Games for the Brain: 4 Games to Improve Logic and Reasoning Skills
Welcome back to another post in our Games for the Brain series! Today, we are going to look at 4 games that challenge your logic and reasoning skills.
Before we begin, let’s talk about logic and reasoning skills.
Logic and reasoning are part of a bigger group of skills called executive function skills. These skills include problem-solving, planning, organization, time management, task completion, and self-regulation.
The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for executive function. This is the final part of the brain to develop, completing its growth in your mid-twenties or later.
A student with a deficit in executive function skills has difficulty keeping track of time. They are often running late or missing appointments. They struggle to start projects and stay focused on them long enough to complete them. They struggle to use their inner language to reason through problems, leading to impulsivity and “guessing.”
Younger children don’t yet have the brain development to be successful at all executive function skills. However, encouraging the development of these skills will benefit them in the long run.
So what can we do to encourage executive function skills? Let’s take a look at some games that improve reasoning skills.
SET® is a logic card game that challenges players to find a SET of three cards as quickly as possible. Each card has four features: color, shape, number, and shading. An example card might have three solid, red circles or one shaded, purple diamond.
A SET is a group of three cards where each feature across the three cards are either all the same or all different.
The game is set up with twelve cards showing at one time. After a player has found a SET, they claim those cards and turn over three new cards. The players try to find as many SETs as they can as quickly as possible. The player with the most SETs at the end of the game wins!
SET® is also very fun to play solo. Challenge yourself to find more than three sets in five minutes. How long does it take you to find all the SETs in the entire deck?
SET® challenges your reasoning skills to find these SETs. Some SETs are easier to see than others. For those that don’t immediately pop out at you, you have to work step-by-step through the cards to spot them. There is almost always a SET to find – they are just very good at hiding.
UNO® is a matching card game for multiple players. Most of the cards have color and a number on them. Other cards have special actions, like skip one, reverse and draw two. There are also wild cards that let the player choose a new color to play.
Players of all ages can have fun playing UNO®. You can also use it to start teaching your kids about strategizing.
If they have three yellow cards in their hand, they can play any of them down. But perhaps they should save their draw two yellow cards for later in the game when other players are closer to winning. If they have a wild card, they can use it now to prevent them from drawing cards. Another strategy is to save it until the very end, so when you have UNO, you will always be able to play your last card.
You can discuss how the special action cards work and how best to use them to win the game. You can model strategizing as you play by talking through your thought process for your child to hear. This might remove a competitive element to the game, but it is a great way to show logic in progress.
Rush Hour® Traffic Jam Logic Game
Rush Hour® is a sliding block, logic game that challenges players to escape from a traffic jam.
Once you choose a level and set up your board, you slide the vehicles around the board to free the red car from the traffic jam. Sounds easy, but you may more than twelve vehicles on a 6 x 6 grid – that doesn’t leave you much wiggle room!
Each level is solved by a sequence of moves, which are revealed on the back of the card. A player might realize what they have to do, but in the wrong order, which still leaves them out of luck! You might need to reset the board a few times to complete the level.
It will take you quite a while to run out of new levels to play. There are dozens of levels in Rush Hour® to challenge the novice and expert alike.
Hyperslide™ is a fast-paced game that challenges you to slide hyper discs through a goal arch. You have four, colored hyper discs. The arch will call out which colored disc to pass under its arch. The more correct passes you make, the higher your score.
With Code Buster mode, the game secretly chooses a four or five-disc sequence. You have to discover this sequence – bust the code – within ninety seconds to win. The high score player is the fastest to decipher the code. The secret sequence may have repeats, so don’t be fooled.
You have to use your reasoning skills and working memory to win Code Buster. Let’s say you passed the red disc and heard a “buzz.” Oops! That’s the wrong color. Now, you try yellow and hear “ding.” Nice job, that’s the next color in the sequence. Now, you have to remember to pass yellow before figuring out the next color.
As the game continues, you have to remember the correct sequence of color passes, the color you just tried, whether or not it was the correct color, what color you want to try next, all while discs are bouncing back at you and the time is running out. Hyperslide™ Code Buster challenges your processing speed, motor skills, and reasoning skills all at the same time – whew!
Which of these logic and reasoning games sounded the most fun to you? Are you a fan of SET® like we are at Pathfinders? Let us know how your last family game night went in the comments below.