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Sunday, June 18, 2023

Free Brain Games to Keep Your Mind Strong

Putting your brain to work playing games has serious benefits. We’ve found sources for a wide array of challenges, and they’re all free.

Want to extend your ability to reason effectively or concentrate on one subject? Challenging your brain, such as by playing word games, for an hour daily is going to give you a leg up on those who spend only a half hour daily, or no time at all, on the task, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias. The same study reports that playing brain games for at least an hour daily might also offer protection against dementia as people age. 

Doctors agree that there is a trio of behaviors that lead to optimal aging: staying socially active, physically fit, and mentally engaged.

Other Free Games  

While there is nothing wrong with a virtual pack of cards and a game of solitaire, you can expand your repertoire by visiting a site full of various brain games. Part of the challenge is in learning new games such as Rumikub, Minesweeper, and Connect4. Complete instructions are given for each game, including helpful hints. You can find old favorites such as crossword puzzles and checkers, as well as games that might be new to you, like Euchre or Mahjong. 

The site sometimes offers multiple versions of a game so that play can be done alone or with a partner. There are challenges that test your math or geography skills and others that depend more on luck. Try a new one every day!

"Exercising your brain is just as important as exercising your muscles to maintain health. In addition to staying socially engaged and physically active, making a habit of doing brain puzzles has been shown to help maintain cognitive function and memory. This helps people remain more independent into their golden years,” says Kathleen Parks, MD, a neurologist in Vancouver, Washington.

Top Brain Games for Seniors

Here are some of the best free brain games we’ve found. Just remember to follow our link to the game page and be careful not to be misled by a similar-sounding site that exists to phish for information. Do not use a game site that requires you to install software. Make sure before you start that your computer is equipped with highly-rated antivirus software, no matter what you’re using it for.

  • Word Wipe. This word-building game requires you to swipe through piles of jumbled letter tiles to spell out words. It’s available only in a browser, so unfortunately you won’t be able to play on your phone.
  • Wordmeister. Similar to Scrabble, you’ll use a board and letter tiles to create words and score points. Your opponent is a computer, so keep a list of best words handy!
  • Word Zen. Connect and build words of increasing difficulty by using your fingers to tap on tiles. 
  • Jumble. Use a set of mixed-up letters to decipher a series of words, then use the circled letters to solve a puzzle using a jumbled word.
  • Sudoku. The goal is to fill in the blank squares with numbers from 1 to 9. Each 3 x 3 grid, each column, and each row will contain all the numbers from 1 to 9.
  • SpellTower. On Google Play and in the App store, this word search game is augmented by the rush to clear the board. You can choose to play at 11 levels, from super fast to untimed. 
  • Codeword. If you always wanted to be a codebreaker, this game is for you. Start with a crossword where each letter has a corresponding number. As you fill words, blanks with the same number will fill with that letter. Hints are available. Free on your desktop.
  • Wordle and Quordle. You have six tries to solve a five-letter word of the day. You’ll get feedback on correct and incorrect letter guesses and placement. Quordle is Wordle on steroids, with four puzzles to solve simultaneously. 
  • Braingle. Find logic problems, trivia, memory tests, and much more at this site where you’ll never get tired of having to play the same game.
  • Free Bee. This clone of the wildly popular New York Times Spelling Bee is played the same. Find words at least four letters long that include the middle letter. There’s always at least one that includes all the letters, and letters can be used more than once. 
  • Word Bird. Challenge and educate yourself at the same time by choosing from 65,000+ puzzles. Your vocabulary will expand as you see the definition of every word you try to guess.

Have fun, and if you’re unsure how to start playing a game, it can be useful to search for a YouTube video that explains the process.