Build a Story in the Car: This game starts with the phrase “In the car there was…” The first person fills in the blank with anything, such as “a French goat.” The next person repeats that and adds another object or phrase; “In the car there was a French goat cooking on a George Foreman Grill.” The game ends when one of the players forgets part of the story. Encourage kids to picture the scene and try to connect the story with vivid images.
What it helps: Builds the mental skills of long-term memory and divided attention.
I Spy a Sound: The first person begins with the phrase “I spy something that starts with the “S” sound.” The other players take turns guessing, and between each guess they get another sound clue, such as “I see something that starts with the “S” sound and is the color that starts with the “R” sound.”
What it helps: This revved-up version of the old favorite helps with logic and reasoning and promotes auditory processing skills.
Paperless Tic-Tac-Toe: Take the classic game of tic-tac-toe and assign each box a number. Have your child visualize this grid in her mind and call off the box number in which she wants to place her mark. Or, try playing tic-tac-toe by drawing the grid in the air and pointing to the box where you want to place your mark. The game is over when someone wins with three in a row, or when someone loses by taking an occupied spot.
What it helps: Memory, visualization, planning, focus, problem solving
20 Questions: Think of a person or object and give your child 20 chances to narrow down what you’re thinking of by asking yes or no questions. To help them improve their logic and reasoning, teach them to strategize by using questions that will significantly narrow down the categories, such as “Are they alive?” or “Do we have one at home?”
What it helps: Logic, reasoning, memory
Sing your own Song: Have a blast replacing the words to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with your own made-up version. Someone sings the first line, then the next person quickly comes up with and sings the next line, and so on until the song is finished. “Mom and I are in the car.” “Today we are going very far.” “On to Texas, the lone star state.” “It has cowboys, I think that’s great.” “Mom and I and are driving in the car.” “We’re having fun, yes we are.” Move on to other tunes after you’ve tackled this one.
What it helps: Strategy, rhyming, auditory processing, processing speed
Make a Mental Movie: Start with a subject like a puppy and then have your child help create what the puppy looks like; his size, shape, color, etc. Have your child talk about where the puppy is; next to a car, in the forest, etc. Then have your child add details such as the weather or what the dog is saying. By developing pictures with color, size,
perception, sound, and background, kids learn how to develop a more complete picture.
What it helps: Attention, logic and reasoning, working memory
Rhyme Time: Have your child choose four rhyming words and use them to create a poem. For younger kids, simply say a word, then take turns coming up with words that rhyme with it.
What it helps: Auditory analysis, verbal rhythm, memory