I love toys and games which have an educational benefit, but are still lots of fun for all the family. Brightminds have a fantastic selection of products which fit this description, and we were sent a few of their games and puzzles to try out (with our kids aged 5, 7 and 8). I would recommend all of these for children of around these ages. We loved them all so it’s hard to pick out a favourite!

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Here’s a quick run through of all of the games that we tried out:

Orchard Toys World Map Puzzle

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This is a 150 piece puzzle, recommended for ages 5-10 and it also comes with a poster. £14.99

Orchard Toys puzzles are always really good quality with thick strong pieces, and this one is a bit more challenging than others we had in our collection. I really like the World Map subject of the picture as it helps the boys consolidate their world geography knowledge in a fun and hands on way, and there are plenty of animals included too to make the map image more interesting and help kids learn which animals are found in which areas of the world. The kids spent about an hour putting this together, so it keeps them occupied for longer than some of the smaller puzzles too, and is a bit more challenging for kids who have outgrown the smaller 24, 28 or 50 piece puzzle sets or want to stretch themselves beyond the 100 piece puzzles. Once completed, it’s quite big so this is a good one to make on the floor.

Quirkle

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£24.99 recommended for age 6+

I had heard lots of recommendations for Quirkle, so I had to try it out! This game is strategy and logic based, and involves matching up the colours or shapes. It’s very easy to pick up, but takes careful thinking to master and win. I love games like this which are really simple to grasp but involve plenty of strategy and thought. The game is made up of the tiles you see in the picture above, and comes with a handy bag to store them all in, so it’s easily portable and doesn’t take too much space.

Smart Games Penguins on Ice

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£19.99 recommended for age 6+

This is a one player logic game. I really like the one player games from Smart Games as they are perfect for quiet time, and offer a great way for kids to occupy themselves even if other siblings are busy with other activities. The game involves matching up the layout of the penguins and ice blocks according to the challenge book which is included. It’s quite tricky at times, so really gets kids thinking, but it’s very satisfying when you complete each challenge!

Smart Games Colour Code

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£16.99 recommended for age 5+

This is another one player logic game from Smart Games. Colour Code is slightly easier than Penguins on Ice, so if you’re new to these type of games, or buying for a slightly younger child I would go for this one first. R (5) kept himself busy with this game for hours, and has kept coming back to it as he really enjoyed completing all of the challenges. This game is great for developing logical and observational skills, and involves replicating the designs shown in the challenge book by choosing the correct shapes and then layering them up in the right order to complete the finished design. Like in Penguins on Ice, the challenge book starts with easier levels and then progresses onto more difficult challenges.

Dino Dice Game

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£6.99 recommended for age 4-6

This is a really simple and portable game that helps develop early maths skills, while bringing in extra fun with the dinosaurs that are included. Players throw the dice, and then add or subtract their numbers to try to get the higher score as the highest score wins a dinosaur! The dinosaurs are a great way to motivate kids with their maths, and are very cute

Dragonwood Game

dragonwood

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£14.99 suitable for age 8+

Dragonwood is another strategic game, this time involving cards and dice and you need between 2-4 players. This game is a bit more complicated and is recommended for 8+ but my 7 year old was fine with it too. The game involves capturing various creatures using different attacks, depending on the cards that you have. Although there are a few rules to keep in mind, we all picked up the game quickly and have enjoyed playing this as a family.

Trading card games are really popular with my kids and their friends at the moment, so this immediately appealed to Z (8), being a card game and he enjoyed the format of it. I also like that it doesn’t take up much space at all and is quite a small box, as you don’t even need a board to play – only the two decks of cards and the dice.

If you’re looking for some fun games that will get the family thinking over the school holidays, then do check out Brightminds as all of these would be really good choices – and they have even more available on their site too.