Exercises and training can always be made fun and enjoyable. Especially for our brains, exercises and training can come in the form of fun games!
Playing games can be a great way to test your brain and improve your executive functioning skills. They can provide an enjoyable way to challenge your mind and keep your mind sharp. Puzzles, riddles, brain-teasers, and the like can provide you the benefit of exercising your brain while developing your problem-solving and decision-making skills, and help strengthen your memory, focus, and concentration.
Additionally, playing games also helps to lower stress levels, which is beneficial for overall brain health. Playing games with friends and family is a fantastic way to socialize and strengthen your relationships.
Sudoku is an exciting, challenging puzzle that has become a worldwide sensation. It consists of a 9x9 grid, which is further divided into nine 3x3 boxes. Each row, column, and box must contain the numbers 1-9 only once.
To play, simply fill in the cells with the correct numbers. You can use pencil marks to help you keep track of what numbers could fit in each space. The challenge lies in making sure that each row, column, and box has no duplicate numbers. Once you have filled all the cells with the correct numbers, you have solved the puzzle!
By doing Sudoku, you can increase your logical thinking and problem-solving skills.
2: Noughts and Crosses
Noughts and Crosses, also known as Tic-Tac-Toe, is a classic game that has been around for centuries! It is enjoyed by people of all ages, and has been an excellent way for family and friends to have fun, little competition against each other.
The game is simple. All you need is a 3x3 grid and two players. One player takes the noughts (or O's) while the other takes the crosses (or X's). Each player takes turns placing their symbol in an empty square on the grid. To win the game, you must be able to put your symbols in a row—vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. If neither player manages to get three symbols in a row, then it results in a draw.
Tic-Tac-Toe requires skill, strategy, and luck. It's super easy to learn yet challenging enough to keep you entertained for hours!
Chess is another game that is known for its challenging nature. It is a two-player strategy board game that is quite easy to learn, but can be mind-boggling when played.
All you need is a chessboard and chess pieces. The chessboard is composed of 64 alternating light and dark squares, with each player's pieces set up on their respective sides of the board. The pieces, known as the King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook, and Pawns, are used to capture the opponent's pieces and ultimately checkmate their King. The goal is to checkmate the opposing King by controlling it with your own pieces. To achieve this goal, you must strategically move your pieces around the board in order to gain control of the board. As you become more experienced in playing chess, you can develop your own strategy and tactics to outwit your opponent.
Chess is a great way to exercise your analytical skills as it requires you to strategize your moves while preempting your opponent’s in order to win the game.
Checkers is another two-player board game that is easy to learn and great for all ages. To get started, each player gets 12 checkers pieces and places them on their side of the board. The goal of the game is to move your pieces diagonally across the board, capturing your opponent's pieces when possible. When a piece reaches the other side of the board, it is “crowned” and can now move forwards and backwards. The player with the most pieces at the end of the game wins!
When playing checkers, it’s important to remember that only one piece can be moved at a time and must be moved diagonally. If a player captures all of their opponent's pieces, they win automatically. If both players have no more moves, the game ends in a draw.
In case you are wondering how checkers differ from chess. Checker pieces are flat disks that are only allowed to move one space diagonally, while chess pieces can move in many different directions. Additionally, checker pieces can only capture their opponent’s pieces by jumping over them, while chess pieces can capture each other in many different ways. Lastly, the objective of checkers is to capture all of your opponent’s pieces, while the goal of chess is to checkmate your opponent’s king.
Backgammon is an exciting board game that has been around for centuries! It has been enjoyed by many cultures throughout the world, and it's popularity has only grown over time. The game is easy to learn and can be played by two players.
The goal of Backgammon is to be the first player to bear off all of your pieces from the board. To play, each player has fifteen checkers which are moved around the board according to the roll of two dice. Players must strategize their moves in order to outwit their opponent and reach their pieces home. The game is full of tactical moves and exciting moments, making it a great pastime for anyone looking for some fun! To win a game, you must outsmart your opponent, think tactically, and move your pieces in the correct order.
Dominoes is a game of strategy and skill, played by two or more players. The game is made up of 28 tiles, each with a unique combination of numbers between 0 and 6. The object of the game is to be the first player to use all your tiles by matching up the same number on both ends of the board.
To begin, each player draws seven tiles from the shuffled pile. The player with the highest double tile starts the game by placing it in the middle of the board. Then, each other player adds tiles to either end that match the number on the existing tile. If a player can't make a match, they must draw a new tile from the pile until they can. The game ends when one player uses all their tiles and the remaining players count their points.
