Brain teasers have been a staple of gifted education programs for many years because students in gifted programs usually had a handle on the core curriculum and were deemed to have the time to spend with such "games." Modern educational thought, however, tends to appreciate the value that such educational games have in teaching thinking skills to students at all developmental levels. Though the public school system may not be ready to embrace it, many educators are.
Brain teasers teach kids to think about problems or riddles from many different angles, to evaluate all of the information given, and to produce informed hypotheses in order to find solutions. By using this higher order thinking, also called critical thinking, students are able to apply those lessons to their other subjects. Critical thinking is not Buddhist contemplation: it is thoughtful contemplation in the context of core content.
The Critical Thinking Co. develops and markets products that are designed to teach kids how to think in order to learn. Critical thinking fosters increased comprehension of subject matter which fosters increased retention which fosters better test scores and better grades. When education is fun and engaging, kids want to learn. It is usually when they are bored or patronized that education becomes a chore.
The Critical Thinking Co. products are designed for use in the home with parents and children working together. The educational tools are simple enough that kids can use them alone but parental interest and interaction is almost always better than the lack thereof. The Critical Thinking Co. can also provide an entire homeschool curriculum for your child if you are considering such a decision.