Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Brain Fuel for Back to School!

Did your kids suffer from "summer amnesia" while school was out?

Here's one way to find out: head on over to Lumosity's BrainFuel website. Check out the resources there, including their Brain Food, Healthy Brain, Brain Forum and Brain Games sections!

I tried out the Brain Games (and you can, too, as they offer a free 14-day trial) with the Rhino, and here's what we experienced.

So, first we logged in to Lumosity for Brain Training! There's a complete brain fitness program, with 40 sessions in all, 5 games per session, so your kids can not only play fun games designed to challenge their brain and help develop their memory and matching skills, they can track their progress as they continue to improve. These games are very popular now, with similar offerings on the Nintendo DS and the like.

During the registration step for BrainFuel, you can choose to enter as little or as much as you like about your child, including finding their email contacts so that they can invite their friends and chart their progress alongside them (we elected not to do this).

So, onto the Brain Training games! In our first session, we played Word Bubbles, where we had to come up with as many words as we could starting with the three given letters. This could be tough, as when the first three letters were "tem" and we had already gone through easy ones like temper and temperature, found temerity...and then had to run through our alphabet, "tema, temb..." for more.

Then came a matching game, where we had to remember symbols on cards to determine if we had a match. Reminded me of the classic Concentraion game, only the symbols here were (I think) Chinese characters. Kids do well on these, and I think the standardized testing the schools give each year really tie in well to games where they have to remember patterns.

We really enjoyed Bird Watching! This was our favorite game, probably because the Rhino and I are animal lovers. In the game, a bird and a letter would appear, briefly, on the screen. We had to: click where the bird appeared, remember the letter that showed up with the bird, then fill the letters into blanks, "hangman" style, to find the bird's name. When we did, we'd get a photo and history of that particular bird.

We excelled at the Raindrop game, in which each raindrop contained an equation to solve before the puddle filled up with raindrops. Easy peasy for my math whiz, until it started raining fast!

Lastly came Monster Garden, in which monsters flashed briefly on a grid, and we then had to safely lead a gardener around the monsters to reach the flower she was growing. We didn't realize at first that in the bonus round, we were supposed to uncover the monsters again.

In addition to the Brain Games, of course, your kids can also check out the Brain Health section for articles about the brain (including cool facts like the amount of fat the average brain contains), Brain Food to determine how their nutrition choices affect their brains, and the Brain Forum to ask their own brainy questions!

I enjoyed exploring the BrainFuel website, and I think your kids would have a lot of fun at least trying out the 14-day trial membership. You can then elect to go for longer memberships for a fee, or give a membership as a gift to your kid's friends (a gift even their parents will approve of!).

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of BrainFuel and received an insulated lunch bag from California Innovations to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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