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Were you aware that you can use your phone to sharpen your mind, improve your memory, and boost your brain’s ability to function, all on your daily commute?
Though it’s tempting to spend your time mindlessly surfing the web or playing games on your phone, the best brain games offer an immersive and rewarding alternative that will keep you glued to your screen--while at the same time giving your brain a workout.
These apps are full of riddles, optical illusions, puzzles, and brain-teasers that are so enjoyable you may not even notice that your memory and concentration are skyrocketing. Read on for our list of the best brain teaser apps for adults and kids.
Well, that all depends on you. Brain games are designed to increase your capacity for learning and processing information, which in turn can make you smarter. Today’s apps integrate the latest in neuroscience, logic, and cognitive science into programs that can sharpen your mind and help you absorb information. Of course it’s up to you to participate. Luckily, many of these apps are not only science-based, but fun and engaging.
Here are a few key areas that can be improved through brain apps:
If you feel like your phone is taking away your ability to remember phone numbers, you’ll appreciate an app that helps improve your memory instead. Many of the most popular memory training apps, like Elevate, Fit Brains Trainer, and Peak, include games that sharpen your memory alongside various other cognitive exercises.
Eidetic uses an approach called Spaced Retention to train your brain to remember more facts. It uses different exercises to boost your ability to remember phone numbers, bank account numbers, quotes, and interesting facts. There are notifications that you can set to remind you to do more exercises (presumably once you’ve been using it long enough you won’t need a notification anymore!) and tests so that you can track your progress. Over time, the tests become more spaced out to help embed the information in your long-term memory.
Brain training apps are extremely popular today, so your first task is to choose which one you prefer. The best apps include cognitive profiling tests so that you follow a personal set of brain training games, allow you to compare your progress with others and give you regular feedback on your progress.
Lumosity is the classic brain training site that was developed by over 100 researchers. It offers dozens of fun games that put your brain through a workout in 1 of 5 areas—memory training, attention span, problem-solving, speed, and flexibility. You’ll be given a ‘fit test’ when you sign up, which measures your cognitive levels so that Lumosity can give you a customized games program. Lumosity encourages you to play a little every day, showing stats and comparing your performance with others in your age group for added motivation.
Elevate encourages daily brain training across 3 or 5 games, depending on whether you’re using the regular or Pro version, which boosts your powers in particular areas of math, speaking, reading, writing, and listening as well as overall cognitive power. Elevate has a more serious approach than Peak, plotting your ‘streaks’ and raising the difficulty level as you improve.
With Peak you’ll begin with a test to assess your current level. You’ll find plenty of minigames on both sites to sharpen different areas of brain ability, and stats tables to track your progress and compare it with others. Peak’s games are a little more fun, and you’ll be encouraged to use it 3 times a week instead of every day.
Although the New York Times Crossword app isn’t an official brain training app like the others mentioned here, it’s been proven again and again that doing crosswords stretches your brain. The free New York Times crossword app offers the same high-level puzzles that appear in the paper, forcing you to improve your problem-solving skills, vocabulary, and lateral thinking. You can see a stats table to track your progress, too.
While some brain games are more lighthearted, others take a more serious, scientific approach to building cognitive skills. Two of these, CogniFit Brain Fitness and NeuroNation, harness the latest in neuroscience to offer a well-developed curriculum of exercises that target everything from brain fog to Alzheimers.
CogniFit Brain Fitness boasts programs specifically designed for those suffering from memory loss, Parkinson’s, and chemo-fog. These brain exercises were designed by neuroscientists and have been used in hospitals, nursing homes, and rehab centers to help clients rebuild their cognitive skills. CogniFit’s exercises run the gamut from executive functioning and reasoning to mental agility and memory training.
NeuroNation is another neuroscience-based app out of Germany that’s backed by clinical research and focuses on numeracy, language, reasoning, perception, and memory. With games for adults of all capabilities, and progress trackers to keep you apace of your development, NeuroNation is a great tool for those looking to simply sharpen their minds or strengthen their cognitive skills in light of medical issues.
Many apps designed for adults are also great for kids to use. Lumosity and Peak offer many brain training games that also appeal to children.
Fit Brains Trainer has a ‘school edition’ which is aimed specifically at helping children to expand their emotional and cognitive intelligence. It also includes plenty of games that kids and adults can enjoy together.
If you’d like your kids to spend some quality time with a brain app but don’t want them to feel like they’re studying, Skillz offers a fun, inventive approach to brain games for kids. The app offers puzzles, illustrations, and color-coded puzzles that are designed for adolescents. These tasks help developing minds strengthen their pattern-recognition and logic skills, while at the same time keeping them entertained.
While most of the apps listed above offer free trials or limited free games, some are completely free to use.
Braingle, for example, boasts more than 15,000 brain games that are entirely free and accessible for the whole family. The selection includes puzzles, riddles, and free brain games for both adults and children, helpfully categorized by their level of difficulty. The challenges are aptly designed to catch the eye and imagination of children while allowing them--and perhaps their parents alongside them--to give their minds a bolstering workout.
There’s no need to wait for the best opportunity to work on your brain. Thanks to these brain and memory improvement apps, you can expand your cognitive ability, bolster your concentration, and improve your memory and retention skills whenever you have a few minutes to spare.