According to a study published in International Psychogeriatrics and shared by Harvard Health Publishing, brain games “may help sharpen certain thinking skills that tend to wane with age, such as processing speed, planning skills, reaction time, decision making, and short-term memory.”
While many games fit into the category of brain games – that is, those that require you to think and process in order to play – these ones are our favorite! We chose games that are both challenging enough to feel like exercise but still fun to play.
- The Daily Sudoku – The Daily Sudoku offers a new Sudoku puzzle every day of the week to ensure you get a new challenge every day. Sudoku puzzles are logic-based number placement puzzles in which each digit 1 – 9 must be used once in every row, column, and 3 x 3 square of the puzzle. Some values are provided for you, leaving you to use the information you have to fill in the remaining squares.
- Scramble Words – Scramble Words is a large-font, visually appealing word game that’s fun whether you’re 15 or 75. You’re provided with a letter bank and then challenged to create as many words as you can using those letters. As you “level up,” completing a round and moving to the next, word requirements become longer and more complex, increasing the difficulty of the game (and the brain benefits!).
- Chess – A classic game of strategy, online chess gives you the opportunity to play even if you don’t have an interested component at home. Great graphics make it feel just like a face-to-face game of chess and requires the same strategic approach as the game you’ve played since childhood. As you level up, your electronic component improves his skill, making it more and more challenging for you.
- Addiction Solitaire – Addiction Solitaire is a faster-paced, electronic version of the classic game. Because you can play from a laptop, tablet, or smart phone, this game is easier and more mobile than the old-fashioned version. The quicker pace helps you sharpen your processing speed and improves your cognitive skills as you age – and it’s fun and addictive (as the name suggests) to boot!
- CodeWord – CodeWord is a game of skill that starts out pretty difficult and gets easier as you decipher the puzzle. Each letter is assigned a numeric code or value, so as you decode one word after another and learn the number assigned to each letter, it becomes easier and easier (and a little more exciting) to fill in the blanks and crack the code. This game is great for improving or maintaining your thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Daily Word Search – Studies have found that word searches improve focus, memory, mental acuity, and vocabulary, and Daily Word Search does all of those while giving you a little lesson in history and a fun way to pass the time. This puzzle provides a fun fact about each day in history and then themes the puzzle accordingly, leaving you on a hunt to find words related to the daily theme.
- True? – A true or false style trivia game, True? provides all the same benefits of traditional travia: improved brain performance, enhanced memory, and better cognition overall. Choose your category and then answer fast-faced true or false trivia questions to the best of your knowledge, learning new things in a myriad of categories as you go!
- Word Wipe – A continually evolving word-find game, Word Wipe challenges you to find longer, more complex words, which are cleared from the board, causing other letters to shift and giving you a world of new possibilities with each word. Maintain your vocabulary, processing speed, and focus by playing just once a day!
- The Daily Jigsaw – The Daily Jigsaw is the electronic version of the puzzle sitting on your card table at home! Puzzle pieces are spread out, graphic side up (and you never have to sort through them and turn them all over) for you to fit together until you create a masterpiece. Each jigsaw puzzle is designed to be easy to complete in one sitting, making it a great way to challenge yourself every day.
- Mathdoku – While Sudoku is a game of logic, Mathdoku combines the logic of the classic Sudoku puzzle with basic math. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division will help you solve the puzzle of varying difficulty levels. While there’s a little learning curve the first time you play, you’ll be addicted in no time!
- Outspell – Inspired by traditional Scrabble, Outspell challenges you to create longer, stronger words than your computer component using the tiles available to you. Aside from not needing a partner to play with, Word Wipe offers additional benefits: stretch a game out over time, use the word list to find words with tough tiles, and play whenever you choose – even in the middle of the night!
- Cryptic Crossword – Rang from easy to harder, Cryptic Crossword puzzles require you to access little-used trivia and vocabulary to complete the new puzzle every day. Large print and easy-to-read font means your eyesight can be less-than-perfect without stopping you.
Download these great games and get on your way to improved cognition today!