Decision Making Games for Students

Making decisions is an important life skill that children take into adulthood. Every day, we are faced with hundreds of options, ranging from minor ones like navigating traffic to major ones like career changes.

I was shocked to find so few papers concerning decision making activities for elementary students or preschool pupils while doing research for this topic. The majority were geared at adults in the workplace, with the goal of teaching them how to make decisions.

I usually write about the need of developing skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking as early as possible in life, because they are learnt naturally during the first six years of life.

Decision making activities for kids is no different – teach your young child this skill and she will have it developed long before she enters the workplace.

It all begins with little children deciding what to wear, play, eat, and so on.

They eventually learn not only to consider things through carefully, but also to make quick decisions when necessary. 

They also begin to see a link between their decisions and the repercussions of those choices, leading to a sense of responsibility and accountability.

Decision Making Lesson Plans for Middle School Students

1. Provide opportunities for them to make decisions, such as playing board games where they need to think quickly throughout to stay in the game and try to win.

2. Discuss the skill of making decisions and teach your children to make considered choices.

For a birthday celebration, for example, have the option of a swimming party or an indoor climbing party.

Make a list of advantages and disadvantages, discuss how to pick, which one you believe will be more enjoyable, and set a deadline of decision making games for students (e.g. a day or two instead of immediately).

Even when deciding what to wear to school, allow your child to think about the weather, the things he wants to do (such as playing in the sandpit or in the water), and so on.

Teach your child the phrases to use when making these decisions by using them yourself when discussing it. You'll be broadening his lexicon as well as his ability to think things through. Here are some words to use as examples:

  • Choose
  • Decide
  • Careful
  • Rather
  • Prefer
  • Better
  • Consequence
  • Why
  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Which 

Here are some Decision Making Activities for Elementary Students

1. Musical Chairs - Choices for Kids

Musical chairs are one of the best games for teaching fast, on-the-spot decisions.

The game is simple:

  • You’ll need some siblings or friends to play with
  • Start the game with enough chairs for everyone to sit and place them randomly around the room
  • When the music plays everyone dances around the room
  • When the music stops everyone must run and sit on any of the chairs
  • Remove a chair and start the music again
  • Stop the music and whoever doesn’t get to a chair in time is out.
  • Continue, removing a chair in each round until there is only one child left

This is a game of thinking fast because if you don’t decide on a chair and move to it quickly you will lose. With practice, children learn how to choose a chair.

Is the best one the nearest one? The one with the least amount of people around it? Facing you or facing away?

2. Wheel Spinner - Best Decision-Making Games

Various hues of the yellow and green wheel with spinner clicking sounds and upbeat music to announce the selection

  • The Steps:
  • Visit
  • Enter your information to the right of the spinner.
  • Enter in the yellow “Input here” one by one.
  • Or click on the peach-colored button to add a whole list.
  • Click on the spinner’s middle button.
  • Extra! Works in three modes: normal mode, elimination mode, and accumulation mode.

It is a PWA application which means you can work offline and can be installed as a desktop, iOS, or Android app without surfing through a browser.

3. Tic Tac Toe - Fun Decision-Making Games

Tic Tac Toe, commonly known as naughts and crosses, is one of the most basic but effective games for developing decision-making skills.

You must not only choose squares that will assist you get a three-in-a-row, but you must also choose squares that will prevent your partner from getting three in a row.

It takes a lot of concentration and effort to get excellent at this game, and it can be difficult for young children at first, but they will quickly pick up on it and begin to outsmart you.

Here are the rules of the game:

  • Draw the outline (as in the pic above)
  • Assign a symbol to each player (one player is naughts, one is crosses)
  • Taking turns, place your mark (0 or X) in an open square
  • To win the game, you must make a row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) with your symbol

This game can be played on a chalkboard, whiteboard, paper, or a Tic Tac Toe board.

4. Ant or Elephant - Making Choices Activities

A photograph of an ant and a picture of an elephant should be shown to your child. “Would you rather be an ant or an elephant?” asks the game. Your youngster must choose an answer and explain why he or she chose it.

This is an excellent decision-making project for children that will also help them develop their reasoning and thinking skills.

As an example, you can use any type of animal, person, or characteristic.

Keep a box of photo cards on hand and use it on a regular basis. You can also invite your youngster to come up with a storey on her own.

Here are some more examples:

  • Would you rather be tall or smart?
  • Would you rather be a doctor or a builder?
  • Would you rather be a fox or a tortoise?

5. Hide and Seek - Decision Making Scenarios For Kids

Hide-and-seek, one of the most popular and widely played games of all time, can be a terrific decision-making activity.

Add a new rule that says you can't hide in the same area twice, and your kids will have to think of new places to hide all the time. 

If they make the wrong decision, they will be discovered far too quickly!

