12 of the Best Brain Games to Play When You’re Bored at Home

people playing Scrabble

Unsplash/Morgan Vander-Hart

We hate to break it to you, but there is such a thing as too much Netflix. While working from home can seem like code for catching up on all your favorite shows, it’s all too easy to feel like your brain has turned into mush after a few hours (fine, days) of staring at a screen. 

So what should you do instead? (You know, after you’ve done all your work.) You could listen to podcasts, play board games, and devour that stack of books on your nightstand. However, brain games are another activity to add to your to-do list. Not only can brain games help pass the time, but they can also be good for you. Brain games can help improve cognitive skills—such as decision making and short-term memory—that can dwindle overtime. 

Ready to turn off the television and give your brain some TLC? Check out these cerebral options below. From physical games to downloadable apps, there’s something here for everyone.

01 of 12

Sudoku

Sudoku Puzzle Book
Sudoku 555 Puzzles Easy to Expert $10
Shop

Sudoku has been one of the most beloved brain games for the past 40 years—and for good reason. In addition to being addictive, this numbers-based game can improve your mood, memory, and concentration. If you want to give Sudoku a try, add this book to your Prime e-cart. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Sudoku novice or expert: This option has something for everyone.

02 of 12

Left vs. Right

Left vs. Right Game App

Apple

As Left vs. Right proves, it is possible to train both sides of your brain with one app. With 51 games to choose from, this app tests your awareness, adaptability, patience, reflexes, precision, and reasoning.

Available on: iOS and Android

03 of 12

Brain Dots

brain dots phone app

Apple

With the goal of bumping two dots together, Brain Dots seems surprisingly easy. However, with different stages and difficulty levels to choose from, this app will flex your critical and strategic thinking.

Available on: iOS and Android

04 of 12

Lumosity

Lumosity phone app

Apple

Consider Lumosity a digital bootcamp for your brain. With over 40 games that become more difficult as you advance through difficult levels, this app can help improve your attention, memory, and so much more.

Available on: iOS and Android

05 of 12

Jigsaw Puzzles

patterned jigsaw puzzle
Dusen Dusen Pattern Puzzle - Stack $25
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Or, if you want to keep your screen time to a minimum, keep it old school with a puzzle. Not only do they provide endless fun for the whole family, but puzzles can also increase the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that can control mood, memory, and concentration. When you’re done, you can always frame it and turn this brain game into home décor.

06 of 12

Tetris

Tetris phone app

Apple

For many, Tetris is a lot more than a highly addictive arcade game. Founded in 1984, Tetris is known to bolster reaction time, concentration, and spatial orientation skills. 

Available on: iOS and Android

07 of 12

QuizUp

quizup app

Apple

Very few brain games can get the noggin churning like some trivia. With quizzes on everything from cars, to toys, to movie titles, this app is a great way to finesse your trivia skills and pick up a few fun facts.

Available on: iOS and Android

08 of 12

Crossword Puzzles

The New York Times mini crosswords book
The New York Times Mini Crosswords $10
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For as long as we can remember, the New York Times has been the reigning champ of crossword puzzles. Thanks to this book, you can have access to 150 Times–worthy crossword puzzles—all without impatiently waiting for the next paper.

09 of 12

Unblock Me

Unblock Me Phone App

Apple

If sliding a block from one side of your screen to another sounds easy, you clearly haven’t heard of Unblock. Available on iOS and Android interfaces, this game is designed to put your cognitive thinking and problem solving skills to the test. 

Available on: iOS and Android

10 of 12

Scrabble

scrabble
Scrabble Deluxe Edition $150
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Calling all wordsmiths: Honor your love of the written word with this classic brain game. Go ahead, cash in on those double and triple letters.

11 of 12

Rubix Cube

Rubix cube set
Aitey Speed Cube Set $16
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It’s been 46 years since the Rubix Cube was invented, and the retro toy has not lost its touch. Want to kick things up a notch? Consider picking up this set, which reimagines the typical Rubix cube into different shapes.

12 of 12

Bananagrams

bananagrams
Bananagrams Word Game $17
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Similar to Scrabble, Bananagrams is all about making as many words as you can out of a group of letters. But thanks to its compact, portable design, you can play it anytime, anywhere.

Article Sources
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  1. Harvard Health Publishing. "The Thinking on Brain Games." October, 2019

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