But all games are not created equal. There are games that are completely based on luck, completely based on skill, and all combinations in between. I especially like games that require strategy and thinking. But not too much thinking. I personally don’t really like games where one false move and there’s no chance at winning remaining. Nor do I like games that take a really long time to play.
Here are some of my personal favorite logical thinking and visual-spatial games. These are also kid-approved games. I have attempted to include games that are played with different numbers of players and can be played over and over again without playing the same game twice.
SET – The object of this “simple” card game is to recognize patterns. Each card has 4 features: color, number, symbol, and shading. There are 3 possible options for each feature. Players must form a Set of three cards.
A ‘Set’ consists of three cards in which each feature is EITHER the same on each card OR is different on each card. That is to say, any feature in the ‘Set’ of three cards is either common to all three cards or is different on each card.
The rules are simple enough for children to understand (though when reading the instructions it does not seem like it!) , but the game is challenging enough for adults to enjoy. It can be played with 1 to 20 people according to the makers of SET, but I think with 20 it would be too difficult for everyone to see the cards. You can visit the SET game website to see pictures of the cards, read the rules, and even play a daily on-line game of SET for free.
Pentago – This game is for 2 players. It consists of black and white marbles and the playing board. The players take turns placing marbles on the board with the object being to get five marbles in a row. The extra twist is that each quarter of the board can be twisted a quarter turn after each move. Pentago requires the player to plan ahead and develop strategy, yet once again its concept is simple enough for a child to play.
Blokus – There are several variations of this game available. The original version works best for 4 people. Each person has 21 tiles, made up of all the possible shape combinations of 1 square, 2 squares, 3 squares, 4 squares, 5 squares, and 6 squares. Each player takes a turn placing one of his pieces on the board. Each subsequent piece must touch diagonally to one of the same color pieces. This game requires the player to plan ahead and is great for developing spatial relations. You can visit the website and play an on-line version for free to see it before you buy it.
Rush Hour – This unique logic game for 1 player is comprised of different colored and sized vehicles on a square grid. Included are cards that show the initial set-up for the vehicles. The goal is to move all the other vehicles out of the way in order to free a specific car. The puzzles range from beginner to expert, so there are enough to challenge a child for a long time. This game also has an on-line version you can try out.
I’d love to hear your comments on any of these games or other recommendations for games of this type.
Written by Kristen, Relaxed Classical Homeschool Mom of 4. Kristen blogs at A Day in the Life.