7 Free Brain Games You Haven’t Tried Before
Strengthen your gray matter with these challenges to memory, math skills, and more.
If you like the board game Boggle, you’ll love TextTwist 2. From seven random letters, you’ll need to create as many three-, four-, five-, and six-letter words as possible in two minutes. (You can also play without the clock.) Earn bonus points for coming up with a word that uses all the letters. To keep your mind limber, check out these other healthy habits proven to boost your brain health.
This quick-moving solitaire brain game will have your mouse going as fast as your mind. The object: Move cards in numerical order from three pyramids into your stack as quickly as possible; you rack up points both for speed and the number of cards you play in a row. If you get stuck, there’s a pile to restart the game.
You’ll test your memory with this simple nautical-themed brain game. Study the objects in a virtual room on an abandoned pirate ship, then try to identify what’s different in an updated version of the room. Stay sharp: You’ll get extra points for spotting gemstones hidden in the room. Games like this can help to keep your brain young—and so can these other genius habits that your 80-year-old brain will thank you for doing today.
As the name implies, this visual brain game challenges you to “see” the proper looped pattern, which has been separated into individual tiles and mixed up. Your goal: Rotate the tiles until the loops are all connected and there are no open ends. Choose your level of difficulty, and then get to work strengthening your attention and visual-spatial skills.
The Right Word
Attention logophiles: This fast-moving word brain game will test your vocabulary and memory. First, you’re challenged to spell a word after being given just its definition and the first two letters as clues. Then, you’re asked to come up with three words in two categories that begin with the same letter—for example, name three trees and three articles of clothing that begin with “C.” Finally, you’re quizzed to remember the words from the first part. (This game is free to play for seven days, but the site then requires a monthly membership fee.) Games aren’t the only things that can strengthen your noggin: Check out these weird brain exercises that will make you smarter.
What do you get when a crossword puzzle marries a really smart word scramble? This anagram crossword, where each clue is an anagram of the word you need to come up with. This twist on a classic crossword puzzle challenges your attention to detail and your mental flexibility, which helps to keep your executive-functioning skills in tip-top shape. In fact, new research from the University of Exeter and King’s College London, published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry in 2019, found that the more regularly people over 50 played puzzles like crosswords and Sodoku, the more their brain function improved. The results were significant: Their brains were the equivalent of 10 years younger than their age on grammatical-reasoning tests and eight years younger on short-term-memory tests.
This classic numbers brain game never gets old. Use the numbers 1 through 9 only once in each 3×3 region, row, and column to solve the puzzle. Think you know your Sudoku? This video will give you a quick primer on the game’s rules and introduce you to “slicing and dicing.” If you enjoyed these games, you won’t want to miss these 43 free puzzles guaranteed to boost your brainpower.
- MSN Games: TextTwist 2
- USA Today Games: Tri-Peaks Solitaire
- Zigiz: Treasure Hunt
- Kongregate: Entangled
- Happy Neuron: The Right Word
- AARP Games: Anagram Crossword
- News release, University of Exeter, research published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, May 2019: "Regular crosswords and number puzzles linked to sharper brain in later life"
- Web Sudoku: Sudoku
- YouTube: Carol Vordeman's Sudoku: Tips for Easy Puzzles