A Puzzle For Your Thoughts -

A Puzzle For Your Thoughts


National Puzzle Day

As National Puzzle Day gleams on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to talk about the importance of exercising your brain, while lighting up bo­th hemispheres in interactive, engaging, and fun ways! Before the revolution of phone apps, simulations, and games, most people would engage with puzzles in the form of crosswords, word searches, Sudokus, table puzzles (jigsaw), brain teasers, along with many others. I can remember the pure joy of getting to complete one of these after a school assignment as a way to fill our free time. The challenge was addicting and exciting, and getting clues from friends always helped cross the finish line.

Benefits : Improved Cognitive Function

Studies have found that working puzzles improves our cognitive function, memory, and problem-solving skills. Working table puzzles are often done with others, increasing socialization skills and community, while stimulating different areas of your brain. With the takeover of cell phones, these kinds of brainteasers are done less frequently, even becoming somewhat of a mystery to kids who once used to put together simple geometric shapes into their respected places and other simulated puzzle experiences as they grew up.

With the obvious benefit of increasing vocabulary skills and usage, crossword puzzles, work on existing knowledge and working with letter clues in a series of guess and check. Sudoku’s work on the logical side of the brain utilizing number sequence, patience, and determination to solve the entire grid, even increasing attention span.

Collaborative Games Have Produced Higher Levels of Happiness

Collaborative games and exercises, such as puzzles, have produced higher levels of happiness, and even relaxation, when having some good ole fashioned fun! A challenging puzzle, which requires teamwork, and dependency on those helping you, undoubtedly brings concentration and joy when finally discovering where one of the pieces needs to go.  

The sense of accomplishment from finishing a complex puzzle, crossword, or Sudoku is immense and usually follows with wanting to complete one that’s more complex or the next level up, creating a series of wanting to step up and challenge your brain farther. This builds confidence in your abilities and affirms to your brain that you are more than capable to complete a task that you may have at one point believe that you weren’t intelligent enough to complete. Major brain score!

What most people are moving towards these days to exercise their brain and gain the numerous effects of solving complex puzzles, are downloading different apps on their phone that they can do when they have free time, replacing mindless scrolling.

Mindless scrolling on your phone through different social media platforms can be damaging to your brain, as there is not a lot of new brain activity going on, rather it’s just used as being a time filler. Keeping your brain active is as important as physical exercise, and these apps ensure you won’t become stagnant while glazing over your phone. I have comprised a list of apps you can download and give a try in the spirit of National Puzzle Day. One of these might even become part of your new routine!

Stay mentally active using the following apps and branch out to find others that fit your interests and needs!



  1. Lumosity

Lumosity is considered the originator of the brain training apps that hit the app stores by storm. This app consists of colorful and fun mini games that train on flexibility, attention, memory, speed, and problem solving. When you sign up, you complete a “fit test”, which tests the above five function and compares you to others users in the same age group. This provides insight to the creators of the app which functions you need to spend the most time on in order to increase your results. 

This app boosts math and speaking skills, with attention also put on memory and processing speed. This app is more so designed for adults with the focus more on texts, versus colorful illustrations. Boost your productivity, earning power, and self-confidence with this app that was voted the best phone app in 2014. If you are feeling competitive you can compare your performance in order to encourage you to keep pushing forward.

Similar to Lumosity, Peak can be used by both adults and children, as they have attractive interfaces. Recommended to train for three days a week, one of the great perks of Peak is that you can select the days that you want to train and they will send you reminders when it’s time. You can track your progress throughout time with colorful graphs that act as powerful demonstrations and insight into your progress.

What sets Fit Brains apart from the rest is that it targets emotional intelligence through mini games that target social skills, social awareness, self-control, and self-awareness. This app also has a school edition that aims to boost the cognitive functions of schoolchildren as well.

This app is designed for consumers, scientists, and clinicians. This one may perhaps be the most advanced brain app reviewed, increasing short-term memory, planning, hand-eye coordination, visual acuity, and auditory perception. A lot of students preparing to take the medical and dental school entrance exam tests will use this app to challenge their visual acuity and perception skills.

All of these apps include free versions, as well as subscriptions that allow you to enjoy more features.  

You can also download interactive versions of our favorite original brain teasers including word searches, cross word puzzles, Sudokus, and many others that will challenge you!

If you look forward to observing National Puzzle Day on January 29th, grab a friend and put together a large jigsaw puzzle together. Or, you can grab a cup of coffee and work on a word search, crossword, or Sudoku. You can even be vintage and find a local paper to complete your crossword puzzle from! You can even download one of these apps in order to see how it will benefit you! Make sure you #nationalpuzzleday so others can enjoy how you are celebrating this special day!

Casey Rollins