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The Best Educational Family Games for the Holidays

September 26, 2016

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Looking for non-digital options to keep kids learning and entertained?! You’ve landed in the right place. And we provide you with the perspective you need to decide if it will be a good fit for each unique learner.



Why We Like It: Plyt is an effective board game to help students develop critical skills in mental math calculations and numerical fluency. It is simple, yet fun despite being a purely educational game making it great for home or the classroom, especially since games can be relatively quick while still providing plenty of effective practice. Game can grow with a child developmentally, from learning basic addition to challenging multi-step mental math problems. Develops: Processing Speed, Working Memory

Considerations: Requires an adult to guide children on playing at the appropriate developmental level. In addition, adults need to be aware of anxious children who might feel stressed playing with the timer or competitively against other children. Scanning the 12-sided dice can be difficult, especially for younger children or those with visual-discrimination weaknesses. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: AnxietyVisual Discrimination

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 4 to 12

Interests:  Group WorkMath PuzzlesTeachers/Homeschoolers

Added 9/12/2016

sushigoSushi Go!

Why We Like It: Sushi Go! is a fun food-themed card game that students will enjoy while working on basic skills in addition, multiplication and strategic thinking. The simultaneous play will keep all players engaged throughout the game. Develops: Abstract ReasoningWorking Memory

Considerations: The first few rounds might require parental support since there a variety of different card types and students could be confused with the instructions. Adults will want to be sure students are making thoughtful choices to be sure they are learning.

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 7 to 12

Interests:  FoodMath PuzzlesTeachers/Homeschoolers

Added 12/12/2016

stratosStratos Spheres

Why We Like It: A quick and enjoyable hands-on game that is well made so none of the frustration you might have with other 3-D puzzle games. Stratos Spheres exercises visual spatial, visual motor, reasoning, planning and working memory skills. The game is easy to learn, does not require any reading, and should not require a lot of wait time in between turns. Develops: Abstract Reasoning, Attention, Flexible Thinking, Spatial PerceptionWorking Memory

Considerations: Students with fine motor weaknesses might need support taking a piece off the structure, as the pieces fit pretty snugly together and it can be particularly challenging if only one piece needs to be removed. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Fine or Visual Motor Skills, Spatial Perception

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 6 to Adult

Interests: Visual PuzzlesChallenges for Gifted Learners

Added 12/9/2016


Why We Like It: This excellent verbal reasoning, team-play game requires making direct connections between words but also thinking through the many possible associations that could be made. Play format encourages teams to discuss their rationale for different word associations which can help younger students learn as they play. Develops: Abstract Reasoning, Flexible Thinking, ListeningSpeakingWorking Memory

Considerations: Thinking of effective clues requires good reasoning, and the code maker might find it very challenging to give a good clue word especially with everyone listening. This game is particularly important to have encouraging teammates. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Abstract Reasoning,  Attention, Auditory Processing/Listening, Self-Regulation/Social Skills, Verbal ReasoningWorking Memory

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 10 to Adult

Interests: Competitive GamesGifted learners, Group WorkWord Puzzles

Added 12/8/2016


kithubKitHub Motorized Bot

Why We Like It: This engaging, hands-on robotics activity for students to complete with an adult teaches students about simple circuits. Students will gain practice following a short sequence of instructions, while having the opportunity to get creative with decorating their robot. Students are encouraged to experiment while also accomplishing. Develops: Abstract ReasoningOrganizationSpatial Perception

Considerations:  Parents using at home might find they need to do some pre-learning so their children get the educational benefit. Younger students or those with weaker fine motor skills might need support with assembly to avoid frustration. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Self-RegulationSpatial PerceptionVisual Motor/Fine Motor Skills

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 5 to 10

Interests: Art & Design, Computers/Electronics, Good for teachers/homeschoolersScience

