AGES: 5 and up

SPLITTING IMAGE

  • Helps engage in problem solving
  • Reduces stress
  • Promotes critical thinking and creativity

Brainteasers are a popular game choice for parents, teachers, and children because these games promote learning in an entertaining way that children also enjoy. Parents gravitate toward these types of games because they are both fun and educational. Puzzles such as brain games help develop a child’s critical thinking skills and mental stamina. In fact, educators also integrate them into lessons and daily schoolwork. Different brain games build up different types of skills. Splitting Image is great for children who may need to develop problem-solving skills and critical thinking. This game also develops visual and manual dexterity. The game itself consists of a small mirror, cards with patterns on them, and pattern playing pieces. A player will choose a card and then attempt to replicate the pattern seen in the mirror. With each attempt, a player will learn from the pattern. Replicating the pattern on the card against the mirror by manipulating the puzzle pieces requires patience and deductive reasoning Splitting Image fosters creativity, problem solving, and visual perception. Every pattern card is a new challenge that keeps players actively involved in the game.

Brainteaser games help to improve critical thinking skills. The problem-solving aspect keeps the player engrossed, while the level of difficulty in the game or puzzle will challenge and build on previously learned skills. A game like Splitting Image employs critical thinking skills through the design patterns on the cards. Each pattern is unique, so the child has to assess each card and learn to use the mirror as a tool. The patterns are visually pleasing which stimulates the brain as well. Splitting Image can boost creativity and challenge players to use new ways of thinking.

Brainteasers are a fun and rewarding way to pass the time or combat boredom. These are a popular choice with teachers and students to break up the school day with something fun that is also educational. Being able to disconnect and solve tangible problems in the form of puzzles and games is an excellent way to reduce stress as well. Unlike other activities like video games texting, or using social media, playing games such as Splitting Image keeps the mind active. Studies have shown that after playing with mental games, children are relaxed and more able to focus on the task at hand. Whether in a classroom or at home, brainteasers make learning exciting.

PICTIONARY

  • Increases logic skills
  • Helps Improve creativity
  • Improves memory retention and cognition
  • Helps refine hand-eye coordination

The game Pictionary is a great group activity that can engage children in creative drawing and the development of visualizing ideas.  Alongside this proactivity towards creativity is the practice of logic and problem-solving skills. A great activity for memorization and motor skill development with hand-eye coordination, these aspects about the game create the opportunity to teach children important elements that can benefit their education experience.

When playing Pictionary, logic is used in different ways. First of all it engages the player when you are drawing the prompt handed to you.  You must consider the audience and draw something that can lead to the answer for your team, creating healthy communication skills and logic skills at the same time.  The team members trying to guess the image and decipher what is the image drawn are using the same cognitive abilities, but in reverse.  Getting into the perspective of the player who is drawing necessitates the creative use of logic within the context of the game.  Pictionary helps hand-eye coordination by the act of drawing and focusing on what the drawing is to represent, and it helps improve memory retention and cognition by putting a name or title on the drawing itself and taking the win. 

Educationally speaking, Pictionary is a great method for supplemental teaching as well, bringing it out of the classroom and into the family environment.  You can make your own prompts related to any topic you want to teach or discuss, and as a team each person can draw out the identified prompt.  This can enhance leadership abilities and create a healthy way for teamwork exercises.  Pictionary helps break the ice in a social situation and it can engage children in a social academic experience, growing their confidence and practicing pattern recognition and memory at the same time.

CHESS, A GAME FOR THE MIND

  • Improve critical thinking skills
  • Teaches creative problem solving
  • Helps improve concentration
  • It exercises both sides of the brain

Chess is one of the most played board games historically worldwide. It is played in almost every country and players ranging from small children all the way up to the elderly are able to enjoy what it has to offer. Why is this board game so popular, and for so long? Why do we teach children to play from an early age in schools? The answer is simple, this board game has been proven over time and many studies to be great developmental tool for education and mental abilities.

Chess is a fun game that challenges the brain, and the players’ abilities of strategic planning and patience. Scientists have studied the brain activity of people while playing chess and have found that both sides of the brain light up, engaging both the creative as well as logical functions, just like a musician playing an instrument. A player needs to visualize their moves beforehand, anticipating their opponents turns, and at the same time be present in a game that requires a high level of focus. A child can benefit from the multiple levels of thought needed to play a good game of chess in all aspects of life. Increasing their memory, logic, and mental capacity in general while enjoying some healthy competition, it is easy to see how the longevity of this game has come to be.

