Smart games for a summer with children

"Mom, I'm bored." It is the phrase of summer and parents get us crazy. However, boredom can be an opportunity to monetize the creativity of our children and, at the same time, encourage their cognitive development by inviting them to play at smart games, a practical and productive activity that can be the children's summer feeling.

A large number of studies carried out in a long list of countries, as well as the American Pediatric Association, support the importance of recess in education, especially in children from 6 to 12 years old. This time to clear the mind causes the levels of attention to increase in the following classes, increase the level of communication as well as the ability to solve problems in the students.


Mom, I'm bored

With summer around the corner, free time will be more similar to this game time than to the academic structure of the classes. There is only one marked difference: the lack of other children of equal age with whom to interact.

This situation, many times, provokes the scene of a bored child looking for advice among adults about what to do with their time. Being bored is a temporary state characterized by the lack of stimulation and the unpleasant feeling that accompanies it. In most cases when a child is bored is also motivated to find something stimulating to entertain.

It is very common today that children find a way to spend their time in technology: watching a movie while they are in the car, having dinner with the television on even though they are not really paying attention, losing hours on the computer doing nothing , play with the mobile, have conversations of little content by messages or change channels passively in front of the screen. These situations represent a great opportunity for our son to show some creativity, deepen his problem-solving ability and develop motivational skills.


As parents, we influence the level of motivation our children have. A motivated child is one who seeks new experiences, not the one who does not get bored. The antidote to boredom is to provide our children with an environment where they can experience their ability to be autonomous, where they have control over what they are going to do, something that is challenging and involves intrinsic motivation.

Alternatives common to boredom of children in summer

In fact, there are more and more summer camps that have periods of free play without a structured structure for children to learn to direct their own activities. It may be interesting to do the experiment this summer to have a routine where there are no scheduled activities but neither can make passive use, that is, only to watch, from television, video games, tablets, computers or mobile phones. Many children write wonderful stories on the computer or create very entertaining videos with the use of a tablet or mobile, but this all involves the use of technology as a creative artist and not as a passive user.


We can start by giving them ideas to challenge them to get the next viral video on the Internet, write the next literary world hit, design the gifts they want for the future. It will always be positive Encourage them to enjoy the outdoors and limit their entry in two hours. While the immediate response will not be one of emotion and gratitude, it is likely that from these periods there will be moments of self-motivation and personal reflection.

Introverted children will easily fill these times with activities, quite possibly with the help from a good book. On the other hand, the extroverted children will find these moments more and more interesting when they manage to fill that space with something with which to impress others later. For example, they will try to perfect a song that they will sing to their friends and family, cook a dish to share with others, or create things that others can enjoy with them.

A bit of boredom may be just what children need

You have to know that the opportunity to be creative is not something children choose for themselves. It is the mildly unpleasant feeling of being bored from where creativity and experimentation are born. While summer can be filled with various leisure activities it is good to know that a bit of boredom may be exactly what our children need to make it a fruitful summer.

It is clear that it will also require activities that involve funny Games that promote cognitive development and intelligence. Matching play with fun is an ideal way to make use of the free time that summer offers.

How do the sustained attention required to read a good book differ from that needed to play chess? How do you differentiate the use of concentration and focus that you need a board game that you need to pass level in a difficult video game? The truth is that to a certain degreeAll these activities are a form of intelligent play. The brain is the only organ of the human body that changes daily according to the experiences it experiences. By performing activities that require making a voluntary use of our memory, our attention, and overcoming challenges, we improve these capabilities.

Thus, although several activities stimulate cognition, there are some that are more effective than others. But how can we determine which mental exercises show the correct design to be effective?

Essential in smart games

1. Different levels. Cognitive exercises are more effective when they include challenges of high and low levels since low level exercises help us to improve our perception. To solve problems of greater difficulty it is necessary to perceive the details clearly.
2. Adaptability The exercises must increase and decrease in difficulty depending on the performance, thus adapting to the level of skill one has.
3. Practice These activities must be practiced with constancy.
4. That draws attention. To maximize changes in plasticity in the cortex, the activity must be carried out with sustained attention each time it is carried out. For this it is better if it is done in intervals of no more than 15-20 minutes.
5. Rewards in a timely manner. The activities that provide the most cognitive development are those that are rewarded after doing well some individual ones and not at the end of a block.

The best smart games

The best smart games are those that involve new languages, reading, memory and attention. Some examples are: crosswords, puzzles, computer games with academic content, sudoku, Tetris, console games like Brain Age or learning to play musical instruments, among others. Board games such as Carcassonne, Catan, Mancala, Risk and Scrabble, the construction of 3D objects with the help of kits and Legos or homemade objects, are other smart games of great benefit.

Finally, there are different applications of learning games that promote attention, mnemic and intellectual cognitive development in children from 6 to 12 years old such as: Where's My Water ?, Brain Trainer, Logic Master, Tangram, and 1000 adventures.

Maite Balda Aspiazu. Psychologist and Master in Cognitive Neurosciences

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