Be the Boss!

Researchers find that children not only need cognitive skills, but metacognitive skills, sometimes called “executive functions,” as well. Think of the difference in the work of an executive and worker. The worker does his job, however large or small. The boss’ job is to take the 30,000 foot view. She must plan, evaluate, monitor and coordinate all the workers and all the jobs. The role difference can also be seen in director and actor, coach Read More →

Beyond the Obvious

Last week I was at the pool in the nearby gym, exercising knees and other parts for my health and well being. Two young teenage boys were there horsing around. They had thrown many foam weights around in the water. They chattered loudly. They splashed so much they got my hair wet. The knee-jerk response was to ask them what they were doing in the pool without supervision, to demand they put the weights back Read More →

Flips and Rotations

Visual intelligence is an important part of understanding our modern word. Observing the natural world around you, drawing pictures, taking photos, and making videos are all creative ways to enhance your visual intelligence. We also need to be able to create and decipher info-graphics of all kinds, including maps, graphs, charts and other visual representations of data. Here are some fun ways to play with visual ideas—related to flips and rotations in math and symmetry Read More →

Brain Strain

Our brains are enriched by trying to solve problems. Only our egos care if we get the right answer—our brains get stronger just by trying. These problems are good for people from about 10 to 100 years old. Misleading Information Each of the questions below looks straightforward, but there is something tricky about each one. Can you figure them out? Get a friend or two to help. If you get stuck, use the Internet or Read More →

It’s Only Logical!

Sometimes people separate creative thinking and critical/logical thinking, when in reality, both are necessary for problem solving and innovation. Logic is important not just in studying math and science, but in reading, understanding history and other subjects as well. Playing with logic can help us think beyond the obvious and even expose some prejudices and misconceptions we didn’t know we had. Let’s play! Be careful. Think twice. Look for tricks.     Maybe/Maybe Not Here Read More →

Wonderland in Waco

My mother would drop me off there and pick me up, usually late, usually yelling, “Just get in the car! Get in the car! She never realized she was plucking me out of my dysfunctional, working class world and dropping me off (temporarily) into a wonderland created by Paul Baker and his associates. The first time we came, we first threaded past the traditional brick and concrete buildings of Baylor to a different kind of Read More →

Anansi the Spider

My birthday is Halloween and my gift to all of you is a story and a costume about a spider. There are many tales of Anansi, the Spider, originating from the Ashanti people of Ghana. Anansi is a trickster who is keeper of the stories of their culture. One tale was re-told and illustrated by Gerald McDermott. This time Anansi is a father of six spider sons, all with unique talents. Father Anansi falls into Read More →

Playing with Paper

For now and the future, children need to know how to explore and use a variety of high tech and high touch materials. Let’s begin with paper and, whenever possible, use recycled paper. What can you do with paper? Well, besides writing, drawing or painting on it, try some of these: CUT or TEAR paper to make animal shapes people shapes letters numbers geometric shapes spirals masks hat brims eyeglasses mustaches beards finger puppets puzzles Read More →

Time Out!

How much time do you or your children spend out of doors? Michael Pollan has written a book, Ecological Literacy: Educating our Children for a Sustainable World, in which he shows that how essential it is for us to remain in contact with nature and to do so freely playing and exploring. When some of us seniors grew up, we played for hours outside daily and only came home when Mom honked the special car Read More →

Animal Trivia

This game is different from many competitive trivia games because, instead of finding one right answer, you must find as many answers as possible. Thus, this game encourages creative fluency. The game is best played between two groups but two individuals can play it as well. Rules: Take turns choosing a card. On your turn give as many examples as you possibly can. (Try to be specific, for example, say “swan, crow, canary, parrot, etc.” Read More →