A guest post from game creator Ruth Curran:
….Based on years of observation and data collection, I am absolutely certain that there is at least one elf in my house and, after I go to sleep, she comes out and moves my keys.
I don’t believe she is evil or means any harm – she just messes with my sense of order and keeps me on my toes. Some days she follows me to work and moves my pens; hides the notebook I used the day before; and gets in the computer to re-arrange my file architecture.
Most days, however, all she has to do to get my full attention is to move my keys!
From www.craniumcrunches.wordpress.com 12/2011
At the time I wrote that paragraph, I knew I simply had to find a way to get better at finding those things that I need to get through my day successfully – a way to practice those skills that will help me out smart my elf, AKA my gracefully, aging brain.
And from this Cranium Crunches was born.
Cranium Crunches is a series of photo-based brain puzzles that help players work on cognitive abilities like memory, attention, and problem solving in scenes that remind them of their lives.
Games with photos help practice taking it all in and deciding what is important enough to warrant a spot in our personal storage system – all in the context of life. My hope is that these games help players improve their cognitive abilities in a positive, fun, and free environment.
How about a sample?
The game you will see below is called One of These Things is Not Like the Others (yes you may sing along).
Barbara picked the photos for the two albums and they are simply perfect!
Playing this game will help you practice two (2) distinct skills that play a huge part in the memory process: attention and working memory.
Memory challenges come from a breakdown in any part of memory’s multi-step process.
Attention is that first step and the single point of entry into the memory process – you can’t code, store, and recall something you don’t pay attention to. We are constantly bombarded by messages and bits of information from so many sources and can’t possible pay attention to them all.
Playing One of These Things is Not Like the Others makes you search a scene, focus on everything that is going on in that scene, and pay attention to the details, large and small.
The second skill is making working memory — that function that allows you to remember things long enough to either use them immediately (“Why did I come in this room”), send them to long-term memory for later retrieval (useful items that you need to access some other time), or scrap them (bits and bytes that simply are relevant enough to warrant taking up memory space) – more effective.
The object of the game is to find and click on the one image that is not exactly like the others as quickly as you can. Solve as many as you can before time runs out.
Ready, set, have fun! Click the picture to begin playing!
About Ruth: Ruth Curan’s passion and area of intense study and exploration has been the connection between the brain and daily functioning. This passion spurred www.craniumcrunches.com , a photo-based series of thinking puzzles and games that help work around the effects of age, disease, or injury (TBI) on cognitive functioning and quality of life. Ruth’s primary focus is on using a wide variety of games and “play” – those that inspire players to imagine, use strategies, and focus to succeed — as a path to better thinking, better functioning, and better quality of life.
Photo: Barbara and her grandson Mazen enjoying time together in their pajamas. Photo courtesy Katherine Younger.