6. How the Story Goes - Decision Making Story Games

This game can be part of your evening bedtime story routine. Choose a story your child hasn’t heard before and read the first few pages. Then offer two alternative paths:

  • Bear decided to go for a walk in the woods.
  • Bear decided to have a picnic with his friends.

Ask your child to choose which path she likes more and to tell the rest of the story by using her imagination.

Or, offer two alternate endings:

  • The girl married the prince.
  • The girl didn’t want to marry the prince.

Tell the story to get to the ending.

7. Pick Up Sticks - Game of Choices and Consequences

Pick-up sticks are a classic game. A set of wooden pickup sticks, skewer sticks, straws, or even garden twigs can be used.

It necessitates making very deliberate decisions about which stick to move at any given time. If you make the wrong selection, you will lose a turn.

This is how you play the game:

  • Hold the sticks upright in your fist on a table or floor
  • Let go and let the sticks fall wherever they land
  • Take turns to remove one stick from the pile at a time, without moving any other sticks
  • Sticks that are lying on the surface and not touching others are easy to remove but sticks that are touching others must be carefully lifted with your hands or by using another stick
  • If you move another stick while trying to lift one, you have to leave your stick on the pile and let the other player have a turn
  • The winner is the person with the most sticks at the end

Children learn to determine which sticks are too lodged in to be easily moved, as well as how moving one stick affects the others surrounding it, during this game. 

It takes a lot of effort, but it will improve your child's fine motor abilities and attention span.

8. Dominoes - Best Choice Based Games

This game is basic enough for children to play, and each time it is their turn, they must chose which pieces to play. If they have more than one option in a turn, they must determine which piece is appropriate and which to choose.

To refresh your memory, these are the rules of dominoes: Guide to the Rules

9. Memory Game - Children Decision Making

A memory game can be played with a set of picture cards (with exact pairs). This is how you play:

  • Turn all the cards face down on the table
  • Take turns to choose two cards each and turn them face up
  • If the cards match, you keep them
  • If they don’t match, you turn them both face down
  • Continue turning two at a time until all the cards have been matched 
  • The winner is the person with the most cards at the end

Children must strive to remember where the pictures on the table are in a memory game. This helps them improve their memory and concentration.

They must also make wise decisions. If a youngster only knows where one of the apples is and begins by turning it over, she has a tiny probability of matching the apple with a random card.

If she begins with a card she is unfamiliar with, it may display a picture she has seen on another card that she recalls the location of.

Also, if she has a good idea of where a few pairs are, she should start with the most certain pair and work her way through them. 

With time and effort, she will naturally pick up these decision-making skills.

10. Stuck on a Deserted Island - Choice for Kids

Play this game by asking your child the following questions:

What three items would you take if you were stranded on a desolate island and could only bring three with you?

This is a game that is best suited for older preschoolers. Inquire about your child's selections to encourage her to consider them thoroughly, and allow her to alter her mind until she has decided on three things she can't live without.

Here are some examples:

  • You’ll have lots of fun with your three toys but what will you eat and do you have any way to prepare food? 
  • Do you think you will find spare batteries for that on the island?
  • Is there a place to charge it or plug it in?
  • Where will you sleep?
  • Have you taken anything that will help you survive? Or can you use things in nature to help you? 

11. Role Play - Making Choices Lesson Plan

Your kids will love this game and will probably keep going all day. Make sure to never break character! You will be giggling a lot.

12. Checkers

Board games like checkers and chess are great because each move must be carefully considered and decided upon, as opposed to a game that is heavily reliant on chance (such as a throw of a dice).

Chess may be too complex for some children, but draughts is a much more simple game to teach that still involves a lot of thought. 

Making this game into an art project and colouring or sticking the squares may be a lot of fun.

Make do with what you have on hand, such as buttons, coins, or counters.

This huge checkers game features a Tic Tac Toe board on the backside and can be played outside.

13. Monopoly

Monopoly is a great family game to play. Start with Monopoly Junior, then when your children are ready, teach them how to play the adult version.

This game necessitates a great deal of strategic thought and decision-making when it comes to purchasing and selling stocks.

This is a fantastic game for getting immersed in and spending quality time with your friends.

14. What’s for Dinner?

Are you looking for some inspiration or ideas? Request that your youngster enter the kitchen and select one item to serve as the main element for tonight's dinner.

She must choose something that can be converted into a meal (not a spice or condiment) and provide you with cooking suggestions.

Butternut can be used to make butternut soup, fritters, or salads, for example.

While you're at it, make sure you prepare it together for some added learning opportunities!

15. Build Me a…

For this activity use Lego or blocks and challenge your child to build you an interesting structure, choosing between two options. Some ideas:

  • Build me an airport or a zoo
  • Build me a parking lot or a castle
  • Build me a tall tower or a cottage

There you have it. I’ve hope you’ll enjoy trying these simple yet fun decision-making games for kids.