Starting a game night tradition is a great way to spend quality time with the family, make memories and keep kids entertained while you’re at it. But did you know board games are also a really great tool for getting kids to exercise their brains? It’s true — and there are plenty of studies to prove it.
For example, a 2011 study published in the International Journal of Special Education linked chess-playing to higher math scores on standardized tests. And the researchers of an older study published in Psychology Press wrote that “kids who play games experience spikes in creative thinking and abilities.”
But that’s not all: Board games also improve social and behavioral skills by teaching kids how to interact with competitors and on teams according to Elizabeth Brunscheen-Cartagena, family life and resource management agent with Kansas State Research and Extension.
So gear up for game night and put the kids’ brain cells to their best use. Here are 12 super-smart and fun board games to get you started.