23 Best Games for Cognitive Development

Cognitive development is the lifelong process of refining our ability to think, learn, and understand. At any age, it is crucial, from curious toddlers to adults, to navigate complex relationships. Here are the best games for cognitive development to help you and your kids.

You Are Different!

You Are Different!

Attention games for cognitive development like this one increase your mental skills fast.



If you need video games for cognitive development, you can play this with your kids and improve!

Logic Balls

Logic Balls

You can use mind games for cognitive development like this one and empower your logic skills!

Have I Seen It or Not?

Have I Seen It or Not?

It is time for you to boost your mind with these kinds of memory games for cognitive development.

Do you need more games for cognitive development? Then, you can benefit from MentalUP!

MentalUP offers hundreds of games to help its users get the most out of their brain training experience. The app's easy-to-use platform features math games, logic and reasoning challenges, linguistic activities, and much more! 💪

Don’t forget that it is appropriate for people of all ages! Now, you can start to boost your and your kids’ cognitive development by having fun at the same time! 🎉


Cognitive Development Games for Toddlers

Toddlers are at a critical stage in their development, where they are starting to learn about the world around them and develop essential cognitive functions.

Playing games can be an effective way to help toddlers develop their cognitive abilities, including problem-solving, memory, and attention. Here are some of the best cognitive development games for toddlers.

1. Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek is one of the most entertaining cognitive development games for infants and toddlers. This classic game can help kids develop their decision-making skills, practice social skills, and learn about taking turns.

As they learn to think about where to hide and how to find their friends during this game, they are also exercising their cognitive abilities. This expands their memory and attention skills as they’ll try to remember where their friends are hiding. Plus, it can be played both indoors and outdoors.

2. MentalUP Learning Games

MentalUP is a learning app that has been scientifically designed by a team of academics, educators, and game developers. It is the ultimate app that combines gaming and exercise modules to support children's development in a holistic way.

The app offers a wide variety of mind games for cognitive development and physical education exercises presented on an easy-to-navigate platform. That’s why it's loved by over 10 million kids, parents, and teachers worldwide.

With its adaptive algorithms, the app continuously tests children's skills and provides them with the best games for cognitive development. This ensures that each child receives an engaging and challenging learning experience, which encourages them to keep improving.

Moreover, MentalUP provides parents and teachers with valuable insights into their kids' development with rich performance-tracking tools. Also, the app is available on any PC, tablet, or smartphone.

If you need a kid-friendly learning app to reach the best online games for cognitive development, MentalUP is here to help!

MentalUP offers a wide range of benefits for their overall development with its age-appropriate, colorful, and engaging design, making it the perfect learning tool for kids. 🎈

In addition to providing the best children's games for cognitive development, MentalUP also supports young kids' motor and hand-eye coordination skills with animated exercises. 🎯


3. Shape Sorters

Shape sorters are great for developing toddlers' problem-solving skills. As they learn to match different shapes with their corresponding holes, they exercise their cognitive abilities. So, you can use shape sorters, which are one of the best problem-solving activities for kids to support their development and have fun at the same time.

Playing games with shape sorters can be one of the most beneficial cognitive development games for toddlers as it also supports their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. If you are looking for tools for young kids, you can check out shape sorters that include blocks with different shaped holes and sorting toys with different colored shapes.

4. Sensory Play

If you want to organize home or classroom games for cognitive development, you should definitely try sensory bills. Sensory play activities, like playing with sand, water, or play dough, can help toddlers develop their sensory and motor skills. It also helps with cognitive development by providing opportunities for exploration and experimentation.

For example, playing with sand can help toddlers develop their fine motor skills and learn about cause and effect as they experiment with building sandcastles and digging tunnels. To provide your kids with sensory learning experiences, you can get playdough or sensory activity sets.

5. Go Fish

This is one of the most fun card games for cognitive development. It is a simple yet effective game that helps toddlers develop their memory and attention span. The game challenges kids to remember which cards they have and which ones they need. This allows them to strengthen their cognitive abilities.

Go Fish is also a great way for toddlers to practice social skills and learn about taking turns. It can be purchased as a card game or downloaded from Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

6. Sesame Street

This is a learning app that contains a variety of games for cognitive development in preschoolers and younger kids. The app features familiar Sesame Street characters and offers mini-games that help toddlers develop their math and problem-solving skills.