Added 10/10/2016



Doodle Dice

Why We Like It: This simple, fun game will help develop visual skills, working memory and flexible thinking. The winner is the first player to successfully replicate six cute doodle drawings by combining the lines, dots and squiggles on six dice. There are easy and complex designs, and an element of luck, so all levels of visual skills can experience a fun challenge and competitive game. Provides an opportunity to help a student’s flexible thinking skills, as they learn to adapt their target in the middle of a round. Develops: Flexible ThinkingSpatial Perception, Visual ProcessingWorking Memory

Considerations:  The number of words, pictures and colors may overwhelm children with visual discrimination weaknesses. Fortunately, adults could adjust the game for these children by removing the most difficult cards.  Students with very weak fine motor skills may have problems arranging the dice neatly and correctly. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Visual Discrimination, Visual Motor/Fine Motor Skills

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 6 to Adult

Interests: Art & Design, Competitive GamesVisual Puzzles

Added 10/04/2016



Why We Like It: This fun drawing game will be a truly enjoyable way for students to develop their visual, speaking, listening and spatial skills when played with a cooperative group. The game can be played simultaneously with as many players as desired, so everyone is always engaged. While it is a drawing game, artistic abilities do not matter. Develops: Abstract ReasoningFlexible Thinking, ListeningSpatial Perception, Working Memory

Considerations: Students might struggle to see the small details and/or read the tiny font when they are the describer. Competitive players might disagree on whether or not an element was included in a drawing and/or how “strict” to grade each other. Students with weaker skills will need to play in a supportive group. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Processing SpeedSelf-Regulation/Social Skills, Visual Discrimination, Visual Motor SpeedWorking Memory

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 9 to Adult

Interests: Art & Design, Competitive GamesGroup WorkVisual Puzzles

Added 9/26/2016


presidentialThe Presidential Game

Why We Like It: This is a unique game that effectively teaches the election process and US geography in a totally engaging way with two teams, Democrats and Republicans, competing to get the necessary electoral votes to win the election. For students who may have difficulty keeping track of electoral votes, a code is provided for an online electoral web map and calculator. Develops: Abstract Reasoning, Flexible Thinking, Verbal Reasoning

Considerations: The board is colorful and the font on the cards is small so students with visual weaknesses might have some discomfort. Each turn requires several steps and juggling different concepts which may be challenging for students with weak memory or reasoning skills if they do not have the right teammates. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Self-Regulation/Social Skills, Visual Discrimination, Visual Memory, Working Memory

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 11 to Adult

Interests: Competitive GamesGeography & Travel, Group Work, History & Current EventsRole Playing GamesTeachers/Homeschoolers

Added 9/19/2016



ScrambledStatesScrambled States

Why We Like It: This game is just fun AND it teaches the shape, location, capitals, nicknames and other interesting facts about the 50 states. It also gives children practicing both listening and speaking depending on whether it is their turn to read from the cards. Develops: Flexible ThinkingListening Comprehension, Speaking

Considerations: Students have to think and react quickly to win a state card, which might be frustrating for children who are younger, have slower speed, less knowledge, or get anxious. Because of the colors, small print, and detail, this game could be a challenge for students with visual weaknesses. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Anxiety, Auditory Processing/Listening, Processing Speed, Self-RegulationWorking Memory, Visual Discrimination

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 8 to Adult

Interests: Competitive Games, GeographyHistory & Current EventsVisual PuzzlesTeachers/Homeschoolers

Added 9/5/2016


Dixit Dixit

Why We Like It: Dixit is an outstanding game to develop children’s abstract thinking with both words and pictures. Beautiful illustrations will promote creativity and engage children across a broad age range. Players must think abstractly and strategically to score points. Encourages players to carefully choose descriptive words and communicate clearly to others. Develops: Abstract Reasoning, Flexible ThinkingVerbal Reasoning, Working Memory

Considerations: Children who have difficulty listening, speaking, or making connections could experience feelings of uncertainty or shyness. Students who are accustomed to having a single right answer might feel frustrated at times. Parent

