Games are essential to keep your cognitive function in great shape and your mind working as well as it should. Here are a few of our favourite classic games for you to try out, along with a bit of information on how they can keep your brain healthy.
What are the rules? Sudoku is a single-player game, usually completed in a dedicated Sudoku book. That’s great for those who love puzzles and want to keep the part of their brain that deals with numbers sharp. A Sudoku grid has 81 squares and is divided into nine blocks of nine squares. Each block must contain the numbers one to nine, but only once. Each row and column must also include the numbers one to nine, with no repetition. Objective reasoning and a process of elimination are the keys to cracking the game.
Why do we like it? The logic and planning that goes into completing your Sudoku grid exercise your concentration, logic, reasoning, numerical skill, and short-term memory. We think you’ll find it more than a little bit addictive!
Where can I find Sudoku? In dedicated puzzle books, often on the puzzle pages of newspapers and magazines, or for free online.
What are the rules? If you’re not familiar with how crosswords work, here are a few handy tips. You’ll have two lists of numbered clues: those going down, and those going across. Each clue gives a hint to the word that should go in the corresponding box on the neighbouring puzzle grid. Sometimes the clues might be a pun or form of wordplay. Some of them might take a bit of thinking, so a difficult crossword could definitely keep you occupied for at least a couple of hours!
Why do we like it? Crosswords exercise our memory and our general knowledge, the foremost of which might suffer a bit in later life. They’re also essentially built for one player, so you can do them alone (although don’t be afraid to ask for help with clues when you do have visitors – we don’t think it counts as cheating!) Is there anything more satisfying than coming to the end of a filled crossword grid and knowing you’ve got all the right answers in place? We don’t think so!
Where can I find crosswords? Like Sudoku, you can almost always find crossword puzzles in the backs of newspapers and magazines. You can also find lots of crosswords online. We’d recommend purchasing a puzzle book that’s filled with crosswords, though – it’s likely to be better for your eyes rather than staring at a screen, and you can work through it at your leisure.
What are the rules? You can play Solitaire on your own, either online or if you have a deck of 52 cards. There are various different types of Solitaire, but to play the most basic version you need to start with seven piles. The first pile must have the card furthest to the left facing up, with the other six facing down. Then place a card facing up on the penultimate pile from the left, and add a card facing down to every pile to its right. Repeat this, working along the piles until you reach the end and every pile has a card facing up.
Now you’ve set up your deck, you need the rules. The rules of Solitaire are best described visually, so for an easy explanation watch this video.
Why do we like it? Solitaire is one of the oldest and most classic games there is. Its benefits include relaxation and increased memory function, and it also gives your brain a cognitive boost in general.
Where can I find Solitare? You can find lots of free games of Solitaire online, or you can play with a regular deck of cards.
We hope we’ve given you some ideas for how you can keep your brain active at the same time as improving your puzzle skills. Learn more about wellness trends to do with the family here.