Exercising Your Kid's Brain

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bowling pins score ball laneWe all went bowling today for my oldest son’s 23rd birthday.  Not necessarily cliff diving on the thrill-o-meter, but it’s what he wanted to do as a family.  A surprising fact came up during our little “festival of the gutter ball”.  He said that he has never been to a bowling alley that did not have automated score keeping.  He has never kept score by hand or had to calculate how to process strikes or spares himself.  He literally did not understand the process but has bowled numerous times and was once even in a league.  This got me thinking about all the ways our kids are not exercising their brains.  Here are some thoughts for you to help keep them on their toes…..

puzzle pieceWith the advent of computers; calculators; and a multitude of other modern inventions our children are living in a world of convenience which has created technological dependency.  It’s not that they are lazy or inept, but they’re simply not working out those particular muscles.   Focus on areas that develop your child’s speed; attention; memory; problem solving; and flexibility.  Here is my short list of items that can be used to exercise your kid’s gray matter. 

  • Learn how to keep bowling scores
  • Calculating a service tip amount (what is 15% of a 27.85 meal?)
  • Final product price with a discount (what is 10% off for a $35 pair of jeans?)
  • Tying a pair of shoes (Velcro is everywhere)
  • Basic math skills (multiply; add; subtract; divide – all in your head)
  • Determine Sales Tax (what is 7% of a $149.99 purchase?)
  • Calculate the Gas mileage of your car
  • Plan a trip without Mapquest (remember those AAA trip books?)
  • Have them balance your checkbook by hand
  • Judging distance; weight; time
  • Memorizing a phone number (do they know yours?)
  • Solve a jigsaw puzzle
  • Solve a crossword puzzle (without Google)
  • Find Waldo
  • Play a real board game (not the computerized version)
  • Walk through your house in total darkness (improves spatial memory)
  • Debate a random topic (take a position oppositional to theirs)
  • Speak a foreign language (ask them questions in French; Spanish; etc…)
  • Write using long hand (not typing on a PC)
  • Have them make up their own bedtime stories
  • Learn a new word daily
  • Learn to solve a Rubik’s Cube (I personally think Rubik was a sadistic person)

math problems brain thinkingChallenge your kids daily and randomly to solve riddles or math problems in their head.  Each of the items listed above could be daily opportunities to give your kids a mental work out....and maybe for yourself too.  Of course don’t forget the proverbial balance of physical exercise; plenty of sleep; good nutrition; and proper hydration.

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Road Trip Games for the Family

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Most Dads feel obligated to give our kids as much fun as possible every time we take them for long road trips. The point is to keep them fully occupied hopefully guaranteeing us smooth rides without all the whining and crying...and hopefully keeping our sanity as well.  Here are some fun activities and games to consider playing on long (or short) car trips:

Making time for your Kids

Average: 4.5 (4 votes)

Developing a strategy for becoming a better dad can sound like a big joke. To use the term “busy dad” in the current world is really an understatement. A lot of us dads have a difficult time trying to balance our professional or personal demands against spending valuable time with the wife and kids too. Just because your schedule is tight should not mean that you are destined to fail as a parent. 

Kids and Sports - the Dos and Don'ts

Average: 3.7 (6 votes)

Ever since my child could talk, he’s had sports on his mind. How else do you explain the fact his first word (and the next 1,000 as well) was “ball?” As a doting parent, I had no choice but to accommodate his wishes. So I got him a basketball. And then a football. And then a baseball. And then a golf ball. And then a tennis ball. And then… You get the picture. As a result, I suspect...

Learn How To Fly An RC Plane

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My mother-in-law bought me a Red Baron kite for my birthday last year. She knows I love Charlie Brown’s The Great Pumpkin (who doesn’t, after all?), and that Snoopy’s my favorite Peanuts character. The WWI Flying Ace’s flight scene is a highlight of the fall in our home, as evidenced by this year’s choice of Halloween costume.

Children's Books Recommendations for Story Time

Average: 5 (2 votes)

Looking for a good book to read to your child? I have my master list of books that are can't miss choices on the first go around...and many subsequent re-reads. These books will not only be big hits with your child, but they’ll also be interesting enough to entertain you as well. After two years of children’s stories, I can assure you your child isn’t the only one that can be brought to tears with the wrong story time choice; too much of a bad read can bring a parent to the brink as well.