Classic Games to Improve Thinking Skills

When it comes to improving critical thinking and cognition skills, we often associate it with intense brain exercises and problem-solving activities. While these are great, they can be challenging to implement on a consistent basis, especially for the younger audience. Luckily, there are more fun and enjoyable ways to sharpen your mind and improve thinking skills, and that is by playing classic board games.

A study conducted by psychologists at the University of Edinburgh indicates that playing non-digital games can increase thinking skills such as memory retention, thought processing, problem-solving, and much more.

Four childhood friends playing a challenging strategy board game


Monopoly is a classic board game that involves buying, selling and expanding real estate between players. The game can be as simple or complex as the player desires. Monopoly teaches children how to evaluate the value of their assets, and also the necessity to invest in something in order to gain something bigger.


The mancala is one of those games that we’ve all played, but probably never remember what the name was. This is a two-player game involving a wooden board with two rows of six small holes and two large holes on opposing ends that serve as your storage area. These holes are traditionally filled with shells, but can also be substituted with other small objects such as pebbles or marbles.

The objective of the game is to have the most pieces in your storage area by the end of the game by taking turns moving each piece in and around the holes. And with that, it teaches the players to carefully observe the opposing player’s moves and be more analytical with their moves - a valuable skill to sharpen their minds.


If there is one board game that needs no introduction, it’s chess - the most quintessential and classic game that requires strategic thinking to play, and let alone win. There’s a reason why computer scientists test their artificial intelligence (AI) programs by simulating a game of chess. It’s a deeply analytical game with many variables to account for. Understanding the fundamental rules of chess and the movement of the pieces is a remarkable achievement, especially for children.

Similar to the games we listed above, chess sharpens the analytical skills and trains the mind to observe the relationship of one decision with another as they improve with the game.

To conclude, the classical games we listed above are excellent alternatives to keep your kids not only entertained, but also mediums to facilitate their cognitive growth.

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Learn more about our academic programs and curriculums by visiting our website.

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