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Is Hide and Seek Better for Brain Fitness than Flash Cards?

Interesting studies on kids and brains are reported by Tara Parker-Pope in Sunday NY Times magazine. I will look up the original research when I have more time — near future — but in the meantime here’s the bottom line of the article.

Parents who are pushing brain fitness and development in their kids tend to focus on early reading skills, writing, and language skills with tapes and flashcards. Several recent studies have demonstrated that games like hide and seek, simon says, red light/green light and head-to-toes, freeze tag, games that are definitely from the “olden days” increase children’s success in school. The games require high levels of executive function of the brain; paying attention, remembering rules and instructions, and being able to manage and control their behavior.

Megan McClelland, a researcher at Oregon State University is quoted. “Play is one of the most cognitively stimulating things a child can do.” WOW! The more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m reminded of the marshmallow study and strategic allocation of attention, which I’ve posted lots about previously (search for marshmallow on intelligentwomenonly.com). Different research. Old research. Different type of game. Same results. Kids who could figure out how to best control themselves and pay attention to what would help them to best manage themselves also were most successful at school and life in general — forty years later.