5 Great Games for Developing Thinking Skills

developing thinking skills

Gaming can serve a number of purposes, from blowing off steam after a long day at school, to passing the time on a rainy Sunday afternoon. But recent studies prove gaming has more to offer your brain than just a way to kill time.

Using our guides for parents, a growing number of children are learning from video games by developing thinking skills through gameplay, and then generalizing their usage to the real world. We’ve spent years digging through games past and present to find not just the most fun, challenging, and visually-striking games, but games that can turn skills learned in virtual worlds into skills applied in real life. Whether a child needs help staying organized, learning to be more creative with problem solving, controlling outbursts in the classroom, or expressing needs and emotions, there are a range of games that can help your child develop and strengthen the thinking skills associated with these tasks. To get you and your child started in the right direction, we’ve narrowed down our enormous library of games to a few of our favorites. 

The following selection of games can help your child develop thinking skills ranging from Organization and Time management, to Flexibility and Self-Control. Read on to find out how!

Our Top Games for Developing Thinking Skills:

Portal 2:

Portal 2

Portal 2 is a first-person puzzle game that requires players to exercise a number of thinking skills in order to help the protagonist escape from a maniacal computer. Players must overcome a series of increasingly difficult spacial puzzles using a limited number of tools. This game is excellent at teaching players Flexibility and Planning amongst other skills like spacial awareness. Discover more in our Portal 2 review.




Minecraft is a game in which players may determine their own goals and objectives. A massive and open environment invites players to gather their own tools, materials, and resources and construct and create limited only by imagination. Minecraft is a great way to have fun while also exercising and improving a number of thinking skills including Focus, Flexibility, Organization, Planning, and Time Management. Uncover more in our Minecraft review.


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Napoleon: Total War:


Napoleon: Total War is a two-pronged real time strategy game that puts players at the front of the French Empire in the late 18th century through the beginning of the 19th century. Players are tasked with navigating a geopolitical landscape, upgrading infrastructure and buildings, negotiating with other nations, trading, and maintaing a military. Players are also put in charge of their armies in a realistic simulation of Napoleonic era combat, ordering flanking maneuvers, capturing strategically important terrain, and thwarting enemy advances. This game is an excellent way to practice and strengthen the Organization, Flexibility, and Planning thinking skills. Get more information in our Napoleon: Total War review.

Letris & Friends:


Letris & Friends contains three unique word games that challenge players to employ different strategies and vocabularies in order to be successful in each. Whether searching for words amongst a jumbled grid of letters, playing a game that combines a word-search with Tetris, or expanding vocabulary in WordMatrix, players are challenged to utilize a number of different thinking skills to defeat their opponents. Along with increasing vocabulary and practicing skills necessary for proficient reading, players will also utilize the Flexibility, Working Memory, and Time Management thinking skills. Learn more in our Letris & Friends review.

Costume Quest:


Halloween is right around the corner, making this family-friendly title Hallpoween-themed RPG perfect for this time of year. Costume Quest, with its turn-based combat, is a fun way to practice both Self-Control and Focus. Players take control of a gang of trick-or-treaters each with a unique costume and a unique set of skills. In an attempt to save their friends and families, these young children search for candy, adventure, and a way to rid their town of an invasion of monsters. Find out more in our Costume Quest review.

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