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7 Brain Teaser Games That Keep Your Mind Sharp and Make You Smarter ...

After I graduated college, I've found that besides reading, brain teaser games keep my mind sharp and active. I noticed a decline in my problem solving abilities as well as mental and verbal processes when I don't exercise my brain! Just think of it as a work out for your brain: you exercise your body to stay healthy and fit and your brain needs the same care and work. Here are some brain teaser games that are not only beneficial but super fun!

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1. Crossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles are usually pretty difficult. It's a random assortment of trivia questions broken down into short clues that correspond with a location on the puzzle. However, once you start answering the puzzle correctly, more space is taken up and it does become easy to recognize answers! Crosswords are great for leaning new things and using your brain to recall information. This is one of those brain teaser games that keep your mind sharp. And did you know, doing regular crossword puzzles may prevent Alzheimer's later in life? That's definitely a positive factor!

2. Sudoku

Sudoku is a puzzle game that has you match up the numbers 1-9 on a 9x9 grid of large squares with 9 smaller squares within them. The point is to create numbers 1-9 in every square, sub-square, and horizontal/vertical column and row without repeating any of the numbers. I love sudoku (the easy level!) because it has you using your logic skills which over time, can delay the onset of dementia.

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3. Word Searches

Word searches are just plain fun! They can be hard or easy, depending on your preference. I like the fact that they are so diverse in word topics and that you can learn new words through this brain teaser game. Word searches are great for training your recognition and speed processes. A type of word search game that's exciting and useful, is the online scrabble game Words With Friends. Definitely check it out!

4. Timed Mental Math

Are you good at mental math? Try solving math problems while being timed! It's crazy how much harder it is when you're under a time crunch and even the added competitiveness of playing against your friends. Using math, especially mental math, is extremely helpful in daily life. Just going to the grocery store or shopping and finding the best deals, requires you to be proficient in short math calculations, not to mention using it in the workplace. And honestly, I've never been great at mental math, even though I am good at math in general, and playing these math games has helped tremendously with speed and proficiency!

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5. Color Matching

Color matching games, where you have to match the color with the meaning, is extremely hard which means it's amazing for stretching your brain! You automatically read a word that spells a color and instantly build an association. So when the color is different and you have to match them up, it provides quite a challenge!

6. Memory Recall Games

Memory is something that needs constant exercising to keep it active. I know I have a hard time remembering certain things because I'm no longer in school and in need of memorizing facts. But when you are memorizing facts, sayings and even phone numbers, your recall of information is dramatically heightened. Memory recall games are geared towards improving your memory. Basically the concept is the game will flash some information at you - a word, picture or symbol - and you use that information for the next part of the game. As you move on, these kind of games get increasingly more difficult.

7. Tests of Mental Speed

Your ability to make quick decisions based on your environment is crucial in most aspects of your life. Challenge your abilities by playing games that test your reflexes. How fast can you match up two of the same image? Or determine directionality of one object within many?

A lot of these types of games can be found online and downloaded for free! Not to mention there is a plethora of puzzle books and board games out there! What are some of your favorite brain teaser games?

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