24 cool things-to-do that work your brain at any age

24 cool things-to-do that work your brain at any age

Fun is ambiguous don’t you think?  One person’s fun is another person’s special agony (I’ve heard there are people who really enjoy cleaning the oven—never met one, just heard), but most of us find that there’s nothing quite as fun as giving our brain a workout ... here's a collection of things-to-do that work your brain at any age—with links to books to cement, inspire and connect that wonderful work.

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Bruno: a brilliant book for embracing differences in people and in life

Bruno: a brilliant book for embracing differences in people and in life

ages 2 to 8 years
Most everyone has had almost-perfect days, stupid days, rainy days, peculiar days and uninteresting days. It’s the mix that makes life interesting. Bruno is a cat who tells the story of six very different days in his life.

They’re the sort of days we’ve all had—with surprising, quirky twists. Among those days, there are totally relatable moments, like this one:

That day, the power went out on my street, At night, so as not to be in the dark, I lit candles. It was very pretty. Since they don’t happen very often, I really like days when the power goes out.

And totally fantastic days, like when Bruno and his friend Ringo, a horse, find that they can breathe underwater and end up in a backwards swimming race with their new friend Bup, a fish. Bruno muses:

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Mark & Rowan Sommerset: It's not a book, but it's something we made!

Mark & Rowan Sommerset: It's not a book, but it's something we made!

We’ve long been fans of the the uber-talented, uber-funny, author/illustrator duo Mark and Rowan Sommerset so, when the email came to say they’re selling their home, I immediately checked it out. Well, my oh my! Their publishing arm is worthily called Dreamboat Books and their house is all of that. I couldn’t wait to share it with you! Video below, but first click here for a gorgeous slide show (there’s a luxury yurt!)

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get ready for a fun and noisy chain reaction of calamities!

get ready for a fun and noisy chain reaction of calamities!

ages 3 to 8 years
When I was in my early 20’s I was privileged to teach English in China, an amazing experience filled with people, culture and experiences. And I got to visit the Beijing Zoo.

I had no real interest in the zoo itself, but I’d always wanted to see a panda. So in 42-degree heat and what felt like 110% humidity I made my way across Beijing. And … it was rather disappointing. The panda WAS cute, but

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'cause Christmas is different (and the same) everywhere

'cause Christmas is different (and the same) everywhere

ages 3 to grownup
I’ve been a John Williamson fan since childhood and a few months ago we were lucky enough to go to one of his concerts as a family. Amazing. There's really nothing quite like a live performance.

During intermission, I came across Christmas in Australia. I had no idea John Williamson had written a children’s book and just had to buy it—my only regret was that the kids were so exhausted by the end of the show we couldn't wait in the line to get it

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a one-of-a-kind book of elephant sized opposites—and surprises!

a one-of-a-kind book of elephant sized opposites—and surprises!

a lovely book for all ages
'Opposites' books are pretty great—and not uncommon. They're wonderful for building kids' vocabularies and usually simple enough to keep even the little ones interested. Elephant Elements is a book of opposites, but it's not the common variety—more like one-of-a-kind.

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hiding from life can lead to underestimating our own power—a funny, clever story with an important message

hiding from life can lead to underestimating our own power—a funny, clever story with an important message

ages 2 to 8 years
Because we all have our metaphorical caves and wolves—and actual triumphs and fears—this is a tale that will resonate with adults and children. And make both giggle with delighted relief.

It’s the story of a ‘little creature’ who lives in a cave and refuses to come out because there is a wolf who never leaves the entrance.
The wolf cajoles, entices and begs, but ‘the little creature stays home.’
In the end, it’s a doughnut that does the trick

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