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Here at Insider Picks, we’re always looking for ways to optimise your (and our) time and purchases to get the most out of the deal.
One area of optimization that I’ve been particularly drawn to has been games that challenge you to develop your mental skills in a fun and engaging way.
Plus, it only took a summer vacation for me to feel totally out of sync on the first day back in elementary school, and as an adult, it can feel like your skills and expertise are constantly narrowing and thinning; you flex the same mental muscles at work and get better and better at a specialised job, but you stop finding new hurdles to jump over and new puzzles to solve creatively.
Games that challenge you to think differently, imagine, and solve ever-changing problems that don’t allow you to get used to them and fly on autopilot are a particularly valuable use of your time: They make you happy and provide enjoyment at the same time that they sharpen your mental abilities.
Whether it’s fiddling with a Rubik’s cube or filling out Sudoku on the subway while you’re stalled, it’s a nice to constantly be improving yourself in a way that doesn’t feel tedious. If you can have fun and become more mentally dexterous, why would you not?
Below are 15 games that rely on your strategic, critical-thinking, and imaginative abilities..
Lumosity is a well-known name in the 'brain-training' game. It's used by over 85 million people worldwide and offers 30+ brain games to give your mind a workout. You can track your scores to see improvement over time and compare your own against the scores of other people. The ease of the app is supposed to make building a brain training habit easy.
It's been observed that mahjong, regardless of the frequency of playing, produces positive improvements in cognitive performance in persons with dementia. The study found that Mahjong is a viable option for treating dementia. If it's good that far down the line, it's very unlikely to do you any harm by playing earlier.
If you want to increase your confidence with words, quickness of thought, or just want to expand your vocabulary, the well-loved board game Scrabble is a shoe-in for the job. The ever-changing mix of words available to you in addition to those made by your opponent can sharpen your thinking and turn you into the sort of wordsmith who doesn't need to check the dictionary to see if they really did just play a real word or not.
Sudoku is one game, like crossword puzzles and riddles, that increase neuroplasticity and make your smarter. With increased neuroplasticity, you are better able to view something from multiple angles and anticipate and understand new patterns.
Fit Brains Trainer has been ranked the #1 education app in over 90 countries. Rosetta Stone has created a wide selection of games that are meant to stimulate your IQ and EQ (cognitive and emotional intelligence). You can train your brain with science-based games and daily training sessions customised for you, as well as challenge the speed and focus of your memory and stimulate your emotional intelligence.
Riddles are another great way to increase neuroplasticity and help your brain recognise new possibilities. Thinking creatively and dexterously to solve a word puzzle only helps you keep up with your own creativity.
Playing with a Rubik's cube is one way to keep your brain active in a productive way. It will improve your concentration, allow your to process your own thoughts faster, and improve your hand-eye coordination at the same time that it helps improve your short-term memory.
Fun games like puzzles and crosswords are a great way to relieve stress in the moment and mitigate stress inspired by similarly challenging situations when they pop up in real-life, too. Puzzles like these help you develop critical thinking, improve your memory, enhance visual perception and also make you happy.
Chess has long been used as a game that can help bolster strategic thought and critical thinking in any age group, keeping the mind deft and nimble for older players and honing young kids to use critical skills with ease. Related or not, chess players tend to score higher on intelligence tests than do non-players.
Monopoly is a great host of real-life problems and challenges without any of the real-life stress. Flex your creativity and strategy by buying, selling, and trading across the board in contention with others.
Like Monopoly, Ticket to Ride offers you the ability to make real-life applicable decisions without the pressure to ensure creativity and help you develop your mental abilities. The game enacts a cross-country train adventure in seven days with all the challenges that proposes. There are 225 coloured train cars and players have to collect cards that allow them to use the different railway routes connecting the cities across the USA. It's a $US1 million prize, and it's winner-takes-all.
Codenames is a challenging social word game. Two Spymasters who alone know their agents' real names give one-word clues to their respective teammates in the hopes that the team will be able to correctly coordinate a list of code names to real names, all while avoiding 'the assassin.'
These metal wire puzzles are satisfying fun for anyone over 6. The Chinese Rings Puzzle is supposedly one of the oldest puzzles known, dating all the way back to 2000+ years ago. Use both your logic and creative thinking to work on the puzzles and your patience. Much like the Rubik's Cube, you'll be acting quickly with your hands in conjunction with your thought and improving a short term memory as you work.
Sequence is 'easy enough for children, challenging for adults!'
Sequence uses, you guessed it, a sequence (creating a row of five poker-like chips on the board) to outsmart opponents. You'll learn to block opponents and employ strategy and luck as well as come up with multiple backup plans throughout the course of the game.
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Business Insider’s Insider Picks team. We aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting, and if you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback.Have something you think we should know about? Email us at [email protected]
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