Video games that will get your kids thinking critically


Within some quarters, video games are perceived as being bad for the brain. However, some games have actually been proven to have a positive mental impact on players. 

But don’t just believe everything you read when research can back it up. A study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has revealed that the players of action video games showed improved performance in perception, attention, and cognition. Other studies have shown that children who play video games after chemotherapy need fewer painkillers than others.

From personal experience, I’ve found that interactive games are an excellent way to engage kids (and adults) and that the lessons they learn are more likely to stick. 

However, not all games are created equally. There are of course some games that you wouldn’t necessarily want your offspring to play, like those that are too violent and graphic. But if you have children who struggle to tear themselves away from their iPhones or PlayStations, I have some suggestions on what they could play that can help boost their brain power.


You’ve probably heard of this game and you’ve maybe even seen your kids watching one of the thousands of tutorials on YouTube (don’t question it; YouTube videos of people playing games is hugely popular). The game involves building and creating entire virtual worlds. A child’s imagination can run completely wild in this game. It’s not only good for creative thinking and developing spatial abilities, but players can learn all sorts of skills like planning and forecasting.

The Legend of Zelda

Here, players attempt to save kingdoms and battle monsters while having to follow a storyline. They need flexible thinking, planning skills, and a good memory as they navigate the game. They also need to solve puzzles, learn how to master swordplay, and deal with other characters. All of this goes on with distractions in the background. The game doesn’t have voice-overs, so your tween or teen will be practising their reading skills as well.

Portal 2

The sequel to 2007’s Portal involves putting players into a series of test-chambers from which they must figure out their exit. It’s become so popular with teachers around the world that many use it in lessons. As TeachThought states: “No matter what type of lesson you make using a game like Portal 2, it will help students learn how experimentation is trial and error and that failure can bring you closer to success.” 

In today’s world, you can’t keep children away from technology. However, you can help guide them in choosing games that will benefit them the most, without them even realising it.

Has a video game been the reason for a positive change in your child? Tell us your story by emailing to and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  

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