6 Board Games That Help Improve Cognitive Performances

Whether you are social distancing or simply spending the whole weekend inside your house, there is a great possibility that you will get bored. While you have the option of indulging yourself in some Netflix movies and popcorn, you can also be more creative and engage in a fun board game to pass the time.

What many people don’t know is that board games aren’t only reserved for entertainment. In fact, they bring some unique health and life-improving benefits that can be a real life-changer for every individual. Out of the many, increased brain function is one of the most notable ones.

Generally speaking, playing board games helps stimulate brain areas that are responsible for memory formation and complex thought processes for all ages. These further assist in practicing cognitive skills which are essential for the proper development of every individual.

So, if you are looking for healthy ways to improve your brain function, here is a list of six board games that will help you achieve the best results.

Jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are at the top of the list of the best board games that can improve cognitive performance. That is because the process of solving them reinforces the connections between the brain cells by exercising the right and left sides of the brain. When both sides are activated, they communicate and work together to increase cognitive function.

Although all puzzles are generally entertaining and highly thought-provoking, the great thing about jigsaw puzzles for adults is that they are very versatile. They come in many sizes and designs giving you the chance to choose one that will be most appealing to you. For example, the team over at Pixels offers a wide variety of puzzles for adults designed by independent artists which you can even use as a unique wall decoration for your interior.


Another example of a board game that can also be beneficial for your brain is Monopoly. While this game teaches you the basics of money management and the importance of calculating risks, playing a game of Monopoly can boost your memory formation and cognitive skills.  

For example, the rules of the game are to buy and trade properties with the other opponents and try to bankrupt them along the way in order to win. Doing such activities and tasks requires using serious thinking and problem-solving skills which are essential for improving cognitive performances.

Plus, the enjoyment you get from playing will stimulate the production of the happy hormones in the brain that will offer a feeling of general well-being and happiness.


If you are looking for a board game that will pose an intellectual challenge, then chess is the right choice for you. In fact, it is often regarded as the best brain game as it helps you improve your memory, planning skills and creativity.

In general, the game consists of maneuvering sixteen pieces across a 64-square game board with the ultimate goal to checkmate your opponent’s king piece. This requires memorizing numerous combinations of moves and their potential outcomes that both you and your opponent make throughout the game. 

Besides this, playing chess can help develop your fluid intelligence and processing speed. The first one refers to the ability to use your problem-solving skills and the latter to how to swiftly comprehend tasks and respond to challenges efficiently.


A board game type that can instantly juice up your brainpower is Scrabble. Besides giving you the opportunity to learn new words, engaging in a classic word game like this one can also be used as a healthy tool to improve your cognitive performance.

When you are playing Scrabble, you are activating the parts of the brain that are associated with memory and visual processing. This helps improve brain plasticity and keeps the cell activity going which is very helpful for the elderly who are more likely to suffer from brain degeneration.

While it performs this for older people, it also helps boost brain development in children and adolescents. It is believed that young people who play such word games tend to have higher IQ scores than those who don’t.


If you are looking for a relaxing board game that also helps improve your cognitive performance, then you should turn to Pictionary. The game involves drawing and guessing as many words or phrases as possible in a timed round. While this may seem easy to many, it is actually quite challenging as it requires you to put your brain to maximum use and try to make the right guess.

Whether you are drawing or guessing the word, you must try to imagine it first in order to be able to pass it on to your team members correctly. This requires using those parts of the brain that are responsible for planning, organizing, evaluating and memory, all of which contribute to improving cognitive performances.


It may be surprising to some, but Jenga is another board game that has proven extremely beneficial for the mental and psychological health of people. From improving manual dexterity to enhancing problem-solving skills and strategic thinking, this game is very popular among those who wish to take their brain function to new heights.

In general, the game involves building a tower from 54 small wooden blocks and then removing one block from within and placing it back on top without making the tower fall. In order to do this successfully, you must rely on your strategic abilities and critical thinking skills to analyze the tower, assess its structure and remove the block without the tower crumbling.

This further helps improve your patience which is an essential part of the entire game.

Final thoughts

Besides serving as excellent entertaining tools, board games can also be very beneficial for