Friday, April 30, 2010

Higher Level Thinking and Your Coffee Table

Big, expensive books with pretty pictures are nice, but they don't engage your brain all that much. Consider some of these alternatives for your coffee table

Tangram Puzzles: 500 Tricky Shapes to Confound & Astound/ Includes Deluxe Wood TangramsTangram Puzzles: 500 Tricky Shapes to Confound & Astound Puzzles are always a good thing and tangrams are great for improving those spatial skills. The shapes are challenging, but not impossible to solve and since there are only 7 pieces, you aren't likely to lose any.

Soma CubeAnother great puzzle is the Soma Cube. This 3-D puzzle can be made into a variety of different shapes. These puzzles are usually harder than the Tangram, but if you persist, you will get better at solving them. If you want a fun project to do with your child, here are instructions for making one. 

Wreck This JournalIf you want your family and guests to get playful and creative, consider Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. In this fun little book, you are encouraged to do all kinds of fun and rebellious things such as poking holes in pages, drawing all over the cover, spilling things on pages, cutting, tearing, and more. We keep a copy on our coffee table and encourage guests to contribute. I've written more about Wreck this Journal here

Chat Pack: Fun Questions to Spark ConversationsWant to get a discussion started? Try the Chat Pack: Fun Questions to Spark Conversations. Guests and family members of all ages enjoy picking a card and answering the question. If you have smaller kids, you might consider getting the Chat Pack For Kids.

The Kids' Book of Questions: Revised for the New CenturySimilarly, if you prefer a book format, consider The Kids' Book of Questions: Revised for the New Century. I have used the older version of this book for years with my students and my own children. Really interesting question to ponder.

SET GameIf you are looking for a game, consider SET Game. Everyone plays at once during SET. Players must find sets of three cards using the attributes on each card. The game is quite challenging, yet kids as young as six can learn it.
And finally, if you want to put food on your coffee table, I suggest mixed nuts that are still in the shell. This is a great snack because it is healthy, discourages mindless eating since you have to work to get the nut out of the shell, and engages the brain a bit since each nut is in a way, its own small puzzle.  Just remember the nutcracker and an extra bowl for shells.

1 comment:

Kim said...

You are right ! To open a nut is kind of solving a puzzle ! lol
Solve these brainteasers and find out how smart you are.
http://www.3smartcubes.com/pages/tests/brainteasers-1/brainteasers-1_instructions.asp

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