14 Brain Games That Will Help You Get Smarter During Self-Quarantine
There’s no excuse to let your mind atrophy while self-isolating with these no-brainer exercises.
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Keeping your mind active in isolation
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Only a week or so into self-quarantine, you may have already started to notice how a shift in your daily routine (hello, working from home in jammies) or responsibilities (home-schooling, caregiving, and cooking) is negatively impacting your drive, focus, memory, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Rather than succumb to mindless hours spent in front of the television during the coronavirus pandemic, carve out time each day to stimulate your mind. Get started with these 71 brain games guaranteed to boost your brain power. Then graduate to this list of brain games that will help maintain the critical thinking skills, strategy, and innovation you’ve honed throughout your career and lifetime—when this global outbreak is behind us, your sharp mind will put you ahead of the curve.
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Whether you’re looking to boost your idea-generation skills or not lose your current skills during your time at home, the Edison Deck can help. No complicated instructions here: Simply pick one of the 150 prompt cards and come up with at least ten ideas. By solving problems, thinking laterally and innovating ideas, you’ll stay sharp as a tack. Who knows? You may even come up with a brilliant side hustle, write that book you’ve been talking about for years, or have some other life-changing revelation in the process. Like Thomas Edison said, “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.”
Stuck at home by yourself? Use your alone time to develop such crucial life skills as logical deduction, spatial reasoning, and critical thinking with a solo chess game that offers 80 challenges for beginners and experts alike. This set comes with a board, ten chess pieces (a king, queen, and two knights, rooks, pawns, and bishops) and clear instructions so you can start playing right away. Your mission, should you choose to accept it? To have only one piece left. Try your hand at solving these 20 brain teasing puzzles.
Escape Room in a Box
Do you love gathering clues and solving mysteries? Since you can’t visit a real escape room right now—and, let’s face it, you can’t escape your own home either—it’s a great time to explore Escape Room in a Box. If you have a large family or roommates, the more the merrier, as each person will undoubtedly bring an important perspective to this intricate game. You’ll work together to solve 19 mental and physical puzzles before the mad scientist turns you into werewolves, all while the one-hour timer counts down. If you have Amazon Alexa, use it to enhance gameplay, track time, and add a spooky soundtrack to the fun. When you’re finished, try passing the time by asking Alexa to do any of these 15 hilarious things.
Trying to squeeze in a game between your virtual meeting and your online class? You’ve only got 30 minutes in this fast-paced strategy game that’s perfect for the whole family. There’s just one rule, so it takes less than a minute to learn—but it takes many rounds to master the delicate balance of defense and offense you’ll need to win. In a nutshell: Stake your claim and protect your territory by fitting as many of your 21 pieces on the board as possible while also strategically blocking your opponents. Trust us: It’s not as easy as it looks to conquer this board. When you do have the time to play a longer classic, find out how to win Monopoly, according to experts.
Fans of National Geographic may have already tuned into the Emmy-nominated series Brain Games—the TV show explores visual perception, memory, skill learning, and decision making. Now’s your chance to play at home with a board game version that can be played solo or against a handful of opponents you’re sheltering in place with (ages 14 and up). You’ll be busy for hours thanks to the 192 challenge cards, broken out into four categories: logic, vision, language skills, and physical coordination.
Mastermind is one of the best-selling games of all time and happens to teach STEM (science technology, engineering, and mathematics) principles like deductive reasoning and logic. This strategy-centric game pits a code maker (who sets a secret code and provides feedback) and a codebreaker (who tries to match the code) against one another in ten moves or less. You’ll switch roles between rounds, so each player will have a chance to experience both sides of the board.
Silicon Valley Startups
Love watching ABC’s Shark Tank? If you often find yourself scratching your head at the contestants’ absurd business ideas, then Silicon Valley Startups is your jam. By luck of the draw, you’ll receive an absurd startup company (you’ll draw various cards to discover the business name, industry, and target user) and then have to get creative to secure funding from an investor for it. You’ll need to pivot when a “hot trend” card is pulled and answer a curveball question, so it’s all about quick business thinking. Shark Tank‘s own Daymond Johnson even partnered with Silicon Valley Startups when the game was first introduced in late 2018. Be sure to read up on the 50 most successful Shark Tank products from the last decade, first.
It’s time to dust off those critical thinking skills with Logic Links, a game that helps enhance spatial learning and deductive reasoning skills. Each of the 166 cards uses a series of clues that instruct the player where to place colored chips to solve the puzzle. The game requires you to think in multiple directions (sideways, backward, right to left) as you read the clues and figure it out—you can play alone, but when playing with others, it’s fun to see how many puzzles you can complete in a set amount of time.
Word games—like Scrabble or Words With Friends—are cognitive exercises, but having a set board doesn’t add much element of surprise. With Bananagrams, each player draws 21 lettered tiles and then races against each other to form their own sets of connecting and intersecting words with no board to confine their imagination. It’s fast-paced since you’re working on your own “board” and also helps expand vocabulary, especially if you brush up on these 30 little-known words that will help you win Scrabble.