Marbles: The Brain Store has been around for only a few years, but in that time it has managed to change a lot of minds. Turns out a toy store can offer you more than just a few hours of frivolous fun - it can actually give your brain a workout.
Back in 2008, Lindsay Gaskins began to find her role as a Sears buyer a bit too predictable. Looking for something more entrepreneurial, she found herself at Chicago venture capital firm Sandbox Industries where the question was posed: What if there was a gym for your brain?
Ever since, Marbles has sought to give your brain a hardcore training session that will leave it out of breath, yet begging for more. Marbles’ goal isn’t just to let you have fun, but to make you smarter the more you play. It's essentially set up for circuit training. Games are focused on Word Skills, Coordination, Visual Perception, Critical Thinking and Memory, with each station trying to get a separate part of your brain to break a good sweat. There are games for kids and adults, so everyone can get into tip-top mental shape using their workout routine of choice.
Even if you've been to the store, you might not know that before any of Marbles' 250 games make it on store shelves, they are poked and prodded by a panel of “brain experts” (such as neurologists) to make sure those games are working the right muscle. Once in the store, well-prepped employees (Marbles calls them “brain coaches") help you take it for a spin. Looking for a few extra spins? You can sign up for their third Thursday game night hosted in any of their stores where you might meet some new, equally enthusiastic gaming buddies. With 18 stores in locations such as Chicago, Mall of America, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland, you have a few options.
You aren’t likely to find that kind of fun somewhere else. Marbles tends to shy away from games that are mass produced. In fact, Marbles and Chicago’s very own Columbia College have developed almost 10% of the product offerings, making them exclusive to the store. If you always wanted to enter into the gaming world, you may be in luck. Marbles reaches out to the community regularly to get new, great ideas. Who knows, you might be inviting friends over to play a game you helped create.
All of this adds up to a toy store that isn’t quite as light, fluffy, glitzy or materialistic as we may remember as kids. Thankfully, gaming has grown up and its got our neurons firing!
Find them at www.marblesthebrainstore.com