Do you ever wonder about your brain? Is it getting enough exercise? Has it been trained to think
properly? How can one know if one’s brain is working correctly? To be sure, one should
regularly play brain training games to keep one’s mind in fit shape. I have ranked what believe to
be the best ways to exercise your brain to its maximum capacity.
How can one decide which is the best system for ultimate brain training? One would need to test
out various cognitive tools to determine the best one for one’s intended advancement. Each
person’s brain is unique. Everyone should design a specific and practical training regiment for
oneself that can be maintained. Some people need to improve their logical or reasoning skills,
whereas others need to build and maintain memory aptitudes. Depending on the need to shape or
reframe one’s thinking process, one will need to structure a method for improvement.
To use one’s time most efficiently one should train one’s brain. But what is the best way to
properly condition one’s most vital experiential tool? One’s mind needs to be continuously
challenged and finely sculpted, in a similar manner to strengthening and toning one’s muscles.
One needs to constantly strive to further broaden one’s mind by developing as many areas of
one’s brain as possible. The best mental workout would likely involve interactive activities,
which simultaneously requires constant mental exertion and the dexterous employment of one’s
hands. This dual core strategy can most adequately be achieved by moderate to complex
amusements, such as puzzles and games that are based on logical principles. There are many
games from which one can choose.
There are a great variety of systems for enriching one’s mind to the maximum of its capacity. An
exhaustive list would at least include: daily crosswords, jumbles, fill-in the blanks phrases, word
unscramble games, Sudoku and math puzzles. I have ranked what I believe to be the best ways to
exercise your brain to the maximum of its capacity.
Zack’s Top Ten Brain Building Picks:
1. DAILY JUMBLE – Jumbles are a great way to broaden one’s thinking capacity. These
brain-teasing riddles are a lot of fun. The first step begins with sorting a through a series
of letters to form a word from which you will collect a letter or so to put towards the
solution. The key letters to be collected are circled around their set spaces. A whitty
cartoon usually accompanies the master phrase to be decoded. The best free jumble
website I discovered is maintained by The Ledger.com online newspaper. It can be
viewed on this link: www.uclick.com/client/llf/tmjmf. One can find a daily jumble in
almost all major newspapers and possibly in local papers or magazines.
2. Scrabble is a juggernaut of verbal expression amusements. It is manufactured and
marketed by Mattel outside of USA and Canada and by Hasbro within these countries.
“The game is sold in 121 countries and is available in 29 languages; approximately 150
million sets have been sold worldwide and roughly one-third of American homes have a
Scrabble set”.1 This game will surely test your spelling ability, as well as your patience and sanity.
While there are clearly set out rules for playing this game, some players will try to combine letters
to form unreal words, which can be maddening. That is why this mind-bending game, which contains
mishmash of letters, even has its own unique dictionary. There are even entire websites dedicated to
word lists for this intellectually spellbinding fascination of word play. One such website is
scrabblefinder.com/scrabble-word-list. It is played on online on Facebook, as well as on
other social media platforms. For more details, on how to play please visit: Scrabble.com.
3. Boggle is an offspring of the Scrabble family and is also sold by Hasbro. This bopping word
game was “designed by Allan Turoff and originally distributed by Parker Brothers. The game is
played using a plastic grid of lettered dice, in which players attempt to find words in sequences
of adjacent letters”.2 The dice are shaken inside the clear plastic cover whence the emplacement
of a three-minute sand timer sets the game in motion. For the rules of the game one should visit
one of the many dedicated Boggle fan sites.3 This game is played on various websites online and throughout the Internet 4,5,6.
4. Crosswords are another excellent workout for one’s mind. There are various types of crosswords, from barred to blocked, to cryptograms. “The cryptic clues can be read as a sensible sentence, more or less, but actually consist of two parts. One part gives the definition, as in the standard crossword puzzle, the other uses some form of wordplay that hints at the answer. This wordplay may come in the form of anagrams, charades, container words, reversals, deletions, double definitions, hidden words…”7 Other types of crosswords include: Fill-Ins – these are crosswords without any clues! The word list is provided, given in alphabetical order, but sorted by the number of letters. They only fit on the board one way. Flower Power – these are crosswords in a flower shape. Words intertwine on the puzzle, reading both clockwise and counter clockwise Anagrams – these are scrambled words you have to unscramble, either with or without clues 🙂
Syllacrostic – these puzzles are crossword puzzles, but each square contains a syllable instead of just one letter Logic puzzles – these puzzles give clues to match items based on logic.8 One could easily become frustrated when trying to solve a crossword. But there are great websites that offer support, such as unscramble.net, as well as other solutions to one’s crossword conundrum.9 Word sorting games are one thing, but there are also fake word definition games, which can be an exercise in tenacity, while trying to build one’s brain.