7: Snakes and Ladders
Snakes and Ladders is a famous board game that is said to have originated from India. It is a game of chance that involves dice, ladders, and snakes.
The aim of the game is to reach the finish square by navigating your way around the board using the dice. Each time you roll the dice you move your token along the numbered squares. If you land on a ladder, you can climb up it to a higher square, but if you land on a snake you must slide down it to a lower square. The one who reaches the finish square first wins!
This game can be enjoyed by people of different ages and by as many players as possible.
8: Hanging Man's Game
Hanging Man's Game is one of the most exciting and classic word games around! It's a great way to keep your brain active and have fun with friends or family.
The game consists of one person providing a secret word and the other players guessing the letters in the word. The player has a certain number of tries to make before the game is over. If they guess wrong, a piece of a "hanging man" is drawn. The player who figures it out correctly before the hanging man is complete wins!
To play, one player must choose a secret word and write it on a piece of paper with blank spaces for each letter. The other players then take turns guessing letters one at a time, with the goal of trying to figure out the word. If the letter they answered is correct, the letter is filled in, and they can continue filling out the blanks. If they are wrong, they must draw one piece of the hanging man. Once all pieces are drawn, the game is over, and the player who got it wins!
Fun fact: In the early 2000s, a computer game called HangARoo became famous. It employs the same concept and mechanics as the Hanging Man’s Game, only with a cartoon Kangaroo instead of a person. It is now available for download via the App Store, Play Store, and Softonic (for Windows PC).
9: Concentration Game
Concentration Game is an exciting, fun, and educational game that requires players to use their memory. It's a great way to improve memory skills.
In this game, players must match two cards with the same image or number. The goal is to find all the matching pairs as quickly as possible. To play, all you need are two sets of cards—one with a picture on it and the other with a number. You can also use two sets of the same cards if you prefer. The game begins by shuffling the cards and laying them out face down in rows. Players then turn over two cards at a time to find the match. If they find a match, they take the cards and put them in a pile in front of them. If they don't find a match, they turn them face down again in the same place and then it's the next player's turn.
The game continues until all the matches have been found and the player with the most matches wins!
Scrabble is a classic board game that tests your creativity and vocabulary! Scrabble is a great game for 2–4 players, where each person uses their seven letter tiles to create words on the board. With each turn, players attempt to outscore one another by forming words with their tiles, using bonus squares for extra points, and playing high-scoring words. The game ends when one player uses all their tiles or when the board is filled up. Scrabble is a fantastic way to sharpen your spelling skills, learn new words, and test your strategy.
It is a great way to exercise your mind, as it involves strategy and planning ahead. It also encourages problem-solving skills and helps you to hone your vocabulary. Plus, it can be a great way to stimulate your memory by recalling words from past games. Scrabble also allows players to practice their spelling, practice their math skills as they calculate points for each word, and practice their social skills when playing with others. All of these mental exercises can be beneficial for your brain health and function.
Brain training apps
Apart from these classic board games, there are also brain training games or apps for your devices so you can still give your brain a daily workout whenever and wherever you are.
These can help with mental speed, focus, and memory, allowing users to achieve success in their personal and professional lives while keeping things engaging. With features like personalized performance tracking, engaging mini-games, and progress reports, these apps provide an easy way to stay on top of cognitive development. Plus, the convenience of being able to train your brain anywhere making them a great choice for those on the go.
With so many options available, there's sure to be one that will fit your needs. With just a few quick taps, you can start your journey toward better brain health.
Here are some of the best brain teasers available online right now: Lumosity, Elevate, Peak, CogniFit Brain Fitness, and NeuroNation. Lumosity is a popular choice that offers a collection of challenging puzzles and mini-games to help you boost your memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Elevate provides personalized lessons that target your weaknesses and help you become a better communicator. Peak offers fun challenges like word games and brain training exercises. CogniFit Brain Fitness provides a variety of brain games designed to enhance cognitive abilities like logic. Finally, NeuroNation is for those looking to improve their focus. With a variety of activities and challenges, these downloadables can help you stay mentally active and keep your brain in tip-top shape. Just search for them in your App Store or Play Store to have your on-the-go brain trainers at the palm of your hand. (P.S.: These can be downloaded for free with some of them offering in-app purchases.)