Amazing Minds

Parents

Are you looking for fun family activities that also build thinking skills?  Try some of these suggestions!

Amazing Minds is an Amazon affiliate. If you select a game or Amazon product and purchase it through this site, we will earn a small amount.  This helps us to continue to provide resources and materials.  On this page are recommendations for games that are fun but also build thinking skills.  For activities directly related to academics, please visit the teacher page.

 

Individual Strategy Games and Puzzles
  • Thread the Maze - The rules are simple, but the solution is not! In these challenging puzzles, you must ‘weave’ a thread that solves a maze on both sides of the board! You’ll have to think ahead to solve this maze!
  • Scrambled Jigsaw Puzzles - In this challenging and fun puzzle, every piece is the same size and shape. The challenge: to rearrange the pieces so that there are exactly 7 animals on every island! This is best for older children and adults. You will love it!
  • Leapin’ Lizards - Can you move each of the 5 chameleons to the rock of a matching color? This clever puzzle contains 40 challenges from beginning to expert level.
  • Block by Block - Can you use the 5 pieces to complete all 60 challenges? This game is a fun way to build spatial reasoning skills!
  • Brick by Brick - This is a two-dimensional puzzle similar to Block by Block. Use 5 pieces to complete 60 challenges!
  • Laser Maze - Can you use mirrors, beam splitters, and a lot of thinking skills to direct a laser through a maze and light up the target? This fun game has 60 challenges from beginning to expert.
  • Circuit Maze - This STEM toy was a finalist for Toy of the Year! There are 60 challenges from beginning to expert. Children learn about how electrical currents work as they use logical thinking to light the correct beacons!
  • Rush Hour - This traffic jam game has won over 20 awards, including Mensa Select! The beginning set comes with all cars and 40 challenges from beginner to expert!
  • Rush Hour Set 2
  • Rush Hour Set 3
  • Rush Hour Set 4 - These sets increase in difficulty, and each comes with a new car. The original set is required to play.
  • Tantrix - Use different numbers of tiles to form continuous loops in different colors. This link is to one set, but it is also sold with several sets to play a game.

 

Partner/Team Strategy Games

  • Quarto - This Mensa Select award-winning game requires deductive reasoning skills and is fun to play! The simple goal makes it easy to learn, and the game takes about 15 minutes to play. Your goal is to place 4 pieces in a row that share a common attribute. The challenge: your opponent chooses which piece you play. This is always a favorite!
  • Quoridor - This Mensa Select award-winning game requires complex strategies and is fun to play! The simple goal makes it easy to learn, and the game takes about 15 minutes to play. Your goal is to be the first to move your piece to the opposite side of the board. You can slow your opponent by building walls, but you have to navigate the walls your opponent builds.
  • Pylos - This Mensa Select award-winning game requires deductive reasoning skills and is fun to play! Your goal is to place your sphere at the top of the pyramid. The rules are simple, but the strategy takes time to master! The game is easy to learn and takes about 15 minutes to play. You will want to play it often!
  • Muggins! - This is one of my favorites!  They have a variety of games.  All require fact fluency to play, but you will need to develop a strategy to win!  Bluffing is allowed!   
  • Hive - Hive is a board game without a board! Like chess, each piece moves in a unique way. This is a fun and interesting game! As you improve, you can buy additional pieces to add to the game.
  • SET - This classic game using attributes can be enjoyed by all ages! This is also available above as a card game.
  • Blokus - This game takes only a minute to learn, but it will provide hours of fun! Try to place as many pieces on the board as you can, but there are rules about how to place them!

 

Games that Involve both Strategy and Chance
  • Clue - A classic detective game with one murder and six suspects! Can you use the clues to be the first to solve the murder
  • Sequence - Be the first player or team to create the required number of sequences to win! With more than one option for each card, however, you will have to use a strategy!
  • Phase 10 - Can you be the first to complete 10 different phases? This fun card game requires variations of sets and runs for each hand.
Strategy Games for Younger Children
  • Guess Who - In this classic game, players ask yes or no questions to determine the mystery character! It is a great game to introduce young children to strategies based on attributes.
  • Rush Hour Junior - This junior version of the award-winning Rush Hour has fewer cars and is appropriate for ages 5 and up.
  • Laser Maze Junior - This junior version of the award-winning Laser Maze has fewer pieces and a smaller board. It is appropriate for ages 6 and up.
  • Roller Coaster Challenge  - Your child will love building roller coasters using specific pieces in this is award-winning version game for ages 6 and up!  There are 36 challenges!  Solve each one then watch your roller coaster glide, dip, curve, and loop!

 

Websites and Games: Interactive Math Games

* These incorporate basic math facts but also require critical thinking.

  • Product Game - You have to know basic multiplication facts to play, but strategic thinking is required to win! Play against a friend or against the computer.
  • Kakooma - Use basic facts (either addition or multiplication) to quickly evaluate options and beat the time limit.
  • 24! Game  - Use basic facts (either addition or multiplication) and use each number once and only once with a goal of 24.
  • 24! Game: Double Digit  - Use basic facts (either addition or multiplication) and use each number once and only once with a goal of 24.

 

 

 

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