11 Puzzle Games for Kids of All Ages and Dispositions
Puzzle games for kids teach patience, following directions and working to reach a goal.
Puzzle games for kids have come a long way since the days of Hangman and Connect the Dots. Today's games teach little ones concepts like strategy and reaching for goals. "Board games are making a comeback," says Danny Givens, owner of the toy store Givens Books & Little Dickens.
"With puzzle games, your child learns focus, patience and problem-solving while enjoying human interaction and dialogue. Whether playing a 10-minute game or a two-hour game, it's an act of service and love on the part of a parent to sit down and play games with their child."
Gail Ballowe, longtime special education teacher and director of Camp Meadowlark, a summer program at The Arc of Central Virginia for individuals with disabilities, says caregivers can help. "Parents should look for puzzle games that teach kids to take turns, solve problems, be good sports and entertain themselves. Children learn leadership skills by teaching others how to play and be patient while others learn to play."
Here are some game ideas to get you started:
Games for Babies and Toddlers
- Bunny Peek-A-Boo teaches small kids concepts like "above versus below" and "inside versus outside." A logic game made for kids ages 2 and up, it allows kids to use the bunny and blocks to build what they see on one of 60 challenge cards.
- Babies and toddlers can also learn about shapes, colors and sizes by playing shape sorting and stacking puzzle games. These and some puzzle apps also strengthen hand-eye coordination.
For Those Who Like a Challenge
- Jenga -- Throw'n Go! is an updated version of the classic Jenga. Take turns removing blocks from the tower of 54 blocks and then balancing the blocks on top of the tower. Kids come to realize that as the tower grows taller, it becomes less stable until it will eventually fall over.
- Operation lets players be the doctor, using tweezers to remove fictional "ailments" from the patient, such as "brain freeze" or "writer's cramp," without touching the cavity that sets off a buzzer. Kids practice hand-eye coordination as they earn money for successful operations.
For Quiet Kids
- Clue is the classic mystery-solving game. Players collect clues and make deductions to solve the mystery of who killed the victim and in what room with what weapon.
- IQ Steps is the latest in the series of brain-teasing IQ games. The object of the single-player game is to fit all the pieces onto the grid in the correct sequence.
For Boisterous Kids
- SET bears the subtitle: The Family Game of Visual Perception. The goal of this challenging, award-winning card game is to be the first person to create a set of three cards linked by combinations of similarity or difference. Speed is the key, and it gets nice and rowdy when all players are competing at the same time. SET is recommended for ages 10 and up.
- Toss Across is similar to the classic Tic-Tac-Toe puzzle game in which kids try to get three in a row. Cornhole games, in which players try to get the highest score by sinking bean bags into the hole on a board, are great to keep kids moving.
For Imaginative Kids
- Shell Game is a single-player memory game, but it can be played by two or more players if you take turns. Swap the shells along the arcs while remembering where each crab is located. Shell Game has 60 challenges ranging from beginner to expert. It improves memory while building logic skills in players ages 8 and up.
- Minecraft allows players to mine and craft 3-D blocks in a digital world they inhabit. There are single player and multiplayer modes, creative and survival game modes and several difficulty levels for kids of various ages.
For Social Kids
- Spot It takes matching card games to a whole new level. The pre-K set includes Spot It Jr.!, Animals and Spot It! and Numbers and Shapes. Older kids will love Spot It! Basic English and classic Spot It!.
- Connect 4 challenges players to rule the grid by getting four discs in a row. This fast and furious game keeps social kids busy.
Some more great puzzle games for kids are Scrabble, Rubik's Cube, Mastermind, The Settlers of Catan, Battleship, Ticket to Ride, Stratego, Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds.
For more game ideas, check out these 25 fun games for kids.
Sandy Wallace is a busy mom who always has time to play a game or three with her not-so-little kiddos. Sandy enjoys time with family, outdoor activities and sharing parenting tips. Follow Sandy on Twitter @SandyWallace57 and who knows what you'll learn.