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50 Quick-Play Reasoning & Problem-Solving Games
Ages: 6-12   Grades: 1-7

Target a broad brush of reasoning skills with games that are easy to set up and play.  Give your students fun, positive ways to practice problem-solving skills with others. 


  • Problem solve; think creatively; and use logic in a real-time, fun format
  • Become independent thinkers and problem solvers
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** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

This book of 50 games gives you many teaching options: 

  • reinforce a variety of skills
  • games at two difficulty levels for most skills
  • use the games for therapy, learning centers, and take-home activities
  • meaningful, goal-driven stimuli for two to three players
  • many of the game boards can be customized with your own stimulus items

Teach 24 problem-solving skills: 

Patterning Identifying Facts & Opinions
Comparing and Contrasting Stating Facts & Opinions
Describing Absurdities
Sequencing Analogies
Categorizing Giving Reasons
Categorical Exclusion Debating
Identifying True/False Statements Cause & Effect
Answering Wh- Questions Using Logic
Asking Questions Identifying Problems
Idioms Brainstorming Solutions
Predicting Identifying Resources
Drawing Conclusions Evaluating Solutions


Distribute the games as printed, or color and laminate them for future use.  You will need different colored game tokens; dice; coins; crayons, markers, or colored pencils; paper; scissors; glue sticks; game chips; and a timer to play some of the games.

Copyright © 2010

184 pages
  • Developing reasoning skills encourages critical thinking and meta-awareness of internal thought processes.  Reasoning skills support students' logical judgments based on conscious reflection and sensitivity to multiple viewpoints (Little, 2002). 
  • Reasoning and critical thinking are necessary skills for competence across the curriculum.  They require students to examine, relate, and analyze all aspects of a problem or situation.  Students engaged in critical thinking must make associations that connect problems with their prior knowledge (Pellegrini, 1995). 
  • Explicitly teaching and reinforcing inference-making leads to better outcomes in overall text comprehension, text engagement, and metacognitive thinking (Borné, Cox, Hartgering, & Pratt, 2005). 
  • Students need extensive practice in solving problems independently in order to develop critical thinking (Paul, 1990). 
  • Klein and Freitag (1991) found that instructional games, without sacrificing performance, enhance the motivation of students in the areas of attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction.

50 Quick-Play Reasoning & Problem-Solving Games incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Borné, L., Cox, J., Hartgering, M., & Pratt, E. (2005). Making inferences from text [Overview]. Dorchester, MA: Project for School Innovation.

Klein, J.D., & Freitag, E. (1991). Effects of using an instructional game on motivation and performance. Journal of Educational Research, 84(5), 303-308.

Little, C. (2002). Reasoning as a key component of language arts curricula. The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 13(2), 52-59.

Paul, R. (1990). Critical thinking: What every person needs to survive in a rapidly changing world. Rohnert Park, CA: Center for Critical Thinking and Moral Critique.

Pellegrini, J. (1995). Developing thinking and reasoning skills in primary learners using detective fiction. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, 1. Retrieved November 1, 2009, from      


Paul F. Johnson, Karen Stontz


Paul F. Johnson, B.A., and Karen Stontz are writers and editors at LinguiSystems.  They are also co-authors of 50 Quick-Play Listening Games.

Paul has most recently authored Word Feast Middle School.  Paul enjoys music, cooking, gardening, traveling, and spending time with his family.  He has a special interest in developing thinking and communication skills in students of all ages.

Karen has co-authored other LinguiSystems publications, including No-Glamour Language Game and The Auditory Processing Game.  She has raised four sons and is a proud, grandma to her first grandchild—another boy!  In her free time, Karen enjoys reading, golfing, and working with special needs children and adults.


Basic language and reasoning skills are essential elements in dealing with daily life.  Without the ability to reason and solve problems, students may fail to grasp the richness of life's experiences.  For some students, reasoning and problem-solving skills evolve as naturally as language and basic cognition.  For others, explicit instruction and practice are necessary to put higher-level language and thinking skills in their grasp.  50 Quick-Play Reasoning & Problem-Solving Games provides a variety of ways to practice these skills in interactive, fun formats.

Reasoning and problem solving do not exist in a vacuum—understanding, practicing, and applying the skills that build those assets rely on interaction both with others and with aspects of everyday environments.  For those reasons, we feel games are a natural way to approach skill building; however, educational and instructional games often move too far from the skills being addressed and complicate practice and acquisition with complicated rules and mechanics.  The games in this book:

  • are easy to set up and play
  • have easy-to-understand directions
  • capture your students' attention with fun and compelling game play
  • present content that allows students to interact with one another
  • address individual skills that build upon one another over the course of the book
  • allow students at higher levels to integrate previously-practiced skills

Most of the games are presented in two levels for individual skills.  Level 1 usually focuses on basic skill acquisition and understanding while Level 2 focuses on synthesis of skills or on a greater level of complexity.

Important facets of building reasoning and problem-solving skills are reflection, analysis, and evaluation.  Those steps may seem to be at odds with game formats where players' actions in the game are based on simple right or wrong responses to game items.  As you lead your students through these games (especially the Level 2 games), we encourage you to act as not only judge for the correctness of responses, but also as a moderator and an encourager.  Probe your students for greater depth in their responses or to check understanding and application at a deeper level.  Many of the games are designed to encourage discussion and debate, and we hope you'll encourage your students to extend the content to reflect their own thoughts, beliefs, and opinions.

We hope you enjoy playing these games with your students and watching their reasoning and problem-solving skills grow a little more every day!

Karen & Paul