Some of the games within the app include counting objects, matching shapes and colors, and sorting objects. It also provides opportunities for language development and social interaction as toddlers learn new words and interact with the characters in the game. The app can be downloaded from app stores for free.

Cognitive Development Games for Preschoolers

Preschoolers are at an age where they are starting to develop more complex cognitive skills and expand their social abilities. Cognitive development games for preschoolers can be an effective way to help children aged 3-5 years old to develop these skills and learn about social interactions.

Let’s take a close look at the best cognitive development games for 3-5 year olds.

7. Playing With Puppets

Playing with puppets can help preschoolers develop their imagination and creativity, as they use the puppets to tell stories and act out scenes. This alternative, which is one of the most effective vocabulary games, also helps with language development, communication skills, and learning how to express themselves better.

Playing games for cognitive development with puppets also provides opportunities for social interaction and empathy as it challenges kids to understand and relate to different characters and perspectives.

8. Memory Games

Memory games, such as matching games or memory card games, are a great way for preschoolers to develop their memory and concentration in a fun way. These games challenge kids to use their attention and concentration to remember where different cards or pieces are located, allowing them to strengthen their cognitive abilities.

They are also great resources for fostering kids' problem-solving skills, as they encourage kids to think about different strategies to remember and match different items. So utilizing memory games for cognitive development can be one of the most fun and challenging ways to keep young kids' minds active.

Would you like to foster your kid's intelligence in a fun way? If your answer is yes, there is no need to look any further than MentalUP!

MentalUP provides a variety of scientifically-proven memory games to help kids sharpen their memory, focus, and attention. 🚀

Also, MentalUP is the safest learning platform for toddlers to learn and grow with its no-ads learning environment, screen-time limiting features, and comprehensive content. 😇


9. Building Sets

Building sets, such as Legos or blocks, can help preschoolers develop problem-solving and spatial reasoning abilities. As they build different structures and creations, they are exercising their cognitive skills and learn about spatial relationships.

Playing games with building sets also allows children to practice their problem-solving, engineering, and attention skills. Therefore, they can be great resources to stimulate kids' brain functioning, as well as keep them engaged for a long time.

10. Hoot Owl Hoot!

This might be one of the best board games for cognitive development. Hoot Owl Hoot! is a collaborative game that can help preschoolers develop their problem-solving and social skills. In the game, players work together to move all of the owls to their nests before the sun rises.

The game helps with critical thinking and strategy skills as kids learn to work together to achieve a common goal. It also provides opportunities for kids to learn about teamwork.

Cognitive Development Games for School Age

It is crucial for school-age children to work on their core cognitive skills that are significant to academic success and personal growth. Here are the best cognitive development games for school-age kids that will spark their minds to become more confident in their academic abilities and willing to take on new challenges.

11. Math Games

Math games are a great way to develop important cognitive skills in school-age kids, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and mathematical reasoning. By practicing math concepts through games, like Math Dice, MentalUP math games, and Blokus, kids can become more confident in their math abilities and develop a positive attitude toward the subject.

So math games for middle age children that promote cognitive development can translate this positive attitude into greater engagement and success in math and other academic subjects.

Looking for an effective resource to improve your child's math skills? MentalUP offers a variety of math games that are designed to help kids develop key cognitive skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and mathematical reasoning. ✅

These fun games are divided into categories based on age and skill level, so you can find the perfect fit for your child. Plus, the app includes features, such as progress tracking for you to monitor your child's progress. 🎓

You can give your child the gift of learning with MentalUP! 🎁


12. Scrabble Junior

Scrabble Junior might be one of the best cognitive development games for middle childhood. It is a great game for developing cognitive skills, such as vocabulary, spelling, and critical thinking.

Challenging kids to create words from a set of letter tiles also contributes to their decision-making skills. Plus, the game is available in both board game and app form, which means that you can easily find it on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

13. Uno

Uno is one of the best cognitive development games for second graders and older. This fast-paced card game challenges kids to use their strategy and critical thinking skills, improving their decision-making and planning.

What is working memory and how to improve it, you may wonder. You can be sure that Uno is a great game for improving working memory! Playing Uno also helps improving social skills, such as communication and turn-taking. So it is a fun and engaging alternative for supporting kids’ cognitive and social skills that will help them succeed in school and beyond.

