6 Classic Games that Are Good for Your Brain6 Classic Games that Are Good for Your Brain

While researchers are still unraveling the mystery of what causes the plaque and tangles inside the brain that lead to dementia and memory loss, many studies have shown that keeping your brain flexible and agile can potentially keep it healthier longer. Just like working out your muscles, exercising your brain can benefit you long into your golden years.

While there are numerous online learning academies available today, there’s something to be said for digging out an old set of cards or dusting off a forgotten board game to find a surprisingly good time, while helping keep your mind active as well.

Here are 6 classic games that can help keep your brain limber and in great shape.

1. Chess

Known as the “game of kings,” this two-person board game involves strategy, concentration, and memory. Believed to have originated in India around the 7th century, chess is played by millions of people around the world, making it a great way to socialize and make friends. Studies have shown that it not only activates both hemispheres of the brain, but it can increase players’ IQ scores as well.

2. Trivial Pursuit

A board game most popular in the 1980s, Trivial Pursuit is still an excellent way to keep your brain neurons firing, as you call up answers to trivia questions from a range of topics. To win the game, you must successfully answers questions on geography, entertainment, history, sports and leisure, arts and literature, and science and nature. A great feature of the game is that you can order additional editions of the question cards, allowing you to keep your old board but bring new questions into the mix.

3. Solitaire

No visitors around? No reason not to fit in a good brain workout. All you need is a well-shuffled deck of cards and some time. Also known as “Patience,” Solitaire involves slowly working your way through a deck of cards to place each one in a specified pattern, based on suite color and card number. Once you’ve placed every card and reached the end of the deck, you’ve won, although it’s seldom that simple. A great way to beat boredom, there are actually several variations to the game.

4. Scrabble

There’s a reason why more than 1/3 of American households reportedly have a Scrabble game stored away in some closet. It’s a true board game classic that never gets old and is never played the same way twice. Players are given a random selection of letters, each worth a certain point value. The goal is to create words that add up to the highest score; however, words must be built off your opponents’ words, almost like a crossword puzzle. Scrabble keeps your brain working, searching out potential words, calculating scores, and debating the validity of each other’s answers.

5. Bingo

A great generation-spanning activity, Bingo combines an element of luck with concentration and observation. Players use boards set with a random collection of numbers and letters set on a grid, while numbers are drawn and called out to the group. Whoever matches enough number and letter combos to form a line, wins. This is a great way to teach young grandchildren numbers and letters, or make it more challenging for your own brain by working several cards at once.

6. Coloring Books

While not technically a game, a fun new trend is the wide availability of “adult” coloring books that feature intricate patterns and designs. These pages are intended to help adults revisit the creativity and fun of coloring, while also aiding in relaxation and stress relief. Studies have shown that coloring can activate parts of the brain used for motor skills, organization, and logic. If you don’t want to purchase an entire book, you can search for free pages for download online and give it a try.

Why not take some time today to unplug and pull up a good game in real life? You might be surprised at how fun these classic competitions can still be. And your brain won’t even know it’s exercising.

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Megan Hammons lives in the Central Texas countryside just outside of Austin, pursuing her love for copywriting after a career in high-tech marketing. She is part of a large, diverse family and enjoys spending time with the multiple generations living in her community.


  1. Charlotte Henry March 29, 2016 Reply

    I play games to help me to pass the time . I enjoy different games since I have COPD and can’t get out of the house often.

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