NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Gift Guide For Kids Brain Games: From Simon To Cubulus

If you’re trying to combine education with entertainment this holiday season you’re not alone. The aisles of kids toys are packed with high-tech gadgets promise to challenge the mind. So which ones are good?

From the card game “Blink” to the 3D tic-tac-toe “Cubulus,” games to feed the brain are everywhere. To help sort through the options,Evie Malaia, a neuroscience researcher atUTArlington’s College of Education and Debbie Cockerham, the managing director of the Research and Learning Center at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, helped develop a holiday gift guide.

The “Neuroscience Primer” is meant to help parents engage children ages 5 to 10 in science, technology, engineering and math concepts.

Why Games?

“Learning is a very social experience,” says Debbie Cockerham. “Interacting with others can actually help to strengthen learning.”

Also, she says, many skills can’t be taught in a classroom. “[Games] give children the opportunity to practice the skills in a fun, non-threatening environment.”

The Games:

Among other games, the gift guide features:

  • Blink – promotes task switching
  • Cubulus – helps with spatial cognition
  • Fish Stix – supports the ability to negotiate interpersonal relationships
  • Rat-A-Tat-Cat – encourages the ability to reason with numerical concepts
  • Simon – helps with memory encoding

What Game Is Right For Your Kid?

The really important factor to consider is your own child. What is his developmental level? How well can he maintain attention? And also, what will he enjoy playing? You might even want to be sure it’s a game you enjoy.

If you’d like to try some of the games or discuss them with research educators before you buy them, you can check them out at the Research and Learning Center at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History on Saturday Dec. 13, Saturday Jan. 3, and Saturday Jan. 10.

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.