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Chloe's Brain Game



By Daniel G. Amen, MD


Since my daughter Chloe was 2 years-old we have often played our favorite game called, "This Is Good For My Brain or Bad For My Brain."

I would say a word or a phrase, and she would say it was good or bad for the brain. She often gave it a thumbs up or a thumbs down as a physical expression of her choice. As she got older she began to explain the reason of her answers.

For example, if I said, avocados, she would give it a big thumbs up and call it "God's butter."

If I said, hitting a soccer ball with your head, she would give it a thumbs down and say, the brain is soft and the skull is hard. Bad idea.

This is a wonderful game you can play yourself or with your whole family. I recently played this game with a group of 6-year-olds, and they got nearly every answer right! It helps children, and all of us, stay focused on brain health and make better choices.

If you want to play Chloe's Brain Game with your family, here are lists of things that are good and bad for your brain. Use these lists as a starting point and add new items to keep it fresh and fun.

We are currently working on an interactive version of Chloe's Brain Game that will be available soon. Stay tuned, and I'll let you know when it's ready.


  • GOOD

  • Almonds
  • Almond milk
  • Avocados
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Arithmetic
  • ANTeaters

  • Badminton
  • Bananas
  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Bell peppers
  • Balanced blood sugar
  • Bowling

  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Cauliflower
  • Curry
  • Cinnamon
  • Cooperation
  • Creativity
  • Cuddling
  • Chores

  • Dancing
  • Drawing
  • Doodling
  • Vitamin D
  • Throwing darts

  • Exercise
  • Enthusiasm
  • Enjoy

  • Family loving
  • Fiber
  • Flossing (prevent gingivitis)
  • Fun

  • Hand washing
  • Helpful attitude
  • Homework

  • Garlic
  • Goji berries
  • Grapes with seeds
  • Gratitude

  • Joy
  • Juggling

  • Kale
  • Kickball
  • Kiting
  • Knitting

  • Laughing
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Listening
  • Learning

  • Macadamia nuts
  • Martial arts (without head injury)
  • Memory games
  • Music

  • Oranges

  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Petting the dog
  • Ping Pong
  • Playing outside in sunshine
  • Praying
  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Reading
  • Rosemary

  • Saffron
  • Sage
  • Singing
  • Sleep
  • Spinach
  • Swimming

  • Table tennis
  • Tennis
  • Thyme
  • Touch (good)

  • Water
  • Walking
  • Writing
  • BAD

  • Alcohol
  • Abuse
  • Anger
  • Animosity
  • ANTs (automatic negative thoughts)
  • Anxiety

  • Bad attitude
  • Bad behavior
  • Brain injuries
  • Bean balls
  • Bossy
  • Boxing
  • Bonks
  • Bullying

  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Cheating

  • Doing drugs
  • Driving too fast

  • Envy

  • Feeling sad
  • Football

  • Getting drunk

  • Irritating red-headed mother

  • Jerk
  • Junk food

  • KO (knockout)

  • Lonely

  • Overweight

  • Poor sleep

  • Rude

  • Smoking
  • Soccer headers
  • Soda
  • Speeding in a car
  • Stealing
  • Stress
  • Sugar
  • Sunburn

  • Traffic accidents
  • Trauma (emotional)

  • Unkind
  • Being unsafe

  • Worries