Over the last decade, schools have started recognizing the importance of cognitive thinking skills and early-learning. While traditional learning curricula still focuses on foundations of reading and math, research suggests that many children can benefit greatly from developing key thinking skills such as Focus, Working Memory, Organization and Time Management at an early age.
Parents of school-aged kids looking for fun ways to help their children develop and exercise such skills should start by trying out some simple thinking games to play at home. Flexible, creative thinking leads to better problem-solving skills, and parents can help introduce their kids to these concepts through the use of games. Read on for our recommendations on the best virtual and real-world thinking games to play together with your child.
Great Thinking Games to Play with Your Child
- Pen & Paper Games – Games such as Dots & Boxes, Squiggles and even Tic-Tac-Toe can be great ways for kids to develop spatial-awareness skills and tap into cognitive concepts like Planning and Flexibility.
- Creative Art – Having your child engage in highly creative activities such as painting or clay modeling is a great way to get kids exercising their Focus and Self-Awareness skills. Other fun artistic projects include paper mache, puppet-making and DIY projects.
- Word Games – Play games that tap into language humor. One great example is Tom Swifty, a game where players must use adjectives and adverbs that cleverly match the subject’s action, creating a pun. Some examples would be “‘The water in the brook is fine,’ Tom babbled.” or “‘Stop peeling me,’ the apple cried fruitlessly.”
- Portal 2 – This fantastic 3D puzzle game has players solving environmental puzzles by creating portals with their “portal gun.” Players must manipulate the forces of physics and gravity in order to win, and the co-op mode makes it a great option for parents and children to play together. See out Portal 2 review for details.