Mainly, chess is a game that works with and improves a person’s critical thinking skills. It helps children to think ahead of what they are doing as they strategize their next moves. Making plans and backup plans, assessing the situation, and deducting your opponent’s next moves are some of the skills that children acquire in chess. A person who plays chess learns to be detail-oriented, organized, and prepared. In the long run, those are great skills that apply to nearly any situation life can throw at you.

Chess directly teaches about problem solving and plan execution. Because of how the game is set up, players must think in creative ways to find solutions when their opponent challenges them. The child learns to see the different angles of a problem to decide what will be the right course of action. The child is building the cognitive skills that are crucial to success in life with every game they play. This kind of problem solving and strategic logic can be applied to other subjects like math and critical reading as they advance in their schoolwork.

For children who have difficulty paying attention, chess can be a great tool to help them to focus on one thing at a time. The game requires a high degree of concentration which helps children acquire the skills to stay focused on their ultimate goal, to checkmate the opponent and claim victory. One of the valuable lessons taught in chess is to not get distracted and be aware of the pieces and their potential moves, both for themselves and their opponents. Players need to devote all their attention to the board in order to play well – a good lesson to learn early on in life. Once you learn to play chess, including the more advanced strategies, the game is very entertaining and can be a definite source of lifelong pride.

PLAY JENGA

  • Improve Hand-eye coordination
  • Increases logic skills
  • Teaches creative problem solving
  • Improves concentration

The game of Jenga is well known for its simplicity in design:  A tower of wooden bricks that must be removed one by one, until one of the players causes the tower to collapse. This popular game also offers some unexpected benefits that are worth noting. Playing Jenga improves fine motor skills, dexterity, concentration, and perception capabilities. Game play encourages children to have fun while practicing these key functions that will be beneficial when facing various obstacles that may arise later in life. 

Grabbing each wooden brick from the Jenga stack can be a real challenge, especially when there are a lot of bricks already out. The game is designed to become more challenging as it progresses. Players must demonstrate patience and dexterity because of how carefully each brick must be pulled out and replaced. This is where the use of fine motor skills comes into play. Jenga also requires the use of logic and creates opportunities for players to problem solve by perceiving which brick is likely to progress the game and which ones would be bound to make the tower fall. Practicing observation and using logic will help children learn to identify patterns and aid with many daily activities like studying, social interactions, and chores. Concentration is also encouraged during game play, making players focus on the task at hand to accomplish a goal. 

Jenga is commonly thought of as a party game because the rules are simple and it’s incredibly fun to play. While this is all true, it can also be used as a great education tool. In fact, it’s so easy to tailor Jenga for specific learning needs that it has become a very popular game for educators. It can be easily customized by writing a topic or question on each brick that must be answered with each turn – all the sudden it becomes a fun and effective study tool. With all of the benefits and entertainment that this game has to offer, it’s not hard to see why Jenga continues to be so popular with both adults and children. 

THE BENEFITS OF THE ABACUS

  • Engaging in memorization
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Problem solving
  • Helps improve perception

Math is one of the most challenging areas in education, and teaching it to children can be difficult at first. Using tools such as the Abacus helps create an easy environment to visually and tactilely understand and learn concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and even division.  These are the key elements that form the basis of higher mathematics, and making math more accessible and easier to comprehend at an early age yields obvious and very real benefits. 

The Abacus is easily one of the most utilized tools ever made throughout history.  Its existence dates back many centuries, and yet it continues to benefit the youth today as it did the population at large back then.  What makes it so unique is its simplicity of use coupled with its flexibility of application. You can take each bead from the abacus and use it to do basic math very quick and easy, while providing visual affirmation of the underlying concepts.  Though effectively early calculators used by everyone, today Abacus are generally made to appeal to a younger audience, with bright colors, different sizes, and sometimes even included math kits made of the blocks.  They help children grow their understanding in an environment where they can consider what surrounds them logically and numerically, and apply that knowledge into real world situations.  Utilizing several beads on each line of the Abacus helps the child visually keep track of these advanced concepts when sliding each one either left or right to count or calculate in real time. 