5. Balderdash. The bluffing of definitions, to a set word, begins after a roll of the dice. “This is the classic bluffing board game. The categories contain real but unbelievable content about People, Words, Initials, and Movies; now includes a new category, Laughable Laws. Players make up phony answers, read them off along with the correct answer, and others vote on which answer is real. Score points for guessing correctly and for bluffing the other players”.10 To be successful at this bold bluffing competition one needs to keep a straight face, while pitching a supposedly correct definition of the specified word. “Players are awarded two points if they guess the correct definition. Players are awarded one point for each other player who incorrectly chooses the fake definition they wrote.”11 Amusements played with cards are great tools for refining one’s neural networks.
6. UNO is mesmerizing card game that is played with a special color coded deck of cards. It is similar to the classic Crazy Eights; whereby a player putting down an eight will cause a change in the suit of the cards to be played. “The first player to get rid of his/her last card (“going out”) wins the hand and scores points for the cards held by the other players.”12 The object is: “To be the first player to score 500 points. Points are scored by ridding yourself of all the cards in your hand before your opponent(s). You score points for cards left in your opponent’s hands. When you have one card left, you must yell “UNO” (meaning one).13 Board games are a great way to pass the time with friends and family. But players do become quite competitive and ego-centric when property is at stake.
7. Monopoly is a great way to learn about life. This fascinating game offers real lessons on the complex world of property acquisition and management. Players are able to build houses and hotels and even mortgage properties. This great simulation – of real life challenges – comes with two sets of fortune or failure cards, which make it even more fun to play. At the turn of a card one can win or lose money, or be sent around the board without collecting the standard stipend of $200. Monopoly has monopolized the gaming industry by branching out to offer a vast array of versions. Some variations of this diversion are country specific; featuring the most expensive properties within that territory14. As well, there are junior and advanced variations of this ego boosting amusement. This highly interactive game instills players with essential skills that enrich their intellectual capacity. It appeals to players of all ages and all areas of interest. This simulation of high finance is available in numerous versions: Junior Game, Empire Game, Millionaire Monopoly, Electronic Banking & Monopoly Deal.15 Nothing builds the brain like guessing the correct answer to a trivia question.
8. Trivial Pursuit is favorite party game that originated in Canada and changed the way people think throughout the globe. “The game was created in December 1979 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, by Canadian Chris Haney, a photo editor for Montreal’s The Gazette, and Scott Abbott, a sports editor for The Canadian Press. After finding pieces of their Scrabble game missing, they decided to create their own game”.16 The six original categories in the game are: History, Geography, Sports & Leisure, Literature, Entertainment, and Science & Nature.17 To win, players must correctly answer questions when landing on a colored square, to be eligible for collection of a colored piece of the pie. “Once the player has one pie in each color, she can move along the spokes to the middle of the board to win the game.”18 This diverse thought provoking question & answer configuration is played online.19 It was showcased as well known television game show.20 From the initial design to endless expansions (Family, Master, and Genius Editions, et cetera) this – mystery of history – form of entertainment has spiralled, into a multitudinous array of variations.21 To strengthen one’s mind one also needs to be physically active and move around. Games that involve the use of one’s hands to draw are great start to building physical endurance.
9. Pictionary is a written form of the classic visceral game of Charades. In this dexterous display of hand eye coordination, one must utilize one’s artistic aptitudes, against one’s competitors. Players are required to sketch an item – noted on a card – across a sheet of paper, within one minute. There are five general categories from which to choose: (Person, Place, and Animal), Object, Action, Difficult and All Play.22 Since its initial inscription, this game has been played by millions of people, at parties and during family game times. Variations of this sketchy amusement have evolved to encompass electronic versions, such as: iSketch23and Draw Something.24 A major game show was even scripted, based upon this fun pictorial pastime: Win, Lose or Draw.25 One can greatly develop one’s thinking ability by playing math related games like Sudoku.
10. Sudoku offers a superb way to reconfigure one’s logical aptitudes. There are nearly unlimited options to play online.26 It seems to have originated in Japan, and multiplied exponentially in China, gained fame in Europe and has become an added attraction throughout North America.27 It is best to take lessons before attempting this quagmire of properly placed numbers. Many options for Sudoku education are available. One can enroll in classes with a so-called Sudoku Professor.28 One can also discover a wide library of instructional videos on how to play Sudoku on YouTube.29 There are even specialized procedures for mastering this game including; an X Wing Column Variation and an X Wing Row Variation, among others. At first glance these techniques for Sudoku might seem similar to a Crossword puzzle.
No matter which game you play, be sure to play often. Routine use of one’s muscles keeps them strong. The brain is a muscle unlike any other. Keep it toned!