Toronto, ON (PRWEB) December 31, 2012
“Keep it up, keep it up,” calls Sami, 10, as his friend Asha, 9, plays intently at a computer game. The game is Ping Pong, and she is trying to keep an animated ping pong ball bouncing on a virtual racquet. After 14 hits, it falls off the side of the screen and she has to start over. “You have to keep it bouncing toward the middle,” instructs Sami, who has himself hit the “pass” mark of 40 on this game, part of the Thinking Skills Club website’s suite of cognitive games for kids, to which two new games were added this past month.
The games, which develop cognitive skills in six different areas, are sourced from free online gaming sites such as Miniclip or Nitrome by club founder Mitch Moldofsky, “because they’re pre-tested for fun,” he says. According to information provided on the Thinking Skills Club site, Ping Pong was selected because getting a high score requires the player to focus in a Zen-like way on the screen, as opposed to other games that have fast changing graphics. This kind of focus encourages what the site refers to as “sustained attention,” one of four types of attention, each with different games.
The code to run the games is provided from the feeder sites, but sometimes, Moldofsky says, availability changes. “I was sad to see that Ping Pong was no longer available for posting on my site,” he says. “I found another game, Ping Pong 3D, where you play against the computer. It’s a bit more engaging and accomplishes basically the same thing.” The other change on the site was the replacement of two helicopter rescue games with a boat rescue that is faster to learn. “Research supports the notion that games in which helping others is the goal improve prosocial behavior,” Moldofsky says.
Moldofsky, an elearning expert who went back to university to study Cognitive Science, developed the Thinking Skill Club as an affordable enrichment program for school aged kids. The club has attracted interest from after school organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs and from individual parents from Australia to California looking for positive games for their kids to play at home. There are other options for brain training on the internet, Moldofsky says, but "frankly, most of them are boring. I wanted to build something from games that are already proven to be fun."