It’s a rare moment that mothers and sons can walk in the same store (other than Apple) and find themselves both lost in the “What should I look at/play with next” aisle. Marbles: The Brain Store is such a place. Imagine encouraging your child to pick up any toy or activity that he wants. You may find yourself saying, “Hey son, look at this” before you know it. And the best part is, you’ll want to engage with him because more than likely that item is appropriate for both of you and encourages parent-child engagement.
Marbles: The Brain Store offers brain-building games, puzzles, books and software for all ages. The store offers a selection of over 200 “hand-picked, expert-tested products that offer fun ways to to strengthen and stimulate the brain.” Members of the sales team are referred to as brain coaches and are there to show customers how to interact with the products and identify what might be appropriate for them.
My visit to Marbles: The Brain store in Columbia, MD — the first to open on the East Coast — was surprisingly fun. When we walked into the store there were various shelves labeled by the function of the brain that they address. Numerous activities were placed on the shelves for visitors to experiment with and explore. I refrain from calling them toys because I feel the label doesn’t do them justice. A brain coach immediately greeted my 7-year-old and showed him one of the displayed games that he began exploring while I spoke with store owner and creator Lindsay Gaskins.
We spent about 40 minutes in the store trying out new activities and games, enjoying ourselves in the process. One of our favorites was Solitaire Chess. A wonderful precursor to official chess, it teaches strategy, critical thinking and analysis. It makes a wonderful travel activity for kids as well as parents. I’ve already advanced from beginner to intermediate in less than 24 hours. My son is motivated to advance in the game and requests it on a daily basis during mommy-sanctioned TV hiatuses.
Here is a list of other items that Marbles sells which they market as travel activities:
- BrainBox: All Around the USA (one I also had to have)
- Spot It!
- Pocket Posh Travel Books
- Rush Hour
- Marbles Brain Games Book
Marbles: The Brain Store is a welcomed addition to the Columbia Mall and parents looking for games and activities that demand a little more mental muscle from their kids. The designated travel items can help to enhance the family travel experience and aid parents in the never-ending quest to keep kids entertained during long bouts of travel.