The Thinking Skills Club, a Toronto-based website with 6 categories of cognitive games for children aged 7-12, is offering complementary summer memberships to introduce the site. Members can not only play the games but can build a Brain Puzzle on the website to track their progress.
Andronika focuses intently on her computer screen, playing a game called Dream Tower on the Thinking Skills Club website of cognitive enrichment games. “I like it because it’s fun, and also challenging,” she offers. Asked why she comes to the club, she explains, “I go to daycare, and at daycare they have two computers, and there’s always boys on them,” she says. “Here I can play as much as I want.”
Dream Tower is one of the site’s Problem Solving games, because the player has to get a puffball fish up a tower to safety, avoiding bulls and other menaces along the way. There are also games for executive function skills, attention, memory, visual and auditory processing speed, even social skills. “Amazing research is showing that even simple games can affect behavior in a measurable way,” says club founder, Mitch Moldofsky. “You win these games by thinking about others and helping them out, and it results in empathetic behavior, like standing up to bullies.”
There are research links on the “grown ups” side of the website. In the study Moldofsky refers to above, Tobias Greitemeyer of the University of Sussex put participants in four separate situations in which their helping behavior could be gauged, from helping the researcher pick up some pencils she had knocked over to intervening in an abusive relationship. According to Greitemeyer, the experiments show that “exposure to prosocial video games activated the accessibility of prosocial thoughts, which in turn promoted prosocial behavior.”
Moldofsky developed the Thinking Skills Club website of brain games to support an after school club he runs himself at his 9 and 12 year old sons’ public school. For the launch of the website, he is offering complementary memberships over the summer, so kids can track their progress on their own six-section brain puzzle, which builds as they beat the games.
“There are other game sites designed for kids,” says Moldofsky, “but this is the only one where they can track their own progress skill by cognitive skill.” Kids who complete their brain puzzle receive a Whole Brain Graduation Certificate.