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Playtime with a Purpose: 8 Critical Thinking Games Your Kids Will Love

Encouraging critical thinking in children is essential to their success in an ever-changing world. This article provides a list of eight fun critical thinking games for kids, including Sudoku, puzzles, mazes, spot the difference, and board games like Guess Who? and Clue.

As parents, we want our kids to grow up to be independent, critical thinkers. We want them to be able to analyze a situation and come up with their own solutions. However, in today's society, it seems like there is less and less emphasis on critical thinking skills.

With the proliferation of screens and the constant stream of information, it can be hard for kids to know how to sift through everything and figure out what is important. That's why it's so important to find ways to encourage critical thinking in our kids.

One way to do this is through games. Games that require kids to solve problems or figure out clues can help them learn how to think critically. And the best part is that they won't even realize they're learning!

So next time you're looking for a fun activity for your kids, try one of these critical thinking games for kids and watch their minds grow.

critical thinking for kids

What is critical thinking and why is it important?

According to Stanford, critical thinking is the process of making reasoned judgments. It involves analyzing and evaluating information, identifying bias and errors, and formulating well-supported conclusions.

In many ways, it is the opposite of blind faith or simply accepting something as true because it is a popular opinion. Instead, critical thinkers use evidence and reason to reach sound conclusions.

This process is essential for making informed decisions in all areas of life, from personal finances to politics. Far from being a simple yes or no question, critical thinking requires taking multiple perspectives into account and constantly analyzing and re-evaluating information.

As such, it is a lifelong skill that is essential for success in an ever-changing world.

8 Fun Critical Thinking Games for Kids

Here are some of the best critical thinking games for kids:

1. Sudoku

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Teaching kids the importance of critical thinking at an early age is essential in helping them develop into well-rounded adults. One of the best critical thinking games for kids is Sudoku.

Sudoku is a logic-based number puzzle that requires players to fill in blank cells so that each row, column, and 3x3 box contains all of the numbers from 1 to 9. Not only is Sudoku a fun and challenging game, but it also helps kids develop important problem-solving and reasoning skills.

As they work to solve the puzzles, kids learn how to analyze information, identify patterns, and think critically about the best way to proceed. In addition, Sudoku can help improve kids' concentration and attention to detail.

2. Puzzles

critical thinking for kids

Among the greatest critical thinking games for kids are puzzles. Not only do they have to figure out how to put the pieces together, but they also have to use their problem-solving skills to figure out what the puzzle is supposed to represent.

In addition, puzzles help kids to develop their attention to detail and spatial awareness. For these reasons, puzzles make an excellent critical thinking game for kids.

There are a variety of different puzzles that you can use to challenge kids of all ages. For younger kids, try simple jigsaw puzzles with large pieces. As they get older, you can introduce them to more difficult puzzles with smaller pieces.

You can even make your own puzzles by cutting up pictures from magazines or printing out images from the internet. No matter what type of puzzle you choose, you're sure to encourage critical thinking in your kids.

3. Maze

critical thinking for kids

Mazes are fun and exciting critical thinking games for kids. They have to find their way through the twists and turns, using logic and problem-solving skills. And, it's great fun!

Mazes come in all different shapes and sizes, from simple dot-to-dot puzzles to more complex ones with multiple paths. There are even mazes you can make yourself, using everyday objects like string or masking tape.

Mazes can be found in books, magazines, and online. They can also be created using everyday objects like paper towels or string. Mazes can be used to teach kids about planning and following directions. They can also be used to improve memory and concentration.

4. Spot the Difference

critical thinking for kids

Did you know that playing spot the difference games can help improve your child's critical thinking skills? In this type of game, kids are presented with two images that appear to be identical.

However, there are usually a few subtle differences between the two pictures. To win the game, kids must carefully examine both images and identify all of the discrepancies.

Not only is this type of activity fun for kids, but it also provides a great opportunity for them to practice critical thinking.

As they search for the differences between the two images, kids are forced to pay close attention and look at the details. This type of focused thinking can help them develop important problem-solving and observation skills.

5. Board Games

fun games for kids

You don't have to be a grown-up to enjoy a good board game - in fact, many of the best board games out there are specifically designed for kids!

Not only are board games a fun way to spend some time with friends or family, but they're also a great way to encourage critical thinking. The following is a list of some of the best critical thinking games for kids that are sure to get those little brains working:

  • Guess Who? - This classic guessing game is a great way to teach kids about basic deduction and logic. Players take turns asking each other questions about their mystery character in an effort to narrow down who they are.
  • Clue - Another excellent deduction game, Clue challenges players to solve a murder mystery. By interrogating suspects and gathering clues, players must determine who did it, where they did it, and with what weapon.
  • Monopoly - Everyone's favorite real estate trading game is also a great way to teach kids about money management. Players must learn how to budget their money wisely in order to buy property, pay rent, and avoid going bankrupt.
  • Settlers of Catan - This popular strategy game requires players to trade resources in order to build up their settlements. Players must learn how to make the most efficient use of their resources in order to come out ahead.
  • Potato Pirates - Potato Pirates is a computer science game that encourages critical thinking and problem-solving. In Potato Pirates, players compete against each other to collect all 7 Potato King cards in order to win. Another way to win the game is by eliminating all the opponents.

6. Word Search

fun games for kids

Word search puzzles are a great way to improve your child's critical thinking skills. To solve a word search, your child must first identify all of the words in the puzzle. Then, they must figure out where each word is hidden within the grid.

This can be a challenge, as some words may be hidden in reverse or diagonal direction. Once all of the words have been found, your child can then circle or highlight them.

This activity requires kids to think carefully and look closely, which helps to improve their problem solving and analytical skills. In addition, word search puzzles are a fun and engaging activity that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages.

7. Riddles

fun games for kids

Riddles are one of the best critical thinking games for kids! Not only are they fun, but they also help kids to flex their problem-solving muscles. Here are a few of our favorite riddles for kids:

Q: What has a head but no body, a bed but no sleep, a mouth but no voice?

A: A river!

Q: I’m not alive, but I grow; I don't have lungs, but I need air; I don't have a mouth, but water kills me. What am I?

A: Fire!

Q: You see a boat filled with people. It has not sunk, but when you look again you don’t see a single person on the boat. Why?

A: Everyone was at lunch!

8. Memory Game

fun games for kids

One of the funnest critical thinking games for kids is memory games. The basic premise of the game is to turn over a series of cards and try to remember where each card is located.

The catch is that the cards are turned over one at a time, so you have to rely on your memory to keep track of where the cards are. This may sound easy, but it can be quite challenging, especially as the number of cards increases.

The memory game is a great way to help kids develop their critical thinking skills by forcing them to pay attention, remember important details, and make inferences based on what they see.


Here you have it – eight critical thinking games for kids to foster the development of your child's critical thinking abilities. However, it's important to note that critical thinking, like any skill, requires time and practice to cultivate. By initiating this process early on and nurturing your child's critical thinking abilities, you provide them with a valuable tool that will serve them effectively in the long run. The wonderful part is that these activities can all be facilitated through Rolljak. You can find inspiration from the Rolljak community in creating critical thinking sessions via Rolljak Templates or create your own with the assistance of the AI Question Generator.