Show of hands: how many of you just can’t wait for your kids to get another noisy toy this Christmas? Anyone? How about something that requires multiple batteries? Or another video game or screen to monitor? Anyone?
No. Not really.
What will you suggest to loving family members who want to purchase gifts for your kids at Christmas or for birthdays? Do you think it is possible to find fun games the kids will love that also exercise their brain? It IS possible!
Q-Bitz is a great game for visual memory and visual-motor skills. This game contains colourful cubes that can be arranged in patterns to match a target design. There are levels of difficulty ranging from simply copying the visible image to trying to build it from memory! This is a great game for four players at a time. It can also be played in a solo fashion if someone wants to practice copying the forms.
Distraction will work your working memory! How do you do if someone gives you a phone number to remember when you do not have a pen and paper handy? How would you do if someone asked you a random question in the middle of you trying to hold those numbers in your head? This game is a lot like that (but fun!). You will notice improvement in your memory by playing this game. Both you and your children will learn some strategies that work to help you with that short-term working memory that so many of us struggle with.
Similar to a quick game of Scrabble, Bananagrams gives you and your family a chance to build and rebuild words. You can play this game with many players of many ages. Lots of fun even for beginning spellers!
Jungle Speed! Oh, my family loves this game! Who can find the matching shape the quickest? Don’t be fooled by similar designs. If you grab the totem thinking you’ve found a match and you haven’t, you need to take all the cards. Given that the goal of the game is to get rid of all your cards, you are going to want to make sure your visual perceptual skills are sharp!
Finally, there’s Blink! This is a fast card game where players make piles of cards by matching numbers of objects, colours of objects, or shapes of objects. This is quick and fun! For kids who need help in general math sense and patterning, this is a great way to build automaticity. Great for even the youngest of ‘gamers’ in your home.
Games are great fun, of course, but so many of them also build skills of strategizing, planning, organizing, processing speed, memory, and perseverance. Never underestimate the great value of family bonding and memory-making that happens around the games table. In the comments, let us know about your favourite family games. Teachers, what games have you incorporated into your classrooms that sneak in some great learning amongst all the fun? Let’s create a big list together!