14. SET

SET is one of the most fun cognitive skill development games for adults and kids alike. The game involves pattern recognition and spatial reasoning, as players must quickly identify sets of three cards that have the same or different shapes, colors, and patterns. This helps develop visual perception and logical thinking skills.

Playing SET is also a fun way to develop attention to detail and focus, as players must pay close attention to the cards on the table in order to identify matching sets. It's a great game for players of all ages and can either be played in just a few minutes or for a longer period of time. So it can be a great option for family game nights.

15. Strategy Games

Strategy games require players to think ahead and anticipate their opponent's moves. Therefore, playing strategy games helps kids develop core cognitive skills, like planning, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

Strategy games also challenge kids to adapt their strategies based on their opponent's moves, which improves their flexibility and adaptability. To provide your kids with strategy games for cognitive development, you can check out board games, like chess or Qwirkle, or download video games good for cognitive development.

Cognitive Development Games for Teenagers

Teenagers are in a crucial stage of their development as they transition into adulthood. They face academic and social pressures and live in a fast-paced and demanding world.

Cognitive development games can help teenagers build self-esteem and essential cognitive skills, such as attention, memory, and reasoning. Here is a list of games for cognitive development in teenagers.

16. Puzzle Games

Whether physical or online, puzzle games are great for teenagers who want to improve their cognitive abilities while being entertained. These games require players to think critically and solve complex problems, which can improve their reasoning and problem-solving skills.

Games like Tetris, Candy Crush, and Sudoku may be the best games for teenagers' cognitive development. You can also check out interactive and engaging learning apps, like MentalUP, to provide your teens with a wide range of puzzle games that’ll foster their intelligence.

Discover MentalUP, the ultimate brain-training app designed to help teenagers improve their memory, attention, problem-solving, and more.

With MentalUP's wide range of engaging puzzle games, your kid will be challenged to think critically and creatively. And with the app's personalized training programs, their learning journey will be tailored to their individual strengths and weaknesses, ensuring maximum improvement. 📊

If you're worried about screen time, don't be! MentalUP offers a screen-time limit feature that ensures young adults don't spend too much time playing on the app. With MentalUP, you can be confident that your teenager is not only having fun but also accelerating their overall development in a safe way. ⏳


17. Sports Games

Sports games can help teenagers develop their cognitive skills by improving their reaction time, attention, and decision-making abilities. These games require players to react quickly to changing situations and make strategic decisions, which can help improve their cognitive flexibility and working memory.

If you are looking for video games for cognitive development in teenagers, you can check out sports games like FIFA, NBA 2K, and Madden NFL to enable your teenagers to stay entertained while socializing with their friends and keeping their minds active.

18. Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a board game that has been adapted into a video game and is one of the best video games for cognitive development in teens and adults. The game challenges players to plan and strategize as they build railroads across different parts of the world.

The game can be played on computers. It is great for improving spatial reasoning, attention, and working memory skills as players plan their routes and make strategic decisions.

19. Lego Worlds

Lego Worlds is one of the best video games for cognitive development for children and teens. It is a sandbox-style video game that can be played on various platforms, including consoles and computers. In this game, players can build and explore virtual worlds made out of Lego blocks.

The game can help improve spatial reasoning, creativity, and problem-solving skills as players build and design their own structures and landscapes. Additionally, it can improve attention span, as it challenges players to focus on relevant information while building and exploring.

Cognitive Development Games for Adults

Many adults lead busy lives, which can result in a lack of mental stimulation. One of the best ways for adults to keep their minds active and enhance their cognitive abilities is by playing a variety of games.

Now, we'll explore some entertaining games for cognitive development in adults that can expand core mental skills. Let’s dive in!

20. Brain Games

Brain games are under a broad category of games that are designed to challenge and exercise the brain. These games typically involve puzzles, trivia, or memory exercises that require players to use their cognitive abilities.

Engaging with a variety of brain games is a great way for adults to improve their cognitive abilities and keep their minds active, as these games contribute to cognitive skills such as memory, attention, and critical thinking. Examples of brain games include online or offline Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and word games, like Scrabble or Boggle.

