7 Brain Games to Try

Did you know that you can improve your brain by using games? Some websites even offer subscriptions to “brain training games.” But put your wallet away, we’ve compiled this list of games that you probably already have that have been proven to keep you sharp as a knife.

1. Crossword Puzzles.

There’s a reason the elderly love crossword puzzles. Doing crosswords improves your vocabulary, strengthens your memory and forces you to make connections between often-disparate items. If you’re new to crosswords, maybe skip the Sunday New York Times and go online instead – Boatload Puzzles has several simple ones.

2. Sudoku.

Sudoku is a Japanese number-placement puzzle that requires you to fill in a 9×9 grid with the digits 1 – 9. The caveat? Each digit may occur only once in each row, box and 3×3 sub-grid. Playing Sudoku helps you practice logic, problem-solving and spotting patterns. Try it here.

3. Rubik’s Cube.

A Rubik’s cube might fascinate children, but it’s just as good for adults too! This 3D puzzle has 6 colored sides with 9 tiles in each one. You play by mixing up the tiles, then figuring out how to get each side 1 solid color again. Solving a Rubik’s cube improves spatial awareness, pattern recognition and dexterity. Your brain benefits more if you discover how to solve the cube by trial and error instead of just looking it up. Plus, there are several different versions other than the classic 3×3. 

4. KenKen.

Like Sudoku, but want more math? Check out KenKen! Like Sudoku, this puzzle requires you to place numbers so they don’t overlap in the row or column. However, KenKen also has heavily outlined ‘cages’ with a number and a math operation (multiplication, division, addition or subtraction) in the corner. Each number in the cage must use the operation to create the number in the corner. KenKen has all the benefits of Sudoku – plus all the benefits of doing actual (albeit simple) math. Try playing it here.

5. Trivia Games.

Trivia games are great for your brain! Not only does having fun reduce stress, but trivia games work out your long-term recall, improve cognition and let you practice performing under pressure. Can’t catch a Jeopardy re-run? Gather your friends for some Trivial Pursuit, or get an app like Trivia Crack.

6. Six-Piece Burr.

This classic puzzle requires you to take 3 notched sticks and arrange them in the correct order and position to create a specific 3D shape. If you like the six-piece burr, there are also several other similar ‘interlocking puzzles’ that require you to take different shapes apart and put them back together again by following a specific sequence of movements. All of these puzzles improve your spatial awareness, creativity, concentration and dexterity.

7. Logic Puzzles.

It’s probably no surprise that logic puzzles help improve your logic skills – after all, it’s in the name! Logic puzzles also boost your problem-solving skills, expand your mental acumen and helps keep your brain alert. Play some here.

Want more brain tips? Check out why it’s important to visualize.

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Photo Credit: CrosswordMan via Compfight cc

Did you know that you can improve your brain by using games? Some websites even offer subscriptions to “brain training games.” But put your wallet away, we’ve compiled this list of games that you probably already have that have been proven to keep you sharp as a knife.

1. Crossword Puzzles.

There’s a reason the elderly love crossword puzzles. Doing crosswords improves your vocabulary, strengthens your memory and forces you to make connections between often-disparate items. If you’re new to crosswords, maybe skip the Sunday New York Times and go online instead – Boatload Puzzles has several simple ones.

2. Sudoku.

Sudoku is a Japanese number-placement puzzle that requires you to fill in a 9×9 grid with the digits 1 – 9. The caveat? Each digit may occur only once in each row, box and 3×3 sub-grid. Playing Sudoku helps you practice logic, problem-solving and spotting patterns. Try it here.

3. Rubik’s Cube.

A Rubik’s cube might fascinate children, but it’s just as good for adults too! This 3D puzzle has 6 colored sides with 9 tiles in each one. You play by mixing up the tiles, then figuring out how to get each side 1 solid color again. Solving a Rubik’s cube improves spatial awareness, pattern recognition and dexterity. Your brain benefits more if you discover how to solve the cube by trial and error instead of just looking it up. Plus, there are several different versions other than the classic 3×3. 

4. KenKen.

Like Sudoku, but want more math? Check out KenKen! Like Sudoku, this puzzle requires you to place numbers so they don’t overlap in the row or column. However, KenKen also has heavily outlined ‘cages’ with a number and a math operation (multiplication, division, addition or subtraction) in the corner. Each number in the cage must use the operation to create the number in the corner. KenKen has all the benefits of Sudoku – plus all the benefits of doing actual (albeit simple) math. Try playing it here.

5. Trivia Games.

Trivia games are great for your brain! Not only does having fun reduce stress, but trivia games work out your long-term recall, improve cognition and let you practice performing under pressure. Can’t catch a Jeopardy re-run? Gather your friends for some Trivial Pursuit, or get an app like Trivia Crack.

6. Six-Piece Burr.

This classic puzzle requires you to take 3 notched sticks and arrange them in the correct order and position to create a specific 3D shape. If you like the six-piece burr, there are also several other similar ‘interlocking puzzles’ that require you to take different shapes apart and put them back together again by following a specific sequence of movements. All of these puzzles improve your spatial awareness, creativity, concentration and dexterity.

7. Logic Puzzles.

It’s probably no surprise that logic puzzles help improve your logic skills – after all, it’s in the name! Logic puzzles also boost your problem-solving skills, expand your mental acumen and helps keep your brain alert. Play some here.

Want more brain tips? Check out why it’s important to visualize.

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Photo Credit: CrosswordMan via Compfight cc

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