Logic – it sounds such a worthwhile thing to be good at and brings up images of white coats and boffins. Actually, is it just about organised thinking that gets you to where you want to be.
Giving them a challenge, working out a strategy, realising what they did wrong last time and then trumping their opponent – this is logic being used by children.
We have been looking at games and activities that all develop logical skills – whilst the child is too busy having fun to notice!
Plan a route
Mazes are great fun and can be done together or alone – full of twists and turns, it is fun to get lost but children but even more fun to get to the end.
Get children to invent their own mazes for you to solve – makes a great wet weather day activity.
This wipe clean book means that children can repeat their success, seeing how quickly they can remember. These are easy to complete for 4-6 year olds.
More involved is this newly published and stunningly illustrated Labyrinth book full of mind boggling puzzles. The ideas are wonderful – find your way through a page of snakes or geometric designs – 8+
Spot a pattern
Knowing how things go together and finding matches takes some thinking about, especially when the clues are hidden – get children using their eyes in a new way.
Swish is a fast paced game where you all play at once to try and spot matching cards. Just lay out the see through plastic cards in a grid and see if you can find the ones that match – they may be reversed, upside down or mirrored – but if you can find a match – then swish! – you win! 8+
Optical illusions have always fascinated children – how do they work? This book allows you to put them together – just put the stickers in the right places to make the patterns appear – a really active way of looking at them – 6+
Solve a puzzle
Spatial puzzles give a different challenge – one that children are often better at than the adults. Manipulating shapes and seeing them from different angles helps children to think about other ways of solving the problem.
It is great to find games that children can do on their own or with others – and having solved them they make a great way of teasing the grown ups who, let’s face it, are going to struggle!
Cubissimo from Djeco sets 30 levels of challenge. With cards that give a starting point, the wooden pieces can be slotting together to make a cube each time. With so few pieces you would think it would be straight forward but they can turned in so many directions – 8+
Rush hour is a classic game. Set up the cars on the grid as set out on the card and the move them forward and back so that the red car can escape through the gap. There are 40 levels to work through – see if you can get the smallest amount of moves and remember the sequence. 8+
Make a sequence
Logic is not just about numbers! Children can work out their own patterns and build up a chain or events that creates their own end product. Working through a project that requires them to think about each step is a great way of developing their persistence – especially if they get to play with it afterwards.
Story box has endless possibilities. Put the identical jigsaw pieces in a row and invent your story – your sequence is your story. Try remembering what last night’s story was or adding on a new twist. Getting children to identify which elements make the best twist is all about planning. 5+
This dinosaur head is a great example of a making project. Follow the steps to bend and fold the card and slot it together – the instructions are really well laid out but need to be completed in the right sequence to get the full effect. He looks great on the wall! 7+
Master the rules
Games that have winners and losers mean that it you want to win next time, you need to learn the rules and realise how to beat your opponent. Whilst very young children can be upset when the loose and think it is unfair, letting them know why and how they lost gives them the power to win next time.
Sleeping queens introduces a whole world of royalty and need to be woken up to break the spell. Play a knight to steal a queen, take a chance on a dragon or a jester. There are lots of twists and turns and ways of out thinking the other players. 8+
With pirate treasure to win, Loot demands a high level of thinking to ensure that you win more than the others whilst you are storming their ships and thinking about ways of manoeuvring your cards. Great fun. 10+
Our top tips
- Point out how they won – some games are just chance but so often it is about planning your way to victory – children love to have a opportunity to win
- When the instructions get difficult, look back and forward and see if they can work out why this bit is really important
- Look out for games and puzzles that have more than one outcome – finding out different ways of finishing a puzzle is fascinating
- Baffle a family friend – when they have worked out the solution to a puzzle let them show an unsuspecting grown up and see them struggle – it will be great fun to watch and reinforces their success
We hope that you have some new ideas to think about and would love to hear some of your success stories. Let us know.