Games That Boost Kids’ IQ

There are easy, inexpensive ways for parents to keep their kids’ brains sharp and have fun in the process.

By Reader's Digest Editors
perfection game

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development recently released results of its latest assessment of students around the world. Among the findings: 15-year-olds in the U.S. ranked 25th among peers from 34 countries based on the results of a math test and scored in the middle in science and reading. Students in Shanghai, China, Korea and Finland were at the top.

Another new study of second- third- and fourth-graders in Oakland, Calif. found that those who spent 20 hours over an eight-week period playing board and video games that required reasoning ability and processing speed saw their IQ’s jump an average of 13 points. (As a comparison, 12 points is the typical gain after an entire year of school.) While the children who had the lowest IQs to begin with saw the biggest bump, the results hold promise for all kids.

The good news: There are easy, inexpensive ways for parents to keep their kids’ brains sharp and have fun in the process. Here’s a list of the games kids in the study played, along with prices and where to buy them.

Blink card game, $5

Azada video game, $7

SET card game, $13
(daily puzzle available for free at setgame.com)

Perfection board game, $22

Chocolate Fix board game, $20

Rush Hour board game, $14
App
for iPhone and iPad, $3

Qwirkle board game, $25

Big Brain Academy
for Nintendo DS $31

Picross for Nintendo DS $20

Brickbreaker video game (also known as Breakout or Brickbuster), available online and on many phones for free

Sources: Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, NurtureShock

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