Use of tools such as an Abacus engages children in problem solving and memorization in an entertaining way. When they are presented with problems and situations that the device can be used to solve, it gives a sense of accomplishment along with the underlying confidence of learning.  This can be something simple, like dividing to share at school and home, or even the beginnings of  basic algebra.  It helps improve perception skills and eye-hand coordination by observing the manipulation of numerical patterns and ingrains the understanding of these processes.  The use of an Abacus can help bring these understandings from the immediate physical/visual stimulation during play, to evolving into a purely mental ability to use solving whatever exercise or challenge comes their way in life.

NUMBERS GAMES WITH DICE

  • Helps improve logic skills
  • Fun and engaging way to learn numbers/math
  • Boosts cognitive skills
  • Improves memory function

If asked to picture a fun, engaging, and inexpensive game that can also be used as a learning tool, playing with dice might not be the first that comes to mind. A long-standing staple of casinos and dive bars, they have also made their way into classrooms and are used by educators as a way to enhance learning and teach numbers concepts. Math isn’t generally regarded as the most exciting subject to study, but introducing games into lessons is a smart way to keep students engaged. For example, the game Seven-Eleven is just one of many clever mental numbers games that will help players learn and practice math skills while having a good time.

Similar to a deck of cards, the value in owning a set of dice is in how incredibly versatile they are. There are hundreds of different games that can be played with a single set of dice – a second set opens that up even further. Since dice are small and lightweight, they can be taken and used almost everywhere. There are also no age restrictions with dice, which makes them an inclusive and accessible option for everyone to enjoy. People of all ages, from children to senior citizens will have fun playing. Dice games are a great way to encourage social interactions in a variety of different settings, whether this is spending quality time with loved ones or in getting to know new acquaintances.

Many math teachers keep dice in the classroom and incorporate them as part of a regular curriculum because they understand the advantages to supplementing education with game play. There have even been dice games created specifically for use as math training tools. Playing these games allows for children to learn numbers and math concepts in a fun environment that’s much more engaging than traditional study methods. Just as dice games help children develop cognitive ability, they can help adults and senior citizen players practice and retain the important brain functions that can sometimes start to slip away with the aging process. Exercising these cognitive skills will help to keep them active and strong.

SIMON THE MEMORY LIGHT GAME

  • Increases memory cognition
  • Improves concentration and logic
  • Encourages motor skills
  • Improves hand-eye coordination

Simon the Memory Light Game has been a groovy fixture in family game night since the 70’s. As the name suggests, this game will put your memory skills to the test. Games like Simon the Memory Light Game will help people of all ages train their memory while having fun. This pattern repetition game can especially help young children, as increased memory retention enables them to retain information better in school. Players will have their memory tested by having to learn, remember, and repeat long color patterns that are given by the game. The rounds are timed and players to don’t finish the sequence in time will lose the round.

A benefit of games such as Simon the Memory Light Game is that they utilize and require concentration and logic skills in play. Like many other pattern-repeating games, the player needs to focus on the commands given in order to learn and repeat the sequence. This forces the player to really pay attention to details such as the lights, pace, sounds, and colors of the buttons that will help him or her recall the pattern. Players also utilize logic, reasoning, and problem solving as they analyze the best strategy for playing the game. Sharpening these skills leads to better cognitive performance and quicker decision-making abilities.

The design of the game also helps improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Just like the game Simon Says, players have to move their hands to follow the commands of the lights. As the game progresses, the patterns become longer and more intricate and the speed of the movements will increase. These movements help to strengthen the mind-body connection. While Simon the Memory Light Game has the same basic principle as Simon Says, the upgraded electronic component of this game makes it an exciting alternative for children and adults alike.

UNO THE CARD GAME

  • Refines motor skills
  • Teaches number and color recognition
  • Promotes social interaction
  • Engages children in strategy and problem solving

UNO is a universally popular card game with people of all ages. This classic fan favorite is easy to play and great for bringing together family and friends. Another unexpected perk of UNO is the educational benefits it can offer to children who play the game. Players will utilize important skills such as problem solving, strategy, and recognizing patterns. Practicing these types of skills through play will help children apply them in school and learn how to build on this skill foundation throughout their lives. Young children who play this game are introduced to concepts of fair play and working with others.

