Brain fitness 101 at Marbles: The Brain Store

You already know that your body needs regular exercise and a healthy diet, but what about your brain? As it turns out, mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness, and Marbles: The Brain Store at the Columbia mall can help.

The store, which opened in August, has more than 200 handpicked and expert-tested games, puzzles, books, CD/DVDs and software to stimulate brain growth at any age. “There’s nothing like Marbles,” says store manager Bree Patarini. “We are focused on brain growth. That’s what we’re trained to do,  and that’s what our products do. If it doesn’t challenge your brain in some way, we don’t carry it.”

Top-selling items include Buckyballs, the popular desk toy that comes with 216 powerful, rare earth magnetic balls that can be shaped and reshaped into a variety of structures. “They’re very tactile, and they allow you to be creative and make different designs and tiny sculptures,” Patarini says. “It’s great for people with ADD (attention deficit disorder) because it gives their hands something to do while allowing their brains to focus on something else.”

Other popular items include ColorKu, a Sudoku-like game with colored marbles instead of numbers, and Quarto! a strategic matching game. Everything at Marbles: The Brain Store is designed to help strengthen critical thinking, memory, word skills, visual perception and coordination, according to Marbles president and CEO Lindsay Gaskins, who founded the company in 2008.

Known as Brain Coaches, the store’s employees can recommend the perfect products for you and your brain.

Best of all, you can play with anything in the store before you buy it. “They’re fun activities,” Patarini says. “But they’re challenging as well.”

Marbles: The Brain Store, Columbia mall, 10300 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, 410-997-0023.

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