Thought-Provoking Games for Kids

Games promote cognitive skills, such as problem-solving, logic, reasoning and creative thinking by challenging players to use strategy, make educated guesses and develop solutions to different problems. As players ponder patterns, techniques and winning strategies, their minds are stimulated as they generate different thoughts and ideas. Use game play as a way to encourage your child to think outside the box and spark unique ideas or interesting perspectives.

Brainteasers and Riddles

Brainteasers and riddles are both challenging and mentally stimulating. They promote higher-order thinking skills, such as comprehension and information-processing. Brainteasers encourage kids to focus, look for patterns and come up with solutions, which can promote thinking in new and unique ways. Similarly, riddles challenge kids to think outside the box and to consider familiar ideas in different contexts.


Strategy games like checkers, chess and cards promote thinking skills, such as logic and the ability to problem-solve 2. They are also thought provoking in that they challenge players to develop a solution to a problem or circumstance. Encourage kids to consider possible solutions with guided questions, such as “If I move my knight over here, which one of your chess pieces should you move out of the way?” If chess is too advanced for your youngster, play a game of oversized checkers using colored jar lids and a checkered tablecloth or a game of go fish, encouraging her to think about the cards she has in her hand versus your played hands and the possible cards remaining in the “pond.” Challenge older kids to design a unique card game to give them a thought-provoking, constructive task.

Trivia and Question Games

Trivia games provoke thoughts and ideas by challenging players to recall and recite information. Make trivia games entertaining and amusing for kids by selecting or inventing a game relevant to their interests -- music or sports trivia, for example. Multiplayer question games can generate word associations and ideas as players shout out answers or make guesses within a specific time limit.


Spark creative thinking in children of all ages with your own challenge games. Combine game play with arts and crafts by challenging players to draw or paint an abstract concept, such as comfort, joy or love. Then, ask grandparents, friends, or neighbors to judge the artwork and choose a winner. Another thought-provoking challenge idea is to provide each player with paper and a pencil and give them a category, such as green foods or flowers. Challenge each player to think of a word starting with each letter of the alphabet that relates to the category topic. The player with the most words at the end of the time limit is the winner.