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Success for 5th annual Brain Games

29 March 2017

Children at exhibit at Brain Games 2017

Around 3,700 children and families put their brains to the test on Sunday as they gathered at the National Museum Cardiff for this year’s Brain Games event.

Sunday 19 March saw the annual extravaganza return to the museum for its fifth consecutive year of educational, brain-themed fun.

Visitors of all ages were treated to a range of interactive games designed to get people thinking about the brain, with activities ranging from memory challenges and DIY 'brain surgery' to the inflatable Brain Dome, which appeared for the first time at Brain Games this year following a successful debut at last year's Urdd Eisteddfod.

The free event is organised to coincide with international brain awareness week. While most activities are aimed primarily at children aged seven to eleven years old – that certainly didn't stop all ages from joining in!

Volunteer Dr Emma Kidd, from Cardiff University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said: “Fantastic response from the thousands of people who flooded into the museum and got stuck into everything with great enthusiasm, from bouncing in the Brain Dome to identifying fruit and vegetables from MRI images.”

Brain Games brings together students and researchers from schools and institutes across the University, including Psychology, Pharmacy, Biosciences, Medicine, Optometry, Engineering and the National Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI).

Children playing with puzzle at Brain Games 2017

Bethany Routley, Public Outreach Officer based at CUBRIC in the School of Psychology, explained: “Educating young minds about the importance of how the brain works is a key priority for us, and we believe learning should be fun!

“It's fantastic to see people from different departments and career stages signing up to help out...”

Bethany Routley

“An event of this scale wouldn't be possible without the 100-strong team of staff and students who freely give up their time to engage with people about neuroscience research at Cardiff University.”

Bethany Routley, Public Outreach Officer, CUBRIC

The project receives financial support from the Wellcome Trust, in addition to the School of Psychology via CUBRIC, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, NMHRI, Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER) and Siemens Healthcare. Support has also been provided by the Learned Society of Wales and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Over the past few months, Cardiff University staff and students have also been visiting primary schools around Cardiff to give assemblies about the brain and encourage children to come along to the Brain Games event.

“Delivering the assembly was a truly rewarding experience,” said Ocean O'Hara, a student in the School of Psychology. “One keen boy stated that he now wants to become a brain surgeon, so it was encouraging to see that our presentation opened his eyes to the wonders of the brain!”

Members of the Brain Games team will be heading to the Urdd National Eisteddfod in Mid Glamorgan and the Tafwyl festival in Cardiff this summer, and the headline Brain Games event will return again in March 2018.

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