Forget the neck tie and socks for Dad, perfume for Mom, and stocking of candy for the kids. What the family really needs is a collection of mentally stimulating and brain-boosting Christmas gifts. Not only do brain games ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s for adults, they also increase the developmental brain power of toddlers, adolescents and teens. Here are six brain training Christmas gifts — ranging from brain-building exercises to Scentsational books that make reading fun — that the whole family can enjoy.
Beef up your brain: The Big Book of 301 Brain-Building Exercises, Puzzles, and Games
A fun collection of brain games that will give you a powerful six-pack brain. Authors CEO of Scientific Brain Training Dr Michel Noir and one of France’s leading neurologists Dr Bernard Croisile want you to give your brain a mind-blowing workout to keep you sharp and alert for life. The adage “use it or lose it” is ever more crucial when it comes to your brain and warding off dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as beefing up your concentration, cognitive skills and memory. Keep this book on the kitchen table, in the living room or at the nightstand and commit to a daily mental workout along with your commitment to regular physical exercise.
Available: www.Amazon.com and major book retailers
Alex Beard Impossible Puzzles
Your usual run-of-the-mill jigsaw puzzles certainly take patience and the ability to put abstract interlocking pieces together to create a specific picture, but acclaimed artist Alex Beard has a line of “impossible” puzzles that not only challenge your brain power to assemble, they also give you the ability to create more than one final picture. That means a jigsaw puzzle that may never look the same way twice. Another defining difference of Beard’s puzzles is that the pieces do not snap into each other, but settle beside one another instead, making the puzzle exponentially more challenging. While there is actually only one correct piece that combines with other pieces to assemble the puzzle as intended, the pieces can be combined in infinite ways to create new puzzles and shapes. Choose from a variety of puzzles, including The Fishery, The Abstract, The Audience, The Watering Hole and more.
Retail: Starting at $14.95
Buckyballs, also known as “the amazing magnetic toy you can’t put down,” is a collection of 216 same-sized Rare Earth magnets have become a virally popular desktop and freetime toy. Much more satisfying than the brain-bending Rubik’s cube, Buckyballs can be transformed into unlimited shapes and patterns to relieve stress and massage the creative part of your mind. Having been picked up by MIT Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, along with over 300 other retailers, this addictive brain-boosting gadget is widely available and most appropriate for those 13 years old and up.
Available: www.GetBuckyBalls.com and other major retailers
The Winner’s Bible: Rewiring your brain for permanent change
The Winner’s Bible, written by award-winning neuroscientist Dr Kerry Spackman, provides practical, proven techniques for acquiring the brain strengths necessary to grow into a better, happier and more powerful person. Dr Spackman, who has worked with Olympic champions, Formula 1 racecar drivers and top corporate executives, has proven that permanent change — basically “rewiring” the brain — is possible with the right mental and emotional tools. More than just boosting your brain power, The Winner’s Bible can transform your life. Offering step-by-step instructions, visualizations and real-life scenarios, Dr Spackman teaches you to access and take control of your brain’s logical and emotional circuits and redirect them to help you live up to your true potential. More than a self-help book, the brain training you’ll get from The Winner’s Bible will allow you to rise above your natural limits, set and reach new goals, and improve the quality of your life.
Available: www.Amazon.com and major book retailers
Mo’s Nose Scentsational Books
For the little ones in the house, the Mo’s Nose Scentsational book series invites readers to explore their senses through stories that follow a rescued dog named Mo on a journey as he discovers the beauty and wonderment of colors through his nose. Beautifully-illustrated by Amanda Giacomini and poetically penned by Margaret Hyde, Mo’s Nose encourages the celebration of life while inspiring feelings of compassion for all living things and the planet that we all call home. Colors literally burst into life in Mo Smells Red and Mo Smells Green, thanks to innovative Press-2-Smell technology. Scent-dispensing packets, good for thousands of “sniffs”, have been cleverly embedded within the books, allowing your kiddos to actually smell what Mo smells along his aromatic adventure. Mo cares about the environment, so rest assured that every wonderful whiff is safe and earth-friendly. Simply press, sniff and smile. In the third book Mo Smells the Holidays, Mo continues on a Scentsational journey of giving and sniffing, courtesy of the unique and interactive Hint-of-Scent experience. Your kids will love the classic smells of the holidays, from pumpkin pie to pine trees, that are printed on scented stickers that can be placed anywhere throughout the book. Reflecting the charitable tone, a portion of the proceeds from all Mo’s Nose books will go to the Best Friends Animal Society and support their initiatives to work with humane groups across the country — to work towards a time when there are no more homeless pets.
Retail: Buy all three books for $40 for the holidays
Alex Beard’s The Jungle Grapevine
In The Jungle Grapevine, acclaimed artist and debut author Alex Beard, creator of the mind-bending Alex Beard Impossible Puzzles line, will introduce your children to the mixed-up adventures of the African savannah’s most colorful creatures. Whimsically-illustrated characters, such as Lion, Gazelle, Crocodile, Snapping Turtle and Elephant show kids the mishaps that occur when someone tells a story that isn’t accurately relayed when retold. It’s a creative portrayal of the “grapevine”. Along with this captivating book, Beard has also created a variety of companion jigsaw puzzles, games and flashcards to further inspire your children’s imaginations and love of learning through the Jungle’s endearing creatures. Games include Go Fish, Funny Old Hippo (Old Maid), Crazy Lizards (Crazy 8s), The Jungle Grapevine Matching Game, and The Jungle Grapevine Board Game, which is an exciting race to the waterhole. Beard’s Jungle-inspired Alphabet Flash Cards make a fun game for the little ones as well as novel wall art for a nursery or bedroom.
Retail: The Jungle Grapevine book ($20); The Jungle Grapevine companion games, puzzles and cards ($7.99 to $14.99)