Learning Games: Stay Sharp Over Summer

You Can Learn This Summer. It Can Be Fun.

Instead of letting your brain turn to mush this summer, exercise your brain. The New York Times recently published an article about how working your brain regularly, like the muscle it is, can help you focus and retain information. The Times explained a study done with children in which a small group performed a specific memory game, “…[Students] who played the working memory games fidgeted less…[the students] also scored higher on one of the single best measures of fluid intelligence.”

Science has shown that students who play regular games that work their brains can help with information retention and memory. All you have to do is play a few games. Sounds easy, right? It is. Try some of these learning games this summer to help your brain focus.

Sudoku is a popular numbers puzzle. A 9-square board is drawn with numbers ranging from 1-9 filling three-six of the spots on the board. The objective is to fill in the rest of the board, making sure no number is repeated. For full instructions and web play, visit WebSudoku.com.

The benefit: Manipulating numbers into complex patterns can help you stay focused.

Words with Friends
Words with Friends is a smartphone application that involves Scrabble-like play. Play with friends or acquaintances around the world to build words for points. For traditional word-play fun, try the traditional board game Scrabble.

The benefit: Building words can increase your vocabulary, as well as help you think outside the box as you build unusual words for more points.

Trivial Pursuit
Trivial Pursuit is a board game that has players asking each other trivia questions on topics ranging from sports, history, entertainment, and science. Trivial Pursuit is also available in an iPhone app.

The benefit: Regularly quizzing yourself (and your friends) can improve memory retention, and can also introduce you to new topics you may not know a lot about.

Mind DoJo is a “brain training” game that includes memory, math, and reflex skills. You can track your progress as your memory improves and even compete with others.

The benefit: When you track your progress you can actually watch the math and reflex games improving your memory.

While not necessarily a game, geocaching is a great way to sharpen your brain over the summer. Geocaches are landmarks that are often historical. Use a geocaching gps, or your smartphone to locate geocaches wherever you are. Leave a note for the next person and continue on your treasure hunt.

The benefit: Exploring your surroundings and finding historical and/or natural landmarks in your area and while you’re traveling can broaden your horizons and teach you a piece of history. This is of special interest to those who may be studying for a history degree.

For the more aptly motivated, try these study tips for college. Perform these tasks regularly for optimum information retention, and to keep your mind in the habit of studying:

  • Review your notes once a week to refresh your memory
  • Go over previous exams and quizzes and review answers
  • Ask your professors for sample exams and quizzes to take over the summer
  • Get a jump start on your fall reading by asking your professors for a book list

Games and learning go hand in hand. With the advent of smartphones, learning games are even more accessible. Explore these and other learning games this summer to keep your brain sharp and ready for fall!

About Allison Freeland

Allie Freeland is the Editor-in-Chief of CollegeOnline.org. She has been a professional writer for a decade and received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Minnesota. She brings a wealth of information about higher education, online degrees, college life, and career advice. Follow her on G+.