Building a Child's Mind

When I was a teacher, I would often get some variation to the following question. How do I help my child become smarter?  There are many ways to do this but it’s my opinion that one has been overlooked in some households.  The answer is strategy games.  One reason this may have been overlooked by some families is the time placed into video gaming systems.  Another may be that families don’t spend as much time in their home as they used to.  Other ways exist, of course.

Not only are strategy games fun, they also provide a great way of spending quality time with your child.  The following is a list of games I love playing with kids.  Perhaps you’ll carve some time and play some of these again!  Over time, I believe you will see the benefits.

Tic Tac Toe– Very easy, very quick and it can be played at an early age.

Checkers– Most 4-5 year old children can grab the basic concept.

Chess– One of my favorites to this day.  Most 6-8 year old boys and girls can grasp the basic moves.  I even played this in high school before class started.

Monopoly– This is a fantastic game that can be used to teach money concepts and strategy skills.  My mother and I would play for hours, stop the game to eat meals, and then go back to playing.

Scrabble– Though I was horrible at this game as a child, I improved fortunately!  This game can help your child quite a bit with phonetic patterns and language skills.

Logic Puzzles– Found next to crossword puzzles in most bookstores.  I can’t speak to this personally but my wife used them as a child.  She scored very highly on the logic section of her G.R.E exam so I can’t help but to think they must have helped.

Helping a child become smarter doesn’t mean they have to always have their nose in a textbook.  I don’t want my children to be just the best reader, mathematician, or writer.  I want my kids to have the overall ability to think and problem solve.  And I bet you feel the same as I do.  In my opinion, these are the qualities smart children and successful adults seem to have in abundance.

If there are strategy games you have played as a child or currently play with your kids, feel free to add them to the comments section.  Thanks for reading and I’ll write to you again Friday.  Thanks for the tweets, Facebook messages, and positive encouragement you have been sending.  Have a terrific week!

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  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I look forward to reading your posts. As the mother of 3 kids I need all the resources I can get :) Following on FB & Twitter!

  2. Maryann says:

    Great information Clayton! As a former teacher and mother of two, I use these methods and still love to play the games myself. There are a lot of good games out there that will teach and help with those higher level thinking skills. Just stopping by to visit your blog as I am an avid follower! Keep the info coming – it's so helpful!

  3. Jessica says:

    We play many of these games in our house. My 7 year old loves all of them.

  4. You know, being the mother of 6 (from 21 all the way down to 2), I still learn something every day! This is a great post and I had never thought about Tic Tac Toe as a learning tool. I don't usually play these types of games with my youngest, but I will now! Thanks for the tips. Keep them coming…I can use all of the help I can get!

  5. Michelle says:

    I agree. I'm loving teaching my son checkers. Of course, I am trying to teach what to do or not to do, so we always end up with a "tie". The same goes for tic-tac-toe. We also love Battleship.