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Top Brain-Boosting Family Games (+ Bonus Toylist)

Top Brain-Boosting Family Games (+ Bonus Toylist)

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next family game night, look no further! Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite games (and how they’re actually great for everyone’s brains, too!)

WHY PLAY GAMES?

Playing games as a family is absolutely a great bonding experience. It helps you connect, put screens away, and strategize. (And even if you’re one of those competitive families that—in good fun—ends up mad at each other by the end, the memories are priceless!)

Beyond the relational aspect, family game nights are great for boosting brain skills and keeping your thinking sharp. These games teach strategy, memory, visual processing, logic & reasoning, and other skills that you (and your kids) need for success in school and life.

Even simple games that require little setup or time commitment can be a fun and engaging way to connect with your kids—and strengthen everyone’s brains in the process.

OUR FAVORITE FAMILY GAMES:

Here’s a roundup of some new favorites (and classics) that will sharpen your skills and engage the whole family:

Jigsaw puzzles
Though not necessarily a “game,” jigsaw puzzles are a great family activity that all ages can enjoy. From preschool through adults, you can work together, build visual processing skills, develop strategy, and engage in conversations while you work.

Skills it builds:

  • Visual processing

  • Logic & Reasoning

  • Attention

Set (or Set Jr.)
Set is a great game to develop logic & reasoning skills, as well as visual discrimination and attention. Work individually to find a “Set” before your opponents, or work together to try to beat a timer!

Set Jr. is a great starting game for younger kids to learn the strategies and build skills from a young age.

Skills it builds:

  • Processing speed

  • Attention

  • Logic & Reasoning

  • Visual processing

Bananagrams
If you’re looking for a word game alternative to Scrabble, Bananagrams is a great fast-paced choice! Race against opponents to build words quickly with whatever tiles you draw, or work as a team to help younger kids improve their strategy, spelling, segmenting, and auditory processing skills.

The tiles are also great tools for kids to just play with and practice spelling words, explore their reading ability, and develop better phonological awareness. You can select a few letters at a time to help your kids get comfortable with putting the sounds together, building rhyming words, and segmenting different words into individual sounds.

Skills it builds:

  • Processing speed

  • Auditory processing

  • Logic & Reasoning

  • Spelling

Matching games
A classic game for all ages, memory matching games remain one of the best ways to build memory and attention skills as a family!

If your kids aren’t ready for a full game, just use 5-10 matches at a time and work your way up. You can find matching games with many of your kids’ favorite characters to make it more fun and engaging!

Skills it builds:

  • Memory

  • Visual processing

  • Logic & Reasoning

  • Attention

Chess
A classic brain game, chess helps with divided attention, executive processing, logic and reasoning, planning, and problem solving.

For adults, studies have found that playing chess may help reduce cognitive decline and postpone the effects of dementia as you age!

Skills it builds:

  • Attention

  • Processing speed

  • Logic & reasoning

Spot It
Another fun game with lots of ways to play depending on the number of people and their age, Spot It works visual processing, processing speed, attention, and more important skills.

This game requires you to process a variety of pictures on a card to find the one that matches—before your opponent. The speed component can help you and your kids start thinking faster, more efficiently solving problems in school or work!

Skills it builds:

  • Visual processing

  • Attention

  • Processing Speed

Mental Blocks
A fun game of strategy, Mental Blocks requires you to work as a team to build a structure of blocks based on various views. The catch: you only get to see what one side of the structure looks like and your teammates see other views.

With varying degrees of difficulty, Mental Blocks can challenge even the engineers of the family while still being fun for younger kids.

Skills it builds:

  • Visual processing

  • Logic & Reasoning

  • Attention

Codenames
A guessing game with a secret-agent twist, Codenames is fun for larger groups of people. The game builds logic and reasoning skills as you try to find ways random words may be able to relate to each other—but don’t guess wrong or you may release the “assassin” and make the other team win!

Skills it builds:

  • Logic & Reasoning

  • Attention

  • Memory

  • Auditory Processing

BONUS TOYLIST:

Looking for some gifts to give that will inspire screen-free independent play? Here are some of our favorites:

  • Legos

  • Stacking cups

  • How-to-Draw books

  • Simon

  • Sudoku puzzle books

  • Paint by Sticker books

All of these foster growth in cognitive skills like attention, planning, visual processing, logic and reasoning, processing speed, and more!

Get a full list of 30+ games and toys that will support stronger cognitive skills here!

WE ARE HERE FOR YOU!

As you explore new games, you may realize that certain skills seem weaker in yourself or your kids. Weaknesses translate into ALL areas of life—not just school.

If you have questions about what else you can do to target certain skills like memory, attention, processing speed, or logic, we can help!

Give us a call and we’d love to chat about how boosting cognitive skills can change your life.
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