Games have been a longtime family-favorite way of bringing the kids together and spending quality time together. With the advent of electronics, family game night has a less frequent occurrence. Unfortunately, those games that most parents grew up playing taught us all critical thinking and problem solving skills that our non-game playing children are not being exposed to.
Think back to Scrabble, Monopoly, or Battleship - you learned skills about strategy, math, and problem solving each time you had to finagle a new high-points word, buy a hotel on Park Place, or bomb the opponent's battleship! Uno, Boggle, Operation, Yahtzee - you learned about timing, precision, and flexible thinking with letters and numbers. Games were a well-disguised way to develop key skills in visual motor perception, motor coordination, social interaction skills, and higher level cognitive skills.
When kids challenge their skills in new ways, they develop perseverance and cognitive flexibility - they tackle a problem from a different approach and either feel successful or learn from their strategic errors in a judgement-free way.
We've been fans of games for a while now and are always on the hunt for new skill-building fun. The game creators at GAMEWRIGHT sent us a couple of their latest on-the-go additions to see what skills kids are developing in new game-based ways!
Gamewright is a company based out of Newton, Massachusetts that was founded by parents of game-playing kids! Their family-oriented, collaborative games target certain developmental skills and their website groups the games by age for ease of shopping. The company now includes game, puzzle, & brain teaser divisions and between the three company names, they've got the fun covered from all different angles! Many of their games are designed with time in mind and range from cooperative to individual play.
The brain teaser games we were sent are perfect additions to a busy-bag for portable fun in the car, at a restaurant, or on vacation.
We played around with a few of the favorites they sent us, and considered each game in terms of the developmental skills that would help strengthen your child's visual perceptual motor skills, motor planning, problem solving & critical thinking, and social interactions.
Designed much like our favorite fidget, the Flexi Puzzle is a series of plastic cube-like shapes connected by a single elastic. Each puzzle card offers a new challenge, graded for 4 levels, ranging from easy to expert. The hands-on tactile manipulative makes it a great game for kids who learn by touching and moving parts around!
Skills: visual perception, motor coordination, visual discrimination, problem solving
On the Dot is a puzzler of a different kind that requires you to problem solve with overlapping dotted cards to make the combination on the pattern card.
Skills: visual perception, problem solving, spatial relationships
Qwingo is a game that challenges number sequencing, planning, and cooperative fun. This dice game requires a bit more strategic thinking when kids have to call out numbers, place them in the appropriate column, and hope that they follow the rules of number ranking!
Skills: visual scanning, number sequencing, problem solving, strategic thinking, cooperative social play