Boom, You Lose! Cannon Game That Hones Selective Attention in Children Newly Added to Thinking Skills Club Website

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The Thinking Skills Club, a website of games that promote cognitive development for use at home or school, adds a fun and challenging new game to train Selective Attention.

Sasha at the Thinking Skills Club

Computer games are not only for boys

It's a skill we use every day for reading, driving and ducking baseballs, and apparently it can be improved by playing video games.

The balls roll by as a group, like on a bowling alley return ramp: green, orange, blue, purple, red. When three balls of the same color line up, boom, they explode. "Bam," exclaims Misha, "I got to the next level." Luckily, all this only happens on the computer screen.

Selective attention is a term often used to describe someone who only hears what he wants to hear, and, as Paul Simon once put it, "disregards the rest." In scientific circles, however, it refers to the ability to pick out relevant items in a crowded field of view. It's a skill we use every day for reading, driving and ducking baseballs, and apparently it can be improved by playing video games.

"Researchers at University of Toronto found that playing a certain type of video game improves spatial selective attention," says Mitch Moldofsky, founder of the Thinking Skills Club. "I don't think that makes video games training, exactly, but it's an enjoyable enrichment activity for kids."

The Thinking Skills Club website, which organizes such games into six different areas in the form of a brain puzzle based on the skills they support, such as executive function and working memory, recently added the online game Nan Zuma to the Attention section of the site. There are many games similar to it on the internet, including Badaboom, another game on the Thinking Skills Club site, the main difference being that in one the player shoots cannons at a moving row of balls and in the other the balls pile up in a room. The reason he offers different games that have similar objectives, says Moldofsky, is variety. "Not all kids learn the same, and not all kids play the same, either."

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