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Person sitting at a table working on a puzzle featuring the human head with the brain unfinished.



Brain games help improve and retain critical thinking skills and act as a fun pastime to destress. There are several ways to exercise your brain, some more expensive than others. Legos and wooden puzzles are a cool way to create something and use critical thinking, but sets get expensive quickly. There are also video games out there – shoutout out to Professor Layton – that make it easy to play on the go, but gaming consoles and new release games are spendy for a finite number of puzzles. Olympus Boulevard gathered up a few ideas to get the benefits of brain games without breaking the bank.

Free Apps

There is an endless number of free games available on your phone that are a lot cheaper and more portable than console gaming. A few of them even offer cognitive tests to gauge your current critical thinking skills and increase them over time! Check out a few of the more popular apps available to download and get playing.

Old-School Tabletop Puzzles

While 3D puzzles can get spendy, classic jigsaw puzzles come a dime a dozen. You can even find them at thrift stores if you’re willing to risk a few missing pieces. Find one that matches your favorite fandom, like your favorite Star Wars characters or a scenic view from Lord of the Rings. Use stunning real-world views to take the place of being able to travel and live vicariously through recreating the landscape on your dining room table.

Learn a Language

There are plenty of activities that activate your noggin. Painting, playing an instrument, and learning a language also provides the same benefits as a crossword puzzle. The first two can be costly, but you can utilize free resources online or on the app store to learn French, expand your Spanish vocabulary, or prepare for a future trip to Japan. Here’s a list of the best apps available to get going on your new skillset.

Looking for more ways to think outside of the box? Check out the Olympus Boulevard blog.