GAME IT UP
Japan now faces challenges similar to the U.S. with its aging population, so it's no surprise that Nintendo's Brain Age, a video game for the portable DS system created by famed neuroscientist Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, sold more than 3 million copies there. The game is now available in the states and features activities requiring math and logic skills as well as speaking aloud.
If you're on the computer anyway, why not work your mental muscle for a few minutes? Try some of these websites:
Move the family past Monopoly with Wit's End, a board game that mixes knowledge of pop culture, geography, arts, and more into literal and lateral thinking exercises.
FOR THE OLD SCHOOLERS
For the old-fashioned, these books offer some puzzlingentertainment:
• Two-Minute Brainteasers
by Alan Stillson
Find out if you can keep up with the Mensa crowd (a.k.a, the smartest two percent of the population) with these mini-exercises, which use everything from fill-in-the-blank work puzzles to short thematic challenges such as synonym-finding and anonym-solving.
• Ideal problem solver: A guide for improving thinking, learning and creativity
by J. Bransford and B. Stein
This book examines the role routinization plays in the way that we think and learn. By introducing different modalities, or strategies for organizing and processing information, you can help build a richer brain network from which you can process and create. Who wouldn't want that?