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To keep a kid away from the screens, there are a lot of different mind development games and activities that will help develop their thinking and stimulate their minds. These are called brain games! These games will surely catch the short attention span attention of the little boys and girls.

Brain games are important in child’s play. It’s an integral part of development. Kids don’t just play to have fun, playing these games is their way of learning! That is why we prepared a list of the top brain games you should let your kids play!

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Top 20 Brain Games For Kids

1. Blocks

This game is best for kids aging 2-4 years old. It is one of the most and all-time basic brain games for kids. Because of its effectiveness and simplicity, it remains as a constant in all toy stores and a kids’ favorite ever since the beginning of time.

It’s very easy to play because all you need to do is expose your child to blocks of different colors and sizes…and that’s it! Let your child explore the blocks. You can build something first, let your kids watch closely so that the little ones can get an idea. You can show him pictures of examples and you can even watch video tutorials and then copy the ideas. Or you can just leave them be and let their imagination run wild!

(A piece of advice, make sure to remind your two year-olds not to put the blocks in their mouths. Some blocks can be very small! This is the reason why you should also watch them while playing.)

While playing with blocks, all aspects of your kids’ development are exposed. This includes shape/color recognition, creativity, spatial awareness, and so much more!

2. Scavenger Hunt

Kiddie scavenger hunts is a very effective game that would develop and improve your child’s cognitive thinking. It’s a great game to make them familiarize themselves with the names of things on the list and what it looks like. It can also help kids learn how to follow instructions, enhance attention, develop language and increase their spatial awareness.

All you have to do is hide or simply place items on the list in a cluttered environment and give them time to collect the items. Scavenger hunts can be easily customized and can keep your children occupied for hours!

No time to organize a scavenger hunt? You can just mention random stuff and make them look for it. Another great alternative are online scavenger hunt games and apps that have bright and child-friendly graphics. Kids love everything colorful and cheery. They’ll surely have fun finding the items on the list but of course, try to limit their screen time.

3. Simon Says

Here is another game that would really improve your kid’s cognitive skills and ability to follow instructions. It also tests the little one’s attention span and listening skills. If you think about it, this brain game can also promote obedience in children.

All you have to do is think of a list of things you want the kids to do and just instruct them to do it by saying “Simon says…” followed by your instruction. Whatever you say, they must do. Consider the children’s ages and abilities in choosing which tasks to give them.

Here are some great examples you can use to start your game:

  • Simon says jump in the air three times.
  • Simon says stick out your tongue while singing the Happy Birthday song.
  • Simon says put on some lipsticks.
  • Simon says ask for a dollar from your mom.
  • Simon says get an item whose color is your favorite.
  • Simon says lift both of your hands up until the game is over.
  • Simon says lift both your legs in the air for five minutes.
  • Simon says kiss your crush on the cheek.
  • Simon says drink two glasses of water.
  • Simon says hold hands with your seatmate for one minute.

Of course, when the kid refuses to follow, you can give them a consequence. If they’re not comfortable doing it, don’t give them a hard time, though!

4. Phonic Fun

This game is a simple brain exercise that will test your kids’ verbal fluency! You can play it with your kids anywhere you like. In the car, in the mall or just when you are all bored, you can try this one out. What’s so great is that you can play it with the kids! This game helps kids (and you) to think quickly.

The rule of the game is simple. Everyone is given his or her turn to complete the statement “I am going to _ _ _ _ _ and I’m taking _ _ _ _ _ ”. The catch is that you need to use words that start with A then B then C and so on. For every turn, use the letter of the alphabet that you got.

For example, I am going to AUSTRIA and I’m taking AUNT Hilda with me. I am going to the BOAT and I’m taking my BAG. I am going to CANADA and I’m taking my CARDIGAN. You will be amazed and amused by the words the kids could think of!

5. Memory Game

As the name suggests, kids who constantly play memory games can really improve their memory in a fun and entertaining way! You will be sure that this game will exercise the little one’s brain, improve his/her concentration and train visual memory. It could also boost focus and attention.

There are a lot of variations of memory games. You can increase or decrease complexity by changing the number of elements, depending on your evaluation of your child’s level of abilities. Here is a very simple version of a memory game that kids will enjoy!

You start the game by saying, “When we go to the beach I will bring a _ _ _ _ _ .” If the first player is Ben, he should complete the sentence. The next player should then say, “When we go to the beach, Ben will bring a _ _ _ _ _ , I will bring a _ _ _ _ _ .”. The game goes on and the next player should continue mentioning the previous items stated by the previous players and then add his/her own.

The goal is to keep the chain going till someone breaks the chain!

