Many skeptics will say that games are just a stupid pastime, that they make kids ignore their responsibilities and draw them away from the real world. But even in ancient Greece, philosophers were arguing for the good that games bring and discussing how they prepare us for life because we learn through play. So if you’re looking for some games that seriously boost your brain, here are some that very much worth taking a look at:
How Does It Work, Anyway?
If you look at any animal species in the world, they all learn through play. Little lion cubs learn to hunt through wrestling with their siblings. People are not different. We learn through play – first how to grab objects or walk, then social interactions, and later much more complicated skills. Not only do they give your brain some practice, but they also improve your hand-eye coordination and can be used to treat certain motor function conditions. So we can all agree that games overall are good for you, but which ones will really start turning those cogs in your head?
A popular classic, Scrabble, has taught us all how to think about words in a different way. This is a great game for kids to help them expand their vocabulary, but also for adults who really like to bring out their thesaurus knowledge. It is great for people who are trying to learn a new language because turning it into play will help you remember new words a lot more easily, and if you’re constantly putting words through your head to try and put them together from the letters you have, you’re far more likely to remember them.
Similar to game shows and pop quiz games, crossword puzzles, whether done on paper, computer, or your phone, will help you refresh your memory on common knowledge. The way our brain works when you learn something new is it creates a connection between information. And every time you repeat or remember that piece of information, you strengthen that connection, so the more times you remember it, the better you will remember it. And if you can’t think of the answer, you can use UnscrambleX.com to help you solve the puzzle. Remember that crosswords aren’t a game you necessarily have to play on your own – you can play it with friends and family and put your brains together to solve the puzzle.
Whether it’s running a farm, a pizza restaurant, or a zoo, any game that is a time management simulator will test your organization, delegation, and time-coordination skills. It might raise your pressure a bit, but it will also prepare you for real-life situations where you need to coordinate a lot of things at once and keep an eye on multiple timers. If you can’t handle the stress of it when it’s in a game, then you probably don’t want to make it a full-time job.
Card games are an interesting niche, because on the one hand, they often depend on luck and what kind of hand you’re given. But many card games will also depend on your focus and ability to keep track of which cards have gone by and which are still in the deck. In addition to that, you’ll be doing mental gymnastics trying to calculate the odds of you getting the right card before your opponents.
Let’s dive back into video games. Perhaps the most popular genre of which is co-op shooters, where you work with a team to take the other players down and capture territory. There are several things exercised through this. Firstly, there are communication and leadership skills where you have to organize and coordinate your team. Then, there is special awareness, because there are often first-person games where you need to be very aware of everything that is going on around you, and you can’t just turn on tunnel vision and only look ahead.
Thirdly, it practices your reflexes, whether it’s dodging, shooting, or making any other split-second decision. So next time you think someone is just playing a game instead of doing “something productive”, remember all the things they are gaining from that experience.
Games are a great way to fill your time, whether you’re on vacation and looking for something to do with your day, or you just have a ten-minute break in between meetings and want something to refocus your mind. Have some games handy for all of these situations, and you will never feel like you are just wasting your time doing nothing.