Online Games for Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

As adults, we make hundreds of choices on a daily basis.  Making good choices involves critical thinking skills and problem solving skills.  This includes telling truth from fiction, observing, making judgment calls, and understanding context. These skills are hard to teach and learn through direct instruction.  In Bloom’s Taxonomy, these are higher order thinking skills, which means they are more difficult to master.  Families can support the acquisition of sound critical thinking skills by using some of the new programs and interactive games that have been developed to support this process.   While these games are only one way to introduce problem solving skills, it is one which many kids find fun and challenging.

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Rush Hour

Rush Hour is a one player puzzle game that involves cars.  The cars are different sizes and each car can only move backward and forward or up and down.  The player then moves the cars around to release all of the cars from the parking lot.  Rush Hour helps kids to learn about problem solving, sequence, and making logical choices.  This game is also available as a board game and an app.

Colors Sudoku

Another great problem solving online game is Sudoku.  The goal of the game is to fill in the squares of the grid by having no repeating colors in each row and column.  In this online children’s version, it uses colors instead of numbers which makes it easier for younger children to play.  There is also a check option which will tell the player if their answers are correct.  Incorrect symbols will be listed in ration form on the right-hand side.


Mastermind is traditional board game that is played between two people.  However, there is now an online version that can be played against the computer.  The goal of the game is to guess which color and order of four pegs selected by your opponent.  Each time you take your turn, it is indicated if you have a correct color, represented by a small white pin, or a correct color and location of a peg, represented by a small red pin.  To be the “mastermind”, you have to solve your opponents puzzle within ten guesses.


The traditional board game version of labyrinth involves tilting the puzzle board to move the marble through the puzzle without having the marble fall into the hole traps located throughout the puzzle.  The online version is very similar.  You use the arrow keys to change the direction of the marble and the length that you hold down the arrow keys then affect the length of movement of the marble.  The goal is still to make it through the puzzle without having the marble fall into one of the holes.

Riddle of the Sphinx

Riddle of the Sphinx is an online game created by the Discovery Channel.  The Sphyix provides questions and riddles to the player, similar to math word problems, for the player to solve.  Answering the questions correctly will lead to other questions that will help the user to win the game and open the gates to Thebes.  The game is fun and interactive while trying to solve the critical thinking word problems.

Online games are a fun an interactive way for children to learn about critical thinking and problem solving kids especially during the summer months.

Article By Laura Ketcham

Picture By woodleywonderworks

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