Games of strategy allow us to work on strengthening and teaching executive function skills in a FUN way. Card games in which children have to track playing cards exercise working memory and promote mental flexibility in the service of planning and strategy. Games that require monitoring and fast responses are great for challenging attention and quick decision-making.
Games involving strategy provide important practice with holding complicated moves in mind, planning many moves ahead, and then adjusting plans—both in response to imagined outcomes and the moves of opponents. With practice, children can develop real skill at games of strategy, while challenging working memory and cognitive flexibility.
Just this morning I worked with a client who struggles to stick with a task and not give up, even though it becomes very challenging. As he played Towers of HanOink!, an app for executive functioning, he wanted to start over every time that he got stuck. I encouraged him to play through, persevere, and figure out a solution.
Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes, while providing players with intense strategic and tactical decisions every turn.
There is only one rule in Blokus, but each player will have to plan ahead and self-monitor.
A twist on the game of Tic Tac Toe, Goblet Gobblers, requires sustained attention and often self-control.
These new (to me and my clients) games are going into rotation this week. Your clients might find them to be fun and interesting as well.