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 8 to Adult

Interests: Art & DesignCompetitive GamesGifted learners, Princesses & Make BelieveLiterature & PoetryVisual Puzzles

Added 8/29/2016


UnNatural SelectionUnNatural Selection

Why We Like It: UnNatural Selection is a clever, fun 3 or more player game that can be used to improve vocabulary, general knowledge and creative thinking. The card illustrations are bright, interesting and engaging. Students will be exposed to a broad range of historical figures, fictional characters and a range of adjectives range from easy to challenging, so students will learn but not feel overly challenged. The game provides every player the opportunity to be creative, speak and communicate decisions. Develops: Flexible ThinkingOrganizationVerbal Reasoning

Considerations: Disagreements could arise because of the subjectivity of the judging, but the game rotates the judge to mitigate this issue. Younger children might be unfamiliar with some of the historical figures and vocabulary words and might need adult support to feel comfortable. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: ReadingSelf-Regulation, Social Awareness

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 8 to Adult

Interests: Animals, Competitive Games, Make-Believe, Literature, Monsters, Pirates, Word Puzzles

Added 8/22/2016


SquishyHumanBodySquishy Human Body

Why We Like It:  Help students learn about the locations and functions of bodily organs with this human anatomy set. The process of assembling the realistic organs will help students visualize, understand and remember their locations. The accompanying book is colorful and the explanations are interesting and practical. Develops: Abstract Reasoning, Spatial Perception

Considerations: Students might get frustrated with the correct placement and snapping of pieces together when it is time to build the model. The squishy pieces tear relatively easily and can get lost if students do not rebuild the full model. The pages in the book are very busy and students may not read and learn as much as they could. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Fine or Visual Motor Skills, Organization, Reading Basics, Self-Regulation, Visual Discrimination

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 9 to 13

Interests: Science

Added 8/15/2016



Why We Like It:  Disruptus encourages out-of-the-box creative thinking — the ideal of brainstorming — and can be a great warm-up activities in schools and work. The roll of the die instructs players to create something entirely new from the objects on their cards. The cards are high quality material with unusual illustrations. The game requires no reading and flexibility in rules to make it appropriate for a broad audience. Develops: Abstract Reasoning, Expressive Language, Flexible Thinking, Spatial Perception

Considerations: This game might not be the best choice on nights when you are looking for a simple, easy-going game, as it requires the appropriate environment to elicit the most creative and authentic responses from everyone, which is the way the game becomes most fun. Might require an adult children judge to ensure comments are constructive and everyone feels comfortable speaking freely since there should be no “wrong” answers. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Abstract ReasoningAttention, Processing SpeedSelf-Monitoring

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 9 to Adult

Interests: Good for Teachers/Homeschoolers, Make-BelieveVisual Puzzles, ScienceChallenges for Gifted Learners

Added: 8/8/16

Architectoarchitecto game

Why We Like It: Architecto is a challenging yet enjoyable single player or team challenge game that requires building unique structures. Illustrations to build 3-D models come in 6 levels of difficulty, offering progressive challenges for a wide ability range. Exercises important spatial and abstract reasoning skills, in addition to sequencing, organization and attention. Each challenge is relatively short, which makes the construction feel manageable. Develops: Abstract Reasoning, Flexible Thinking, Spatial Perception

Considerations: Students with weaker spatial and visual perception, as well as attention or planning skills, can be successful in this game, but they might require adult support and encouragement. Students might be tempted to peak at the answers in the back of the book without persevering through the analysis on their own. Some of the more difficult structures require careful placement and balance which could be frustrating, especially for students with weaker motor skills. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Attention, Fine or Visual Motor Skills, Organization, Self-Monitoring, Spatial Perception

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 7 to Adult

Interests: Art & DesignGood for Teachers/Homeschoolers, Visual PuzzlesChallenges for Gifted Learners

