Brain Games on a Rainy Day

 

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[from funny-pictures.picphotos.net]

When I was a child, away from the watchful eyes of adults, I often played in the rain. My siblings and I made puddles in the mud, innocently leaving tracks to be discovered by our parents the following day. On rainy days when adults supervised us, we were consigned to doing extra schoolwork indoors, playing board games or at a minimum reading a book.

As an adult, I no longer play in the rain. There’s always household chores to be done. Moreover, although it’s not “Water, water everywhere” (as in the Coleridge poem) during rainy seasons like these here in central Florida, there’s enough of a downpour to curtail my outdoor activities.

 

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Castaway Point Park, Palm Bay, FL

 

But let’s not forget that rainy days present opportune time to engage in a new activity. I suggest we consider doing some brain exercises.

Why Your Brain Needs Exercise

As we get older, our bodies – and brains – slow down, and with this lagging speed comes a decrease in our ability to understand and/or respond to certain situations. There are games and exercises that can improve your processing speed. (Note that evidence regarding whether or not brain games really improve mental function remains inconclusive, but the science in support of the benefits of brain exercises is growing.)

In the following exercise designed to improve the brain’s processing speed, all you need are the following: a deck of playing cards, a pen or pencil, paper, and a watch or clock with a second hand [from No More Brain Drain by Reader’s Digest].

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Sort for Speed #1

1. Prepare. Shuffle the deck well and place it face down in front of you.
2. Begin. Note the time when you begin. Pick up the deck and sort the cards into four piles by suit. Do this as quickly as you can. When you finish sorting, look at the clock and note the time.
3. Finish. Write down how long it took you to complete the exercise. Try to beat your time next time. Then, for your own information look through the piles to see how accurate you were. Write down the number of mistakes you made.

Time____________
Number of mistakes____________

Sort for Speed #2 (One Step Harder)

1. Note the time you begin. Quickly separate the deck into piles by suit, as was the case in Sort for Speed #1. Afterwards, take each pile and order the cards by number, with aces low and face cards in this order: jacks, queens, kings. Record your time only after both phases of the exercise are complete.

Time____________
Number of mistakes____________

Sort for Speed #3 (Two Steps Harder)

Note the time you begin. Separate the deck into six piles – aces in one pile, face cards in a second pile, and four piles of numbered cards by suit. Do not record your time until all phases of the exercise are complete.

Time__________
Number of mistakes____________

Like most activities, we get better with practice. Consider using some of the resources available to make mentally stimulating activities like brain games a daily pursuit.

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