6. Count The Shapes

This game is very simple yet very fun and mind-boggling also. It will definitely develop kids’ pre-math skills and also let them be familiarized with shapes at the same time!

You can come up with your own version but the simplest would be to instruct your little one to count all the circles or squares or rectangles they can find in the room. It’s going to be challenging but observe his/her counts, try to correct him/her if necessary. It’s all part of the learning process.

Another version can be found in activity books wherein there are a lot of drawings of different shapes. Just let your kid count. They will be learning about numbers and shapes at the same time! Kids will surely enjoy the challenge.

7. Riddles

Riddles are for older kids who already have the ability to understand and think creatively in order to answer these fun and witty questions with fun and witty answers! You can turn it into a game and divide the children into groups. Riddles for kids are usually the funny ones.

Enjoy our list of riddles for kids!

  • What gets wetter as it dries? (Answer: towel)
  • Say my name and I’ll be broken. (Answer: silence)
  • I am very simple and all I can do is point. I guide people in the right direction! (Answer: compass)
  • I am a white chest without a key or opening. I have gold inside of me. (Answer: egg)
  • Feed me and I’ll live, Give me water and I’ll die. (Answer: water)
  • I have legs but I can’t walk. (Answer: table)
  • I have teeth but I can’t bite. (Answer: comb)
  • I am only half human. I spend my days sitting on rocks, combing my hair and singing songs. (Answer: mermaid)
  • I have words but I cannot speak. (Answer: book)
  • What do you call a sad strawberry? (Answer: blueberry)

8. Spot the Difference

This awesome for kids is simple to understand and will really test the kids’ ability to observe and improve their attention to detail. There are a lot of ways you can play this game right now. The materials are very easy to access and kids can play it anytime.

In the game you will be given two seemingly the same images with minimal differences. For example the first image could have a flower that’s missing from the second image. There are books that contain hundreds of image pairs for kids to enjoy. All they have to do is encircle the differences!

Of course, there are also lots of online games and apps that you can download to have access to unlimited levels of fun for this type of game! Most games will just require you to tap on the differences. Once you find all the differences, you can proceed to the next level.

Kids also need to exercise their eyes and this game will give that to you!

9. Rebus Puzzles

Aside from the usual brain teasers like riddles, kids will also love to answer rebus puzzles or more commonly known as brain bats. This type of puzzle is a visual word puzzle that stands for a word which the kids can decipher using the clues present in the puzzle itself.

The word or phrase is depicted with a visual illustration, including letters and words. Kids should use their creativity and wittiness to see beyond the obvious and find the answer to the brain bat that boggles their young minds!

10. Stroop Effect Test

The Stroop effect was first discovered by John Ridley Stroop in the 1930’s. In the test, you’re given a list of the names of different colors Each name or word does not actually represent the color of the texts.

All you have to do is have the kids say the color of each word, instead of just merely reading the word itself. This game will test the little ones’ cognitive skills as they attempt to mentally process the two conflicting pieces of information. It will slow down reaction speed but with practice and concentration, kids will be able to ace this test and at the same time exercise their minds!

11. Word Hunt

In playing this game you will need flashcards with pictures of objects and the kids must correctly be able to tell you what it is. This game is great for children around 5 years of age who are still learning new words.

For example, the flashcard may have a picture of a fish. Kids must be able to tell you that it is a fish. If it’s an apple, they should be able to recognize it as an apple!

You can let kids choose among different categories such as animals, flowers, school objects, etc. It trains the kids to remember names and identify the words associated with the objects.

12. Name That Shape

This game might be very much simple but learning about shapes is very important for kids to be able to familiarize themselves with the various shapes. You can play this game by holding different objects and asking the kids to name that shape!

13. Tape Job

This game is best for toddlers and preschoolers. This game will enhance children’s dexterity and critical thinking. Not only that, it will also engage your child’s brain and fingers in some fine motor work! For this game, you will need a roll of easily removable tape. Find a table or chair that your little one can easily reach. Tear and cut off some pieces of tape and stick them to the table or chair. To make it a bit easier for kids, make sure that a part of the tape isn’t touching the surface. This way, they could still grasp it.

The kids’ goal is to remove each piece of tape without ripping it apart. Your little ones will really have fun trying to remove the tape and you will have even more fun watching him/her struggle!

14. Chain Reaction

This brain game is best for kids with ages 6 and up. This is a vocabulary and verbal fluency game that will make kids familiar with different words. What’s even great is that you can play it with them and teach them so that they may learn more during the game.

What you have to do is pick any letter from the alphabet and choose a word that begins with that letter. You can take turns saying a word with your kids. The round for that specific letter ends when one of either can’t think of a word or repeats a word previously mentioned by another person.

