We recently spent an evening with my son’s family matching wits with puzzles from a fun book titled Match Wits with Mensa.

Our family does enjoy mental challenges and besting one another in sports, games, and jokes, but we’re not Mensa members.

175px-Mensa_logo_svgThe word mensa means “table” in Latin, and is symbolized in the organization’s logo, which depicts the round-table nature of the organization and the coming together of equals

Mensa began in Oxford, England, in 1946 by Roland Berrill, an Australian barrister, and Dr. Lancelot Ware, a British scientist and lawyer. Their idea was to form a group for people with high IQs that would be non-political and free from all social distinctions.

Mensa has grown to an international organization with more than 110,000 members in fifty national groups.

The largest U.S. Mensa group is in the Chicago area. Every year around Halloween, the group hosts a costume party for which many members create pun-based costumes. Check out the American Mensa website here: http://www.us.mensa.org/

Mensa’s purposes:

  1. to identify and to foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity
  2. to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence
  3. to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members

The organization also provides programs for gifted children, literacy, and scholarships.

Sometimes, I think we forget to challenge and train our brains, which we should do–especially as we age. Brain cells do die off, you know.

You don’t have to be a Mensa member to be intellectually stimulated. You can build brainpower with:

  • Puzzles from Matching Wits with Mensa like we did. Click to purchase:

mensa bookcover

  • Jigsaw or crossword puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Word games like Scrabble
  • Trivia mind games

There are oodles of books available as well as on-line sites like Brainbashers or Mensa’s game page.

When I taught school, I began each class with a thinking warm-up—puzzles, logic problems, and review questions from lessons. The puzzles and thinking problems were by far the students’ favorite.

YOUR TURN: Try these brain warm-ups and put your answers in a comment.

The first commenter – who gets all three brain warm-ups correct – will receive a free copy of Love in the Morning Calm.

EXAMPLE:  7 D in a W = 7 days in a week 

  1. W of the AW
  2. S on a S S
  3. 64 on a C