Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tip 14 - Potter Puzzles - Build the brain’s flexibiltiy, sequencing, alphabetic and chronology skills

Build mental flexibility, sequencing, alphabetic and chronology skills through Potter Puzzles
Potter Puzzles – Build mental flexibility, sequencing, alphabetic and chronology skills

There are many ways to build lists. Listing by age, by letters of the alphabet, even alphabetizing first names of family members, is a great way to build alphabetic and sequencing skills. Making it into a game with characters every child loves turns it into a fun game to play at dinner.

Harry Potter Dinner or Birthday Party Game  Ages 5- teenage  If your child loves the  Harry Potter, books, here is a suggestion given to me by Dana Truby, editor of a school administrator newsletter, that provides a great opportunity to play dinner or party games that actually build sequencing and categorization skills. Dana says she asks her children to list characters by different categories based on their ages. Alternate ways to list the characters would be:
·         Ages 8-10 - Alphabetize characters under a specific category (like members of a family,  Muggle characters, Wizards, or students at Hogwarts during one of Harry’s years there.)
·         Ages 10 – teens - List characters from a specific book in the order that they appear in the book.
·         Teenagers – Make up your own wizard names. Keep a list of the newly created names as on your refrigerator and have the family vote or give a prize in honor of the best name as a birthday or holiday present.

Other options? Any T.V. show or book your child enjoys can be your choice - some parents told me thier children love "The Simpsons" for example. There is no perfect choice - adapt it to your child's interests
Remembering names builds working memory skills and creating the lists builds alphabetic, sequencing, and chronology skills. Even better, each time a child categorizes or lists items in a new way, he is building mental flexibility – one of the hallmarks of a maturing frontal lobe – the part of the brain that allows for novel problem solving. Children love these games because they are often better at the games than their parents and because they enjoy the books so much and are so good a learning new names. (Parents:  note that as you age, remembering names often gets more difficult). Older children can build their creativity by thinking of new names.

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