If you’re like me, you may still be scrambling to find gifts for the holidays. While options abound, it’s often difficult to give something meaningful or useful. This year, consider giving gifts that promote thinking.

Here are a few options:

GoldieBlox

(image credit: http://www.marblesthebrainstore.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/goldie_blox_21.png)

This company develops toys that encourage girls to become engineers. Its founders noticed that while many “boy” toys involved scientific and engineering thought processes, there were few such options meant for girls.  If you haven’t seen this company’s viral video, check it out here. You can also check out more thinking gifts for girls in this New York Times blog post here.

Quoridor:

(image credit: http://edtosavetheworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/a27c2-quoridor.jpg)

This game is easy to learn (there are very few rules and pieces to remember) but difficult to master. It requires deep thinking – careful attention and strategy development – but is accessible to kids and adults alike. It’s a quicker game than most and can be played with only two players.

Spy Alley:

(photo credit: http://i.walmartimages.com/i/p/00/01/44/68/00/0001446800009_500X500.jpg)

Some reviewers said that this game is a combination of Clue, chess, and poker — all of which are games that have thinking, reasoning, and logic at their center. The game is appropriate for kids ages 10 and up, but will challenge adults to think as well.

Obviously, there are many more brain-friendly gifts than these, but it’s nice to remember that we can encourage thinking outside of the school setting for ourselves, our families, and our friends.

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