Family activities for the home that are fun, engaging, and brain boosting

Family activities for the home that are fun, engaging, and brain boosting

Brain exercise

Text: Natasha Khoury

Whether you like it or not, the circuit breaker means that family time is at an all-time high. We're talking day-to-night of run-ins, meals together, and the cycle repeats. But it's also an opportune time to make the most of it— after all, this might just never happen again after this pandemic blows over.

For those living with loved ones, let us be grateful to have a support system in these uncertain times, and not let this month go to waste by self-isolation and mindless television. Now that we're all cooped in, it is of utmost importance to keep your bodies and minds active — and abiding that might just keep you sane by the time May rolls around. Challenge you and your family members to a fun-filled activity, just to keep your minds on its hypothetical toes. Exercising the brain has many benefits, including memory-boosting effects and daily functionality improvement. Why not get those gears turning with the very people you are stuck at home with? Bonus: It's also a sure-fire way to bond and smooth over any existing tension.

Complete jigsaw puzzles

Can't remember what you ate for lunch yesterday? Advanced jigsaw puzzles will help with that. Studies have demonstrated that 500-1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles reinforce connections between brain cells which in turn, improve your short-term memory. On top of that, puzzles heighten your spatial abilities, which help with reading maps, solving math problems, and even driving a car. And most importantly, it's a great bonding activity that will not end up in tears, flipped boards and family fallouts. God knows we've been there...

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Play card games

Everybody knows that card games are the ultimate form of entertainment to pass time  especially when you're drinking. But did you know that they also host numerous benefits for your brain? Research has shown that card games are not only mentally stimulating for adults, but it also leads to greater brain volume improving thinking skills and memory. So, the next time you plan on shuffling a deck of cards with your family, try out mind stimulating card games like wit-provoking Poker or memory-strengthening Blackjack.

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Engage in vocabulary boosting games

Scrabble, Charades, Pictionary  what do these three games have in common? Newfound knowledge. With every word acted out, all players are given the opportunity to learn a new word. Plus, games similar to these are a great family bonding activity as teammates have to help each other out. Moreover, studies have shown that learning new vocab stretches our working memory, making us communicate more effectively and retain information better. That's right  competitive family game nights have the power to make you smarter. Who would have thought?

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Cook as a family

With more than 7,000 food and beverage businesses in Singapore fueling our busy schedules, opting to eat out is the preference of choice for most. Our current climate however is steering people on the path of endless home-cooked meals. Hence, there's never been a more ideal time to be more adventurous with our cooking habits and bond over shared love of food. Still not convinced? You may be surprised to note that studies have shown that cooking can actually improve your brain function. When cooking and prepping for meals, executive functions that are in charge of organizing, prioritizing, solving problems and multitasking are activated. So the next time you're in the mood to fry, grill, or bake, make sure your family — yes even the little ones — tag along for the full experience.

Have a group meditation session

70,000 thoughts go through our minds daily. Hence, mediation is a quick fix to drown out all the noise. Sure, you can mediate alone at home but if you're cooped up at home with company, relish in the unique benefits of group mediation. Not convinced? Here's a couple of facts that will impress you. First off, results have shown that you can literary meet people on the same wavelength as your brainwaves synchronise while mediating. Secondly, meditation boosts brain power by fine-tuning memory and refining information processing functions. Not forgetting, the practice can help foster environments of acceptance and belonging — pretty apt for these times of quarratine.

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Learn a new dance routine

One look at a dancer's physique and you will know the drastic impacts that dancing has on your body. Aside from keeping your body in shape coupled with endurance and balance benefits, research has confirmed that dancing also helps to keep your mind in shape. Why? Because multi-tasking is at the heart of dance. Mix in dance step memorization, executing turns and synchronizing movement with other dancers  and you get a sensorimotor integration boost like no other. Family dancing TikTokers may be on to something after all.

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