For those of you who have never seen Brain Games but are looking for something informative or interesting to watch with the kids then this could be for you. Originally aired on National Geographic, Brain Games has successfully managed to be both great fun and educational which is quite an achievement. Hosted by Jason Silva (host of Origins), it is a popular science television series that explores cognitive science by focusing on illusions, psychological experiments, and counterintuitive thinking. Now that may seem a little high brow but it's format is far less complicated and geared largely towards children so the experiments and explanations are well illustrated and very simple to understand.
Unlike other science programmes that talk at you, Brain Games is designed to actively encourage you and your kids to get involved. It is largely interactive and you definitely cannot help yourself from playing along with visual, auditory, and other cognitive experiments sometimes with very surprising results. It is particularly engaging for kids, even those who show absolutely no interest in the sciences, I imagine because they're not even aware they are learning as they play along. My own child was so fascinated by one experiment that she made me write down step by step instructions so she could repeat it in school for show & tell and that was quite a surprise to me considering her entire world currently revolves around unicorns and mermaids!
There are definitely a few things about the show that make it a winner. The episodes are short at 22 minutes each so long enough to hold kids' attention. Each episode covers a different topic so the variety is excellent and includes things like memory weakness, decision making, optical illusions, how the brain perceives time, motion and even how people lie. Plus each has about five interactive games and puzzles that you can play along with to demonstrate the point being made in the show. Would I watch this if I was on my own? Probably not, however my daughter does and I definitely watch it with her as it's great fun to see who gets the rights answers!