Let's start old school: MastermindA great game for logical thinking. If you've never played, but you are a puzzle fan, be ready for a treat. Only 2 players and a few minutes required. Amazon This is a terrific one person game. A logic puzzle with three levels of play to provide plenty of room for growth and challenge. Rush Hour Amazon Dixit This is a funky game for 3-6 players. It's engaging for any age, but doesn't require reading - a rare game that truly works for the whole family. Players take turns choosing a card and finding a way to describe something about the image that is obscure, but still accurate. The trick is to be clear enough for someone to identify the card, but not so obvious that everyone can. It's a terrific creative pre-writing challenge. To be sure, the images owe much to the surrealist movement, so they are vaguely unsettling in that melted clock way. A perfect way to keep kiddos from thinking this non-reading game is too babyish. Walmart Fish Stix Another game for the whole family. No reading required, but enough challenge for any adult. It's great for basic counting and adding, as well as advanced strategic thinking and sophisticated visual discrimination, but mostly it is just fun. Bonus: It's well designed so that a game concludes within the span of most children's attention - as an adult player I struggle with the abandoned competition. Exploding Kittens Exploding Kittens Ok, readers. If you don't know this card game you have been living a 2016 slightly muted in color, joy, and all things good. You need this card game: * Brilliantly designed - a perfect combination of strategy and chance* Hilarious comic book illustrations that speak to the YouTubing/Bottle Flipping/Meme generation* Superior opportunities to plot aggressively against your sibling/parent/frenemy in a healthy way, of courseI think there is a rated M version now, so be careful you buy the original set. Gamewright Sleeping Queens is a charming card game. Mine is a game playing family, and I can assure you that my two teens daughters and 10 year old son and I have enjoyed more rounds of SQs this summer than I can count. So no, it's not just for young kids and no, it's not just for girls. When I do play with younger competitors, I love that they are motivated to add and subtract two digit numbers and develop a natural strategy of relying on skip counting 5's and 10's. When I play with my older kids, we develop backstories for the character cards and add our own odd rules for our amusement. Amazon Who Would Win? I stumbled across this game through a scholastic book order in my son's backpack. What a lucky discovery! The cards alone are fun for quick interesting facts about wild animals. The uncluttered design presents a great illustration along with size and speed stats. The game play is basically like War, but with the twist that the card values you compare are the animal stats. The biology content is interesting, but as a math person I most love that it is a great way to develop number sense (.01 is much smaller than .1) and a sense of measurement (a velociraptor weighed about as much as my dog). KenKen Have I mentioned I'm a math person? If you are familiar with Sudoku, Ken Ken will look very familiar. That added twist to Ken Ken comes from the "cages" around small sets of boxes within the puzzle. Each cage has an operator (+, -, x, or /) and a number indicating the answer when that operator is used with the numbers within the cage. Improving logical reasoning and math fact fluency was never so addictive. Walmart Walmart balance scale and weights So this is not technically a game. Sue me. I love love love this item! Children are drawn to playing with this balance scale like a kitten to explosives. I could write an entire essay on the fabulous math learning this inspires - I use it to tutor high school algebra, if you can believe it - but please just let your child loose with this "toy" and share the wonder.