BigLeap Games to Make Kids SmarterBigLeap is a cross between crowdfunding, like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and an inducement prize contest, like the Ansari XPRIZE or the Orteig Prize. “Starters” identify a problem and design a project around a goal and a prize. “Supporters” contribute funds toward that prize. And “Challengers” compete to reach the goal and win the prize.

What’s interesting about BigLeap, besides the approach, is that the very first “challenge” on the website is a game project. Jointly started by Dr. Silvia Bunge, Assistant Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and Bill Ritchie, co-founder and CEO of ThinkFun, the challenge aims to produce games that make children smarter.

At Berkley, Dr. Bunge has been studying how playing games helps develop reasoning and problem-solving skills.

Our small but influential study showed that playing fun, off-the-shelf reasoning and logic games in a social group for just 2-3 hours a week was able to boost these critical skills by over 30% and even boosted IQ scores by 10 or more points.

The problem is that purchasing games to support a school program can get expensive. So what the project seeks from challengers are game designs that build reasoning and logic skills but can be produced at low cost with common household items or art supplies. From supporters, Bunge and Ritchie are hoping to raise $10,000 for prize money.

With 18 days to go, $2,800 has been raised so far.

Those who donate $50 or more earn ThinkFun games as perks. The individual who gives the most ($2,000 minimum) will get a custom 3-D physical brain model (medical clearance and scan required at Berkley).

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