Fun Games that Promote Thinking
While researching educational products to help students learn thinking skills, I came across some great games. Since this is the time of year parents search for great gifts, I thought I would share my findings with you.
In order to make my list of great games, a product must require skill, not luck to win. There must be some strategy and planning involved. Finally, it must be fun and engaging.
Games that build visual imaging skills, flexible thinking, and visual discrimination skills:
Q-bitz : Anyone who has taken the WISC IQ test will recognize this game as the Block Design test. I played it with my two children last night and they had lots of fun. My son who has some mild visual issues was a bit frustrated until I showed him how to “see” the relationship between the individual blocks and the design on the cards. Once he understood that he took off. We allowed a handicap for the youngest player of a four block head start to even out the skills difference.
Blik Blok provides 3-D dimensional puzzles to be solved. Visual imaging skills are important for math, writing and reading comprehension. The ability to mentally rotate and “see” how the pieces go together develops the internal visualizations skills used to imagine how to create and develop novel ideas.
Games that build planning and strategy skills. Excellent to help children learn to Stop-Think-Plan-Do.
Gobblet is a hyped up tic-tac-toe game. The goal is the same as tic-tac-toe, to get four in a row, or three in a row on Gobblet Jr. The twist is that you have 4 (or 3) sizes of pieces that can “gobble” up another piece smaller than it. This game is quick to start playing, but your skills can continue to develop as you discover more strategies to win. I think that Gobblet Jr is best for 10 year olds and under. Gobblet is a game everyone can have fun playing.
Mastermind has been around for a while, but it continues to be a favorite. To win quickly, deductive reasoning skills are needed.
Rush Hour is a wonderful one person game. There are a number of puzzle cards, in increasing order of difficulty, to solve.
Connect 4 has become a classic at our office. The challenge of winning depends on the skills of your opponent.
Labyrinth is one of my favorites. I love the way paths are changed when players push their cards on the board. The constantly changing mazes challenge players to re-evaluate their plan after each move.
Othello’s outcome can change at the last minute of the game. Othello rewards players who can think ahead and gain access to key positions on the board.
Games that build flexible thinking skills:
Pix Mix requires players to quickly see visual options available. It is fun to try to see what objects are in the holders. My family laughed out loud at some of the things we thought we saw!
Set requires quick thinking and visual processing. Set builds categorization skills as the players try to get rid of all of their cards by matching them to target cards.