Video Games for Critical Thinking? Yes!

I am not a huge fan of video games in general. I do limit the time my children spend on them, especially while they're little. Having said that, I can recognize some benefits, especially with certain games.

We have used some games for their puzzles, critical thinking, logic-type styles. Over the last couple of years, my oldest has enjoyed working through the Professor Layton games on her Nintendo DS. I have actually played them myself and know that my brain was getting a good workout! There is a new title out, shown on the photo, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. This game is a nice combination of adventure/mystery story and many puzzles to solve (over 165!). There are two other titles available in North America, Professor Layton and the Curious Village and Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box. If you follow the links on each of the game names, you will be taken to the official sites and can read more of the stories, watch videos, and try some of the puzzles (look for puzzle demos). I have recommended these games often. I think that they are a great alternative to some of the critical thinking-type workbooks.

Another game that is new to us and that we are trying out is part of the Phoenix Wright series.

Here is a short review from ign:

You play the role of Apollo Justice, a green defense attorney who must defend some of the most unlikely, guilty-seeming clients one could imagine. This is done through two primary gameplay modes: Investigation Mode and Courtroom Mode. In Investigation Mode, Apollo (and his trusty partner Trucy) visit crime scenes, interview witnesses and suspects, and generally navigate the dreary, mystery-filled corridors of criminal defense. In Courtroom Mode, the prosecution and defense trade blows, presenting evidence, examining and cross-examining witnesses, and vying for the success of their side of ever-more complicated, multi-faceted cases. (from

Adrienne enjoys mysteries and solving crimes. She just started this game, so I don't have as much information about this game as the Professor Layton series yet but I will be trying out myself too.

How about you? Do you use video games in your homeschool? I know that many of us use Wii Fit and other physical/exercice type video games as our PE. We do, especially in the winter months, when weather sometimes stops us from being outdoors for long periods of time. Leave a comment and let me know what your favourite games for home learning are!


  1. We enjoy learning with games too. My spelling challenged ds came to me one day and told me his spelling was improving because he had to spell correctly to play Scibblenauts! You don't it spell it right, you don't get it! That was a surprise! :) My dd got started with Japanese by playing My Japanese Tutor two years ago, she now has a tutor and is really loving the language!


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