The 10 Best Games for Gifted Children of 2021

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Gifted children enjoy many of the same games, like Monopoly, that other children enjoy, but their love of learning and need for challenge means that they will enjoy games where they can learn, show off their knowledge, and be challenged. Whether your gifted child loves dinosaurs or space, language or logic, or anything in between, you can find the perfect game. Here are 10 great games for gifted kids that the whole family can play.

Many of these games have small parts that are choking hazards for children age 3 and under, so check if this applies to your household.

Set: The Family Game of Visual Perception

Family playing a game
Christopher Futcher / Getty Images

Set is an all-time favorite of gifted kids. It has won over 35 awards for Best Game, including one from Mensa. The object of the game is to find sets of three cards by following specific grouping rules. Each card has one of three shapes on it (a squiggle, a diamond, or an oval). The card can have one to three of those shapes on it and the shapes will be one of three colors displayed with one of three patterns. Gifted children are usually quick to pick out the sets from the 12 visible cards. It is a great game for the whole family.

Cranium Cadoo for Kids

This board game is a 2001 Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner, and it's no wonder it received that award. It combines elements of some traditional favorite games like Charades, Name-That-Tune, and Trivial Pursuit, and adds elements of drawing and sculpting too! Players draw cards that tell them what task they must complete before the musical timer goes off. The game is fun for the entire family, from the youngest to the oldest. Any number of players can join the fun starting with at least two. It's for ages 7 and up.

Apples to Apples

Another multi-award winning game: Family Fun Toy of the Year Award and Mensa Select Award, among others. This game is for four to ten players, with a recommended age of 12 and up. Cards have either a noun or an adjective and players must match one of each card. A judge then decides on the "best" match, but throughout the game, players take turns being the judge! Some younger gifted children could play the game, but there is also a children's version. It's fun for the whole family!

Mad Gab Game

Mad Gab is a hilarious language game based on sounds and pauses in speech. Players have to read a phrase from a card and their opponent must guess what the "real" phrase is. While the sounds are basically the same in each phrase, the sounds are broken up with pauses in between different sounds! "Dew Wino Hue," for example, is actually "Do I know you?" The game is for two or more players aged 10 to adult (small parts are a choking hazard for children age 3 and under). Gifted children who enjoy language love this game.

Spy Alley Board Game

What do you get when you cross Monopoly with Clue? The game Spy Alley! Players in this game are assigned secret spy identities, which they try to protect and which other players try to guess. The goal of the game is to complete your mission, which includes collecting various items such as a password and a disguise, and then landing on your country's embassy. It's a game the whole family can play and enjoy.

DaVinci's Challenge Game

This is a game of strategy and ancient symbols. The game board is a pattern known as the Flower of Life, a pattern made of ovals and triangles. A player's goal is to create specific symbols by placing oval or triangle pieces on the corresponding shapes on the board while preventing his or her opponent from creating symbols. The whole family will enjoy this challenging game, although if there are more than two players, they will have to play as teams. The game is for ages 7 to adult.

Chaos Strategy Board Game

This fun and challenging board game consists of 24 beautifully crafted wooden disks that players must stack up on a 10-inch square board. It's not as easy as it sounds, though. Stacks of four disks topple over. The disks are redistributed and the players continue taking turns stacking the disks. The winner is the one who gets all his or her disks on the board, ending the chaos. Players must carefully plan moves that will force their opponent to take his disks.
For two players ages 8 and up.

Cogno: The Alien Adventure Game

Players take on the identity of an alien who must travel through the galaxy which contains, among other things, black holes and mystery planets. To move around the board, players must answer questions about how the universe works. The game doesn't provide simple answers to those questions, but full explanations in an accompanying book. What space-loving, gifted child wouldn't love this game? The whole family can play this game, which is for ages seven to adult.

Dinosaurs & Things Board Game

This sturdy board game is perfect for dinosaur lovers. Players must make their way through the various eras, like the Jurassic, collecting dinosaur cutouts as they go. The cutouts that are placed like puzzle pieces over a picture of the dinosaur's skeleton. Players make their way around the board by answering questions about dinosaurs. However, the multi-level play makes the game fun and challenging for dinosaur lovers of all ages. It's for two to four players, ages 8 to adult.

Risk Godstorm Game

This strategy game is a twist on the classic Risk game. In this version, players enter the ancient world of mythology and attempt to control five ancient cultures: Greek, Celtic, Babylonian, Norse, and Egyptian. Gods can be summoned and battles can be fought in the underworld. For those who love mythology and strategy games, this game is ideal. The recommended ages are 12 and up, so families with older children will enjoy playing this game together.

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Article Sources
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  1. Vaivre-Douret L. Developmental and cognitive characteristics of "high-level potentialities" (highly gifted) childrenInt J Pediatr. 2011;2011:420297. doi:10.1155/2011/420297

  2. Nyamsuren E, Taatgen N. Set as an Instance of a Real-World Visual-Cognitive Task. Cognitive Science. doi:10.1111/cogs.12001

  3. Parents' Choice Foundation. Cranium Cadoo. Published 2001.

  4. American Mensa's Mind Games. Mensa Select Games (1999).