Last Monday, the Bug and I had the pleasure of checking out Marbles: The Brain Store during their advanced opening media day. The company officially opened it’s first east coast store at The Mall in Columbia (Nordstrom wing, first floor) last Tuesday.

Not only did we have a chance to play with all of the cool brain-based learning games, we had a personal store tour with CEO Lindsay Gaskins.

Today’s 5 things? Reasons you should check out Marbles!

1. It’s unique collection of items that are entirely brain based! What is a brain store? (That’s a great question!) It’s a one-of-a-kind retail store with a smart collection of hand-picked, expert-tested, certifiably fun ways to a healthier brain for all ages. Their collection is selected based on current brain research and organized by ‘brain-development’ categories: critical thinking, memory, coordination, visual perception, word skills and age.

2. Say buh-bye to Mommy Brain. You know you’re completely overstimulated on a daily basis. And that you have way to many things to remember. It’s no wonder you forgot to send in that field trip slip or missed your last hair cut appointment. {{You didn’t? Hmm. Maybe that’s just me…}} Marbles has a great collection of brain building games for all ages. That means you too.

3. You won’t find Baby Einstein here. CEO Lindsay Gaskins has a 16-month old at home, so we had a chance to chat baby and toddler games. Although the store merchandise is typically aimed at ages 4 to 100+, you will find some items for the tiniest of brains here. Those items are usually geared toward parent-child interaction, since that’s the best way to develop your infant and toddler’s brain. “We like games and items that are fun for kids AND their parents,” said Lindsay. Check out Tobbles for your baby or toddler while you’re there. Fantastic game to help build coordination, too.

4. There’s a game for that. I couldn’t believe the sheer amount of fun games in stock — and most I had never seen before. My favorite for a young child? Pengaloo. It takes a simple “memory” flash card game to the third dimension. Literally.

5. It’s a DO TOUCH kind of store. Trying to shop with a toddler can be tough. Trying to shop with a toddler in a museum kind of store (you know, the ‘look don’t touch ones’) is just plain torture. The Brain Store is very much hands on. How can you buy a game if you don’t have a chance to play it first? In fact, that’s one of Bree’s (the new store manager) favorite things about going to work. Having a chance to sit on the floor and play with kids. What other job lets you do that on a daily basis?

Just added Marbles to my Christmas shopping hit list… Go check it out!

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