Games that boost memory and cognition

In an era of unending options, psychologists tell Hetvi Vashi about games that help youngsters develop key skills
Last Updated 07 May 2022, 03:36 IST

Elders often fear about children getting addicted to gaming. Several studies show how youngsters in love with gaming get distracted from academic goals. With the pandemic forcing children to stay in classrooms and playgrounds, indoor games have become more prominent than ever in a youngster’s life.

In such a situation, several psychologists say some games can relieve stress in children. They are instrumental in boosting memory and cognition.

“Interactive games with friends and families enhance the emotional and social quotient of a child,” says Dr Megha Mahajan, consultant, child and adolescent psychiatry, Fortis Hospitals, Bengaluru. “However, a balance between sports and indoor games can do wonders in childhood,” she adds.

So, what are these games that can help you develop key skills? Let’s find out.

Board games

Board games are an essential part of play therapy. Different games have different advantages, like, chess induces concentration, carrom encourages teamwork, scrabble assists word formation and sharpens vocabulary, snakes, and ladders and ludo help in calculation and numbering.

“Unlike the immediate rewards in video games, you need to play for at least 20 minutes to get results in any board game. Board games also help build patience,” says Megha.


The classic game of stacking the woodblocks, Jenga involves both physical and mental coordination. In this game, the suspense around the stability of the building tower is key. “It improves the hand-to-eye coordination, enhances the motor skills, and also the problem-solving ability of kids,” says Hannah Awayz, counsellor, HDFC School, Bengaluru.


Pictionary is supposed to be a drawing game, where one member of the team draws and the other members have to identify the pictures. Poorvasha Mathur, a child psychologist at Heart it Out, Bengaluru, stresses that Pictionary essentially evokes creativity in children. “It is also a very team-oriented game,” she adds.

It is an assertive game as you get to present an opinion. It essentially helps you to estimate the strengths and weaknesses of the team members and further decipher whether one fits into the team or not.

UNO and other card games

These games are vital for goal-setting. “As an individual or even in a group, children learn emotional regulation and strong observation skills,” says Poorvasha about the advantages of card games.

Online games

In the era of unending options, moderation is the key, emphasises Hannah. Lumosity and CogniFit are online games focusing on cognitive development, she says. Poorvasha speaks highly about, a game that helps children create their own stories by drawing and painting. “It helps to bring out the thought-process of children and their experiences.”

Several online games promote learning and reasoning. Poorvasha suggests Minecraft for math skills and management of resources, Tetris for enhancing memory, visual-spatial reasoning, and greater attention to details, and Angry Birds for logical reasoning.

“I would also suggest children and parents to create their own games, with their rules and strategies as this improves creativity,” says Hannah.

(Published 06 May 2022, 16:08 IST)

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