Great Games and Puzzles to Keep Brains Sharp Over Summer Break

Background on Sherry:

Sherry Artemenko, Speech Language Pathologist and Toy Expert is here to share super fun games and puzzles to build language skills, keeping brains sharp over the summer break.

Today I am featuring some of the PAL Award’s latest winners that spark smart play.

Magicube Story Building by Geomagworld, 3 and up, ($34.99)

  • Dream product for a speech pathologist as it provides 143 characters and props for telling “The Three Pigs”
  • 5 pages of clips attach to the cubes to tell the story, changing characters’ faces as the story progresses
  • “Where is the wind blowing?(wolf’s huff and puff)
  • Builds understanding of important elements of a good story
  • Prepare for reading and writing

Bright Lights Soccer Ball by VTech, 6 months and up, ($14.99)

  • What’s summer without a game of soccer with your baby or toddler?
  • Toss the ball: encouraging phrases, songs, directions, activated by motion
  • Learn rhymes, vocabulary, concepts, opposites, counting, social language
  • Babies talk more to a face

Available at VTech. Click here

ARTributes by Simplyfun, 7 and up ($33.00)

  • Kids pick 2-3 attribute cards and draw image representing that word
  • players guess, my 7 yr. old drew “sweet” which we guessed, ice cream/strawberry
  • From jumpy, cold, gloomy, tall, busy to sparkling, wet or lazy
  • Learn vocabulary, all about adjectives and how word is associated with their drawing

Available at Simplyfun.  Click here

Acorn Soup by Peaceable Kingdom/MindWare brand, 2 years and up ($17.95)

  • Best beginner games for preschoolers encourage pretend play
  • Let’s get out our recipes and make some soup for squirrel
  • Follow the recipe, by category, counting, matching, sequencing
  • Stir it up for some pretend play

CODENAMES: Disney Family Edition by USAopoly, 8 and up, ($24.95)

  • Loved Disney movie illustrations in a grid for game board
  • Key Card shows location of their Treasure Cards to be guessed
  • Cluemaster gives clue that applies to several cards to be guessed by their teammates
  • “amber” “sizzle” “submerged”
  • “competitor “ described Merida from Brave and Lightning McQueen.
  • A mom said, “Look at the words you’ve learned!{
  • Vocabulary, association, description skills, critical thinking, all to crack the codes

Available at USAopoly. Click here

Ravensburger VW 3D Puzzle, 10 and up, ($29.99)

  • Kids couldn’t wait to assemble this puzzle
  • Wonderful opportunity for several generations to talk and assemble together
  • Play began to resemble a team as we gathered numbers by section, “I’ve got the 20’s”
  • Some were assembling by the numbers on the back of pieces while others were matching the illustration
  • All of a sudden strips of flap sections went 3D
  • Had fun as kids were surfers

Available at Amazon. Click here

 Otrio by Spin Master, 6 years and up, ($34.99)

  • Kids and adults quickly became addicted to this game
  • Seems simple at first but really requires concentration, critical thinking, strategizing offensive and defensive moves to build one of 3 configurations to win
  • Have trio of large, medium and small colored rings, ascending  descending order, 3 of the same size in a line, or 3 co-centric circles on one space
  • Players shocked when someone won, everyone started explaining their strategy–one Dad teamed up with his son when mom was the biggest threat
  • Tapping language, visual memory, spatial and critical thinking skills

Available at Spin Master. Click here

Long and Tall Puzzle 123 Rocketship by The Learning Journey International, 3 and up, ($14.99)

  • love puzzles because they have so much learning potential
  • draw the whole famiy together as being assembled
  • This 5’ rocketship was constructed by 4 year-old, siblings, grandma and mom
  • Calling out pictures from each stage associated with 1-10
  • Looking for astronauts’ feet, wrenches and “Where do the paint pots go?”
  • Identifying, naming and sequencing numbers, dscribing sections of the puzzle, using positional words: higher, top, under, next, last
  • Finished and said, “Blastoff!”

Available at The Learning Journey International. Click here