Games that Benefit the Brain

Most kids love to play card and board games, but did you
know that many offer benefits far beyond the obvious social gains.  Many of these activities are actually good
for cognition and can exercise the brain.

There are
three types of benefits:
1.  Brain Breaks: Some games offer quick “brain
breaks” that can be used during homework completion.  A quick reward, when stamina is low, can energize the brain and regain focus. 
2.  Brain Integration: Other games can help
integrate the brain.  Some students
can lack integration between the two hemispheres of the brain and these
activities activate the whole brain. 
3.  Cognitive Remediation: Finally,
there are games that help to strengthen specific areas of cognition and they
can serve as a form of cognitive therapy. 
By exercising these parts of the brain, new neural pathways can develop
and areas of weakness can be strengthened and even remediated.

Here is a table that reviews some of my favorite games, lists of the cognitive gains and offers links to the products.

GAME: Time to
Play
COGNITIVE
BENEFITS
WHERE TO PURCHASE
Spot it:  about 2-4 minutes

  • Visual
    Processing
  • Processing
    Speed
  • Attention to
    Detail
  • Attention
  • Hemisphere Integration
Amazon:  See link below
Blink:   about 2-4 minutes
  • Visual
    Processing
  • Processing
    Speed
  • Attention to
    Detail
  • Attention
  • Mental
    Flexibility
  • Nonverbal Reasoning
Amazon:  See link below
Set:  about 5-10 minutes
  • Visual
    Processing
  • Speed of
    Processing
  • Attention to
    Detail
  • Attention
  • Mental
    Flexibility
  • Executive
    Functioning
  • Nonverbal
    Reasoning
Amazon:  See link below
Q Bits:  depends on the number of rounds played – 2-30 minutes
  • Visual
    Processing
  • Spatial
    Relations
  • Speed of
    Processing
  • Attention to
    Detail
  • Mental
    Flexibility
  • Executive
    Functioning
  • Nonverbal
    Reasoning
Amazon:  See link below
Master Mind:  depends on the number of rounds played – 10-30 minutes
  • Visual
    Processing
  • Visual
    Reasoning
  • Nonverbal
    Reasoning
  • Attention to
    Detail
  • Attention
  • Mental
    Flexibility
  • Executive
    Functioning
Amazon:  See link below
Doodle Dice: about 15 minutes
  • Visual
    Processing
  • Nonverbal
    Reasoning
  • Attention to
    Detail
  • Spatial
    Relations
  • Attention
  • Mental
    Flexibility
  • Executive
    Functioning
Amazon:  See link below
Blokus: about 30-45 minutes
  • Visual
    Processing
  • Nonverbal
    Reasoning
  • Attention to
    Detail
  • Spatial
    Relations
  • Attention
  • Mental
    Flexibility
  • Executive
    Functioning
Amazon:  See link below
Logic Links: depends on the number of
rounds played – 3-30 minutes
  • Visual
    Processing
  • Nonverbal
    Reasoning
  • Attention to
    Detail
  • Attention
  • Mental
    Flexibility
  • Executive
    Functioning
Amazon:  See link below
Word Around Game:  depends on the number of rounds played – 5-30 minutes
  • Visual
    Processing
  • Verbal
    Reasoning
  • Sequential
    Processing
  • Attention
  • Mental
    Flexibility
  • Executive
    Functioning
Amazon:  See link below
Scattergories the Card Game: depends on the number of rounds played –
5-30 minutes
  • Simultaneous
    Processing
  • Word Finding
  • Speed of
    Processing
  • Attention
  • Mental
    Flexibility
  • Executive
    Functioning
Amazon:  See link below
Scattergories the Board Game: depends on the
number of rounds played – 5-30 minutes
  • Simultaneous
    Processing
  • Word Finding
  • Speed of
    Processing
  • Attention
  • Mental
    Flexibility
  • Executive
    Functioning
Amazon:  See link below
Pictionary: depends on the number of rounds played-
5-60 minutes
  • Nonverbal
    Reasoning
  • Verbal
    Reasoning
  • Fine Motor
    Dexterity
  • Speed of
    Processing

Amazon:  See link below

Apples to Apples: depends on the number of
rounds played- 10-30 minutes
  • Verbal
    Reasoning
  • Attention
  • Mental
    Flexibility

Amazon:  See link below

Cranium: depends on the number of rounds played –
5-30 minutes

  • Auditory Processing
  • Visual Processing
  • Processing Speed
  • Attention to Detail
  • Attention
  • Hemisphere Integration
  • Fine Motor
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Sequential Processing

Amazon:  See link below

Jenga – depends on the number of rounds played-
5-30 minutes
  • Fine Motor
    Dexterity
  • Motor
    Planning
  • Nonverbal
    Reasoning
Amazon:  See link below




I hope you found this helpful.  If you know of other card or board games that you find beneficial, please share them in the comment box below.  I will then update this blog to reflect your ideas.


Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
Follow on Bloglovin

Join Dr. Warren's Newsletter

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

2 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] board games, and there are quite a few that exercise and strengthen the brain. Back in September I reviewed 15 games that can benefit cognition and I wanted to add a few more to the […]

  2. […] have a “love, learn, and laugh hour.”  You can work together on a project, play an educational game or work individually on your own […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *