Right Brain Games

I stand corrected.  In an earlier post, I said that Makoto Shichida was the father of right brain education.  I apologise for misquoting because that’s not exactly true.  The father of right brain is Glenn Doman.  I do recall someone mentioning to me that Glenn Doman didn’t believe in the right brain. Having read some of his books, I’ve also noticed that he’s never really mentioned anything about right brain development.  However, whether Glenn Doman talked about it from the right brain perspective of not, he was the person who initiated the red dot cards which is part of the fundamentals in right brain development.

Lately, I have been pondering over the importance of getting the right brain development formula exactly right.  Part of the whole reason I’ve been trying to understand the whole right brain education movement is so that I can make sure I “get it right” with Gavin and Gareth.  Being a mother and not a scientist, I only really have one chance to do this right – I can’t simply start over on the next batch of subjects.

I spoke to hubby recently and he wondered why I was being so anal about “which right brain school” for the kids.  Although he’s happy to leave it up to me at the end of the day, he still wonders why I worry so much.  Trust hubby with his genetic arrogance to think like that.  Hubby with the “superior genes” believes his genius is due simply to that genetic inheritance.  I, on the other hand, have become sold on the idea of nurture over nature.

That there is intelligence in the genes, I won’t argue against that.  But I do think you can do a lot to bring out that potential and that there are also things you can do to squash that potential.  So let’s look at hubby’s argument:

“I’m a genius and my mother never did any of this right brain stuff with me as a child.”

(Sorry for using you as an example, darling, but you indirectly volunteered when you told me all this)

Firstly, let’s examine that statement – is hubby a genius?  Well, he did have an IQ of 160 when he was tested in school and by IQ definition, that means he is a genius.  Hubby also has a photographic memory and he has some of the abilities that were discussed in the Shichida right brain booklet.

Is it purely genetic inheritance?  Maybe not.  We took a look at some of the things his parents did with him when he was young and uncovered some very interesting things.  His parents might not have sent him to right brain schools or done any of the traditional right brain developmental activities with him but they did do something similar.  There are two things that hubby remembers specifically about his childhood which I think has a huge bearing on his right brain development: Lego and jigsaw puzzles.

My FIL used to buy lots of jigsaw puzzles and Lego toys for Charlie to play with.  Even before he was old enough to play with them, he was onto Lego Technic.  He remembers mixing and matching pieces to come up with his own creations.  With the jigsaw puzzles, his father would mix up three different puzzles together and he would have to work out which pieces belonged to which puzzle.

In Heguru, the children are required to do tangrams and other similar puzzles which are not unlike doing jigsaw puzzles.  Playing with Lego required hubby to do a lot of mental visualisation to “see” in his head what he wanted to create.

Professor C Matthews also said (of Shichida):

“The right-brain activities that I observed were game-like, taking no more than a few minutes each, held the children’s interest, looked like fun, and seemed to build on innate abilities.”

I think that description also applies to hubby and his Lego/Jigsaw puzzles.  Perhaps hubby did not do formal right brain education per se, but he did do activities that helped to develop his right brain.  So what’s the take home message?  Well, it is only a study of one, but I don’t think I’ll be scrimping on jigsaw puzzles or Lego…

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

5 thoughts on “Right Brain Games

  1. Depends on the game. If it is a game that needs creativity involved then yes. The right side of the brain is creativity, imaginative, and seeing things in nonlogical ways. The left is logical, realistic, and not so much creative. I hoped that helped.

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  2. Lego is wonderful for creativity.

    Yeah! Liverpool fans are geniuses! I’ve been a fan since I was 5. 😉

    Hubby is a genius. That’s why he will bring you guys to visit us in June! 😀 😀 😀

    Huge hugs!

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  3. Yeah, jigsaw puzzles & Lego (or similar blocks) are fantastic tools to help kids develop mentally. These have been my favourite games, somehow I was drawn to them. (I regularly did 500 to 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles.) Jigsaw puzzles trains the patience & somewhat photographic memory for details.

    However, not all children enjoy these 2 activities. This is where I think nature plays a part. My youngest sister never had the patience for jigsaws & didn’t like Lego. Academically, she’s much weaker. It’d be hard to nurture a child with these activities if he isn’t interested in the first place.

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  4. Mrs Top Monkey – we have yet to test that hypothesis on Gavin… He hasn’t shown any football team preferences as yet.

    Mephala – re: Lego – unfortunately, all Gavin does with them these days is re-create train wreckage scenes. He’s obsessed with destruction.

    Not sure if hubby reads the comments, but I’ll be sure to tell him 😉

    Mie Vie – Gavin loves Lego and Jigsaws. If only he would use them for their intended purpose. You can’t say he doesn’t have imagination, though. He mixes up all the pieces of his jigsaws and serves them as “pretend food”. The only practice he gets is when I make him sort them out and put them back together.

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