Archives for the month of: February, 2015

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Childhood games do more than pass the time – they teach children important skills. Below are five simple games that can actually teach children quite a bit – and might even make them smarter.

Hopscotch

One of the classic games of childhood, hopscotch can actually teach a child several skills. Your child will benefit not just from learning how to count, but will learn how to make connections between numbers and actions, and how to take turns – all great skills to have later in life.

Chutes and Ladders

This may be a simple game, but it’s one that’s packed with learning. The grid shape of the board means that your child is going to learn how to count, basic spacial relations, and might even pick up on the concept of odds through rolling the dice.

Building Blocks

Building blocks might not be a game per se, but this children’s toy is incredibly important. It allows the imagination to run free while giving children concrete exemplars of geometric shapes and concepts like symmetry.

Jenga

Jenga, the classic game where you try to not to knock down a tower, is filled with little bits of knowledge. Symmetry rears its head again here, as does spatial organization. Jenga is also a great tool for teaching basic physics lessons – there’s a reason why the tower gets trotted out in high school and college every so often, after all!

Battleship

Battleship is another one of those games that fulfills the spatial reasoning quota, but it also requires a child to recognize patterns and to develop basic people-reading skills. It’s as much a game of playing your opponent as it is guessing the location of the pieces, and skilled young players can actually grow to be quite the formidable negotiators as they get older.

These are all games that really work for helping a child to nurture his or her own intelligence. Next time you’ve got a rainy day, put away the movies and break out the board games – you might both learn something. If you want to learn more, follow us and read along at Bryerson Education.

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Ever wondered why every time you hurt yourself, you end up yelling, “ow” or “ouch”? Whenever you hit your pinky toe on a solid object, or when you burn your hand with a frying pan, you are more than likely to vocalize. There are people who have wondered why this is a common reaction while others never put much thought about it. If you are one of those people wondering why this is so, then science seems to have the answer to this question:

According to studies carried out by the National University of Singapore, vocalizing helps distract the brain from receiving pain signals traveling from the injured part of your body. 56 volunteers were tested during this research. Each volunteer was asked to stick their hands in extremely cold water, each one having four different options for their reaction (say, “ow”, listen to a recording of someone saying, “ow”, remain silent and passive or press a button.

Those who reacted by saying, “ow” or pressing a button were able to tolerate the pain for a few seconds longer than the rest, approximately 30 seconds or longer. Those that reacted by listening to someone saying “ow” or by remaining passive and silent did not fair so well. This is regardless of whether they were listening to a recording of their own voice or someone else’s.

According to the study, vocal utterance will help people cope with pain better. Director of the Pain Research, Dr. Daniel Carr of Tufts University said that making some kind of noise after a part of the body has been subjected to pain helps reduce the brain’s awareness of the pain.

While the results of the study are quite certain, more information needs to be collected to determine whether vocalizing helps improve the brain’s pain tolerance, and whether the same works for acute and chronic pain.

Dr. Daniel went ahead to say that while the change in seconds from the research was not a huge effect, the study was well-designed, and a lot can be learned from it. For more information you didn’t know you need, follow us at Bryerson Education.

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You may have asked yourself, ‘why does my cat have such an attraction to empty boxes?’ Scientists have actually studied this phenomenon. They did not find a definitive reason for the behavior, but they did develop several theories about the strange allure boxes hold over the feline species.

Temperature

Cats have natural behavioral tendencies and biological needs that boxes help facilitate. First of all cats have a higher thermoneutral temperature than humans.  The temperature in most homes is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, while your cat is truly comfortable when he is in a zone of 86 to 97 degrees. That’s 20 degrees warmer than the comfort range for the average human, which explains why we often find the cat sprawled on top of the radiator or lying directly on the register vents in the winter. This leads to one of the reasons a cat finds the box so intriguing. Curled tightly in a ball within the box’s corrugated and insulated walls, your cat finds additional warmth.

Hunting

The cat’s natural behavioral tendency is the need to stalk his prey.  Boxes make excellent hiding places to lie in wait undetected.  On that same theme, cats are not good at conflict resolution.  Instead of being aggressive, they would prefer to hide. They hide in situations when they fear harm; they also hide when they are faced with the unknown.  If you move to a new home, you may notice for a few days or even as much as a week that you cannot find Tabby.  He will find a dark enclosed space like a box to hide in until he feels comfortable. For cats, the box is the perfect way to deal with stress.

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A Safe Haven

Because the box suggests a safe haven for cats, they’ll choose that empty box as a place to sleep and relax, even though you just purchased an upholstered scratching tower with three separate levels for your cat to rest.  It doesn’t matter, that new tower lacks the appeal of that scrappy box you just emptied and were planning to break down and discard.  Your cats not looking for that new tower smell, he’s doesn’t care about newness, all he wants is comfort, warmth, stress-free safety and the peace his box inevitably affords him every time.

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A busy and stressful lifestyle can take its toll on anyone. The pressure extracted on us on a daily basis can be overwhelming, and without some kind of release, it can lead to depression and other medical conditions. Here are top hobbies that will help you calm your mind.

Music

There is a lot of power in music, whether you are listening to it or composing. Music can help you calm the mind and relieve stress in the simplest of ways. Additionally, music is able to liven your mood, reduce pain, and also improve cognitive health.

Gardening

153483618There is something about nature that helps people unwind from a stressful lifestyle. Unfortunately, not all of us have the time or money to go out into the woods and release this pressure. The next best thing has got to be gardening. Gardening tasks are not only soothing but also rewarding. There is nothing better than seeing a healthy garden, knowing that you had a lot to do with its existence.

Painting

Colors can naturally enhance your mood, whether you are viewing the blue sky or simply going through beautiful pictures. Taking painting as a hobby can help release tension while making your mind sharper.

Crafting

Another great way to put your mind at ease is by indulging yourself in craft tasks such as scrapbooking, knitting and sewing. You are able to keep your mind occupied while reducing depression accumulated from a stressful lifestyle.

Photography

Photography allows you to find beauty in everything you capture with your lens. You’ll be able to see the beautiful side of life, and eventually learn how to stay positive, even in the gloomiest of times.

Reading and Writing

Reading helps you step out of your own life and experience the life that the author has crafted for you. Writing allows you to express your feelings and in return relieves you of stress.

Cooking

Cooking is another rewarding hobby that will helps you reduce stress from your life. Finding new recipes and learning different ways to prepare meals will help keep your mind occupied in a soothing way.

Pet Keeping

178786947Raising a pet comes with a good number of health benefits. For starters, you will be happy knowing that the creature you are raising relies on you to feed it and keep it happy. Pets are also fond of their owners and can be great stress-relievers.

Dancing

Dancing helps improve your health by physically exercising your body, and at the same time keeping the brain occupied.

Biking

Just like dancing, biking can be a great form of exercise and stress-remover. You get to stay fit while enjoying the view along the way.

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