Throughout the game, players will need to practice critical thinking and logic in order to decide when to play the game offensively or defensively, depending on the draw of the cards. Players must be able to recognize patterns in the game and use strategy in order to gain an advantage over opponents to win. Following a sequence of colors along with numbers and symbols in a game format is a great way for children to develop memorization, motor skills, and quick decision making. 

Playing games like UNO also helps children develop healthy communication and social skills. The ability to interact with classmates through games such as UNO creates positive self-esteem and greater confidence in school. It gives children many opportunities to develop prosocial skills like taking turns, and winning and losing within appropriate parameters. UNO is much more than a card game where children can learn while having fun with their peers.

NUMBERED PLAYING CARD GAMES

  • Improves math and computation skills
  • Improves visual cognition
  • Better memory retention
  • Refine logic and strategy

It’s not uncommon to have a deck or two of cards stored away in the house, waiting for a situation to arise to be used. Cards have been a fixture in family game nights, parties, and boring Sunday afternoons for many years, and with good reason. They are an inexpensive and simple source of entertainment that doesn’t require anything else to enjoy. There are literally hundreds of different games that can be played on one deck of cards and they can be enjoyed solo or with friends. Today where most of our entertainment revolves around staring at a screen, many people are choosing to come back to card games as an alternative to this. Classic games like cards help us disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other, which is becoming harder to find in a world that has been oversaturated with TV, social media, and video games.

It’s easy to see how cards are arguably the most versatile source of entertainment on earth, but they even have more to offer than that. By nature, every card game out there requires some level of thinking. By engaging in this type of active entertainment, our brains are also benefitting in a number of ways. Many number card games are already known to be effective educational tools. Playing these games forces us to use and practice a number of cognitive skills and can be used to help learn new ones. Depending on the cards and game, skills such as math, memory, logic, strategy, and critical-thinking are likely to be used – some of these all at once!

Playing card games together can be a great way for parents to bond with children while helping them develop valuable skills at the same time. Games such as Crazy Eight are great for building hand-eye coordination because this fast-paced game requires players to move as fast as their eyes can see the deck. It will also help improve cognitive ability and quick-thinking, as moves are made just as fast as a player can move his or her hands. Many card games are especially beneficial for memory skills. Concentration is a classic memory game that can be played with a standard deck and is simple enough for young children to play but can also be modified as the skill level goes up. Other games such as Solitary and Go Fish involve using logic and deductive reasoning. Players will learn how to think more strategically and use observation and analysis while playing games like these.

LEARNING MATH WITH YAHTZEE

  • Helps improve memory
  • Improves cognitive skills
  • Accessible math for young kids
  • Helps refine logic and strategy

Yahtzee is a game beloved by many, and has shown itself in many different cultures and regions, although sometimes under  different names and rule variations.

The objective of the game is simple on the surface – to score points by rolling five dice to make certain combinations. The dice can be rolled up to three times in a turn to try to make various scoring combinations, and dice must remain in the box. A game consists of thirteen rounds back and forth rolling the dice with the winner being the player that scores the most points. After each round the player chooses which scoring category is to be used for that round. Once a category has been used in the game, it cannot be used again. The scoring categories have varying point values, some of which are fixed values and others for which the score depends on the value of the dice. A Yahtzee is five-of-a-kind and scores 50 points, the highest of any category. 

When young players first start playing, they may need to count the numbers on the dice to note which number they have rolled. However, as they get more used to seeing those dots on the dice, they will be able to easily recognize the patterns of each number, so that they can see at a glance which number they have rolled. Both excellent developmental skills.

Since the game uses five dice at a time. This allows one to start working with larger numbers and adding up multiple groups. Until the player gets comfortable with the addition, they can count the dots in order to tally their scores for several of the categories on the scorecard which require adding up the numbers on some or all dice.

The player can be encouraged to use different strategies when adding up, as their abilities grow.. For example, using their friends of ten, known doubles, etc. The game also provides the player an introduction to multiplication without them even knowing it. When scoring for fives, all answers are multiple of fives. When they learn how to skip count, it helps them add even quicker. For example, if they roll five 5s, they can count it up by going “five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five”, instead of counting all the dots on the dice one by one. This is an excellent way to teach math in a real world situation.

With all of the complex probabilities at play throughout the game, much can be learned by rote and can also be discussed and helped along in the process.

en_USEnglish
es_ESSpanish en_USEnglish