Added: 8/1/16


Get Writing! Creative Book Making Projects BookGet Writing

Why We Like It: The workbook provides instructions on how to make over 25 interesting types of books (pop­-up, shape books, zig-­zag books, origami books, etc.) that will engage young students to write independently. Younger students can make simple books while older or more skilled children can create more complicated books. The workbook provides suggestions on how the books can be used to teach a variety of themes and subjects. The directions are straight-forward for an adult to understand and help a child. Develops: Abstract ReasoningOrganization, Spatial PerceptionVerbal Reasoning

Considerations: An adult should be available to help students with the instructions because the books may be challenging to create on their own. Children with fine motor weaknesses could easily grow frustrated because of the need for precise drawing, folding, and cutting. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Fine or Visual Motor Skills, Organization, Spatial Perception

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 5 to 10

Interests: Art & DesignGood for Teachers/HomeschoolersWriting

Added: 8/1/16


Ukloo Game

uklooWhy We Like It: Ukloo works as a treasure hunt in which players read and solve riddles to get to the next riddle, and ultimately reach a surprise that the parent chooses. This game has children moving around the house while exercising important logic and reasoning skills. The game can be modified easily to suit varying levels and circumstances, with three levels of riddles and instructions that suggest ways to modify the game. Each level provides plenty of riddles, and adults or children can have fun incorporating their own riddles as well. Develops: Flexible ThinkingListening ComprehensionVerbal Reasoning, Working Memory

Considerations: Parents will need to find an activity for their children to do in another room or part of the house while they set up the riddle trail. Riddles in Level 3 might be too challenging, but they could be used to challenge an adult playing in the game. Riddle cards do not come with supporting visual images, so children with weaker reading skills will need support. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: MemoryListening Comprehension

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 7 to 11

Interests: Puzzles: WordGood for Teachers/Homeschoolers, Challenges for Gifted Learners

Added: 7/25/16


Bloxels Builder Game + App

bloxelWhy We Like It: Students can effectively produce, play and share their own uniquely-designed video games. Design is through hands-on blocks on the board which will be preferable for students who sometimes need help with spatial perception or working memory. Develops: Abstract Reasoning, Flexible Thinking, OrganizationSpatial Perception, Working Memory 

Considerations: The app navigation is not intuitive, and not all students will be sufficiently motivated to watch the videos to learn what to do independently. Students with weaker fine motor skills might need help with the small blocks or correctly positioning the iPad camera to screenshot the board. Students who are not interested in video games might not choose to do this independently for very long. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Abstract Reasoning, Fine or Visual Motor SkillsOrganization, Spatial Perception, Visual Memory, Working Memory

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 8 to 13

Interests: Art & Design, Computers/Electronics, Good for teachers/homeschoolersPuzzles: Visual, Video Games

Added: 7/18/16


Doodle Quest

Doodle Quest Board Game

Why We Like It: A unique drawing game that involves visual-spatial challenges and following simple multi-step directions as a single or multi-player game. The leveled options make it easier to find a challenge that is appropriate and motivating for differing abilities. There is no timer and the option to erase as needed, which encourages students to take their time to fully understand and be accurate. However, if some players take too long, adults might want to consider adding a time limit. Develops: Abstract ReasoningFine Motor SkillsSpatial PerceptionVisual Motor Speed, Working Memory

Considerations: Adults might need to support students with weaker motor or spatial skills by starting with easier challenges and coaching them on verbal remediation strategies. For younger students or those with weaker working memory or comprehension skills, adults might need to help/repeat the one-sentence instructions at the bottom of the quest card. With only 36 challenges, the game might have limited repeat play. Extra adult support suggested for students with weaker: Fine or Visual Motor SkillsOrganizationReading BasicsWorking Memory

Mindprint Recommended Age Range: 6 to 12

Interests: Animals & NatureArt & DesignPuzzles: Visual

Added: 7/12/16


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