Play this game until your kids are better at it than you!

15. Synonym Game

This awesome brain game will improve and widen your kids’ vocabulary (and yours!). It’s best for kids ages 8 and up since kids at this age are starting to learn all about synonyms in their English subject in school. This is a great way to study and do a little recap about it at home!

You’ll find that they could be very competitive when it comes to things they studied in school. This will encourage them to research words and maybe even read the dictionary and thesaurus!

16. The Verbal Venn Diagram

This game will definitely enhance your kids’ cognitive thinking. king and communication skills. It’s best for kids ages 8 and up.

As the name of the game suggests, this is a verbal game that will require your kids to really think about two things that you will give/point to them. Of the two things, they should state anything that relates or the same about the two things. It would be like forming overlapping circles in their minds as their teachers taught them in school.

The game ends when they can’t think of anything else that connects the two things. Since this game is verbal, you can play it anywhere with your kids and at any time!

Here are some examples of pairs of words will get you started with this game:

  • lion and tiger
  • mom and dad
  • school and house
  • Moana and Sophia the First
  • basketball and baseball
  • mango and lemon
  • laptop and phone
  • Elsa and Anna
  • snake and crocodile
  • beach and park

17. Odd Man Out

Here is another game that will really push your babies to work their brains out. It’s a verbal game so you don’t need any props or illustrations and you can play it anywhere. This is also a game the whole family can play together, regardless of your ages.

All you have to do is to mention three things and let them decide which of the three is the odd man out or which does not belong to the group.

Here are some great examples of groups of three words you can use:

  • brownies, cupcakes and sundae
  • juice, soda and cake
  • wedding, birthday and Monday
  • Candy Crush, Temple Run and Hide-and-Seek
  • Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Adam Sandler
  • bag, wallet and umbrella
  • fries, burger and shake
  • stars, sun and moon
  • heels, boots and ballerina shoes
  • laptop, phone and calculator

18. The Boat is Sinking

This fun and interactive game will improve your kids’ counting skills, confidence, interpersonal skills and ability to follow instructions. They will do more than just learn with this game, they’ll also make a lot of new friends!

You should act as a game master and say the magic words, “The boat is sinking, group yourselves into ____ (random number)!”. The kids should follow your instructions and group themselves accordingly. The kid who fails to do so will be out of the game. Be gentle when you call someone out, though, some kids cry when the game is over for them.

19. Candy Crush

Candy Crush Saga is a free-to-play match-three puzzle video game that you can play online or through their app. Kids love this game because it’s so colorful. This game can make kids familiarize themselves with the different colors and can also improve their concentration and visual perception.

You play this game by swapping colored pieces of candy on the game board to make a match of three or more of the same color. A match of three or more will eliminate those candies from the board and replace them with new ones. There are also power-ups when you match four or more candies.

Some boards must be completed within a fixed number of moves or limited amount of time. Some will require a certain score or collection of a specific number of a type of candy. Kids will enjoy conquering each level and earning more points in the process.

20. Hide and Seek

Hide-and-seek is a classic children’s game in which players conceal themselves in a set environment, to be found by one or more seekers. Kids love this because it gives them the freedom to think of a strategy on how to outsmart and outthink the “it” or the seeker so that they may tap back to be “safe” at the home base without the seeker finding them.

Each round, the kids will decide among themselves who is the seeker. The seeker closes his eyes at the home base (usually a wall) and counts up to a certain agreed number. During the count, the other players should hide themselves in the agreed upon area. Once he/she is done counting, he/she will say the magic words, “Ready or not, here I come!”.

The seeker will attempt to find each one of the players. The players will attempt to tap safe at the home base without the seeker finding him//her. The last one to be found will be the new seeker.

Playing hide-and-seek has valuable physical benefits for kids (and adults). Aside from exercising your brain, you’ll actually be able to exercise your body while running and hiding. Kids will be able to improve their balance, agility, and coordination.

Benefits of Playing Brain Games to Kids

Brain games are a fun and great way to aid the little ones in their development. It’s really better for them to start learning at a younger age, especially because children’s brains are growing at a rapid rate!

Here are some of the many benefits of playing brain games to kids:

  • Helps improve problem-solving skills
  • Trains their memory
  • Improves concentration
  • Lengthens attention span
  • Improves pattern recognition
  • Enhances spatial recognition
  • Improves visual perception
  • Increases reaction time

There is really so much more to brain games than just good fun! As young as they are, kids should be better facilitated in their everyday learning. Playing games is one easy way to learn. They attain and learn skills through playing. Playing these games can keep them off the screens and develop their brain and physical skills more and more as they grow.

✍️  December 21, 2020