Are you ready to challenge your brain with some exciting cognitive development games for adults? MentalUP is the ultimate resource where adults can reach hundreds of brain training games that are designed to improve memory, attention, critical thinking, creativity, visual intelligence, decision-making, and much more! 👏

From specific cognitive development games to easy puzzles, MentalUP offers a wide range of content for people of all abilities. Plus, with its performance-tracking tools and rich reporting modules, you can see how you're improving over time. 🔥

MentalUP can be used on any PC, tablet, or smartphone anytime, anywhere! It is time to start using the award-winning app right now to unlock your brain's full potential! 🏆


21. Tetris

Tetris is one of the best games for cognitive development that has been around for over three decades. The classic game is now available as an app on both Android and iOS devices for free to spark both adults’ and kids’ minds.

The game involves fitting falling blocks together to form lines that disappear, requiring players to use their critical-thinking skills. While it may seem like a simple game, research has shown that Tetris can improve cognitive skills, such as spatial processing, mental rotation, and visual-spatial reasoning.

22. Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan is one of the best board games for cognitive development in adults. The popular board game challenges players to build settlements, cities, and roads on a fictional island called Catan. So it requires players to strategize, negotiate, and trade with one another in order to build the most successful civilization.

The game can help improve cognitive skills, such as decision-making, spatial reasoning, and problem-solving, as players must navigate the game board and make strategic decisions to win. Additionally, the game requires players to interact with one another, which can nurture social skills and communication.

23. Chess

Chess is one of the best board games for cognitive development of all ages. The game involves two players moving their pieces strategically around the board to capture their opponent's king. Therefore, it helps players practice their critical thinking, problem-solving, and spatial reasoning.

The game is also great for improving memory, attention, concentration, and quick reflexes. So it may be one of the best options to organize both a fun and challenging family game night.

Tips to Boost Brain Power Successfully Through Games for Cognitive Development

Games can be a fun and effective way to boost brain power and cognitive development, but not all games are created equal. To get the most benefits out of them, it's important to choose the right games. Here are some tips for selecting and using games to boost cognitive development:

  • Make sure the games you select are appropriate for your child's age and developmental level.
  • Look for games that are challenging but not frustrating.
  • Consider different games that can help develop different cognitive skills. For example, puzzle games can improve problem-solving skills, while memory games can help with recall.
  • Mix cognitive games up to keep your child engaged and challenged. You might alternate between puzzle games, strategy games, and memory games.
  • Encourage your child to set specific goals for each game and track their progress.
  • Motivate your kid to see their cognitive improvement over time.
  • Try to incorporate game-playing into your child's daily routine, even if it's just for a few minutes each day.
  • Encourage your child to take breaks when they need to and give their brain a chance to rest.
  • Add a social element to your kid’s cognitive development by playing games with them from time to time.
  • Don’t stick with the same games, and encourage your kid to discover new games and challenges.
  • Try to intercorporate apps and websites into your child’s routine to use the power of technology.

Do you need an innovative learning app to foster your cognitive and physical abilities? With its innovative approach to brain training, MentalUP leverages the power of technology to offer a fun and engaging way to improve mental and physical fitness.

MentalUP features a wide range of engaging brain training games and physical exercises that cater to different age groups, making it accessible for everyone from toddlers to grandparents. 👪

So it is an excellent resource for families looking to improve their mental agility, get fit, and have fun together. 🌈


Frequently Asked Questions

So far, we have evaluated the best cognitive development games for all age groups and given some tips to help you get the most out of them. If you still have questions left in your mind, let’s take a closer look at the most commonly asked questions about the topic.

What kind of games are bad for cognitive development?

Games that require limited cognitive effort or promote aggression can be negative for cognitive development.

How can you promote healthy cognitive development?

You can promote healthy cognitive development by engaging in activities that challenge your brain, such as reading, solving puzzles, and learning new skills.

Is play important for cognitive development?

Yes, play is important for cognitive development as it helps children develop skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and social interaction.

Can toys enhance cognitive development?

Yes, toys can enhance cognitive development by stimulating different senses and promoting problem-solving and creativity.

It is crystal clear that games that foster cognitive development and help individuals stay mentally sharp are critical for all age groups. While there are many alternatives available, it is not easy to find the most high-quality games that can be played in a safe learning environment.

Luckily, MentalUP provides both kids and adults with an age-appropriate learning experience tailored to individual needs, interests, and skills. 💯

MentalUP's fun and interactive platform continuously tests users' skills and uses adaptive algorithms to provide them with the most suitable content to holistically support mental and physical development. 🎊

Plus, it can be used on any device, anytime and anywhere. You can join the 10 million kids, teachers, and parents worldwide who enjoy expanding their potential with MentalUP! 🌍


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