia quizzes. In most cases, you will be given a subject and you have to answer as many questions/name as many items/etc to fill in a table within a timeframe that varies from quiz to quiz. To make it even more challenging, some tables have to be answered in numerical order! It has a wide variety of topics to choose from. Some-such as the countries of Africa-make sense while others-such as the countries with the largest population of camels-are just strange. From the first lines of a novel to Tom Cruise movies to the countries with the longest borders, you're sure to find a quiz for you. I can easily spend hours on this site, but I don't think I'd recommend that for you or your kids. :) Many of the quizzes are created by users, so it's free to register and post your own. The site is

Another fun and varied puzzle site is It is updated every day with new puzzles, but there are plenty of 'old' puzzles to keep you busy. What's interesting is that you can have a daily puzzle (or more!) sent to your email so that you can't forget about your brain. Even though some of the puzzles-such as the various Japanese logic puzzles-are pretty difficult, there are plenty of easy ones too. In addition to puzzles, they have optical illusions, riddles and various types of games. This site is huge, so there's no way your kids would ever get bored! Again, the website is

If your kids are going to be on Facebook anyway, they might as well play a few games that have an educational bent. Even if Hidden Chronicles and Mind Games don't specifically call themselves 'educational games', they use mental skills in ways a lot of other features on Facebook don't. For instance, Hidden Chronicles has various 'cases' that users solve by collecting items, solving hidden-object puzzles and general cognitive skills. Some of the scenes they have to go through to get to the next level are pretty tough, so they teach your kids to have a keen eye and pay attention to detail. Mind Games, on the other hand, is similar in the way that you have to solve puzzles to get through the ranks. The difference, however, is that you get to choose from various 'brain-training' puzzles such as logic puzzles, matching rows and Minesweeper. I myself am terrible at Minesweeper, so I usually spend my time and 'tokens' (game currency) on the word games! Again, your kids will never be bored, and neither will you! It might be fun to have a contest to see who gets through the stages of the game first!

As you can see, summer vacation doesn't have to be a time when kids rest their brains. Like many other things, your kids need to use their mental skills to keep them sharp. This way, they'll have fun doing it!

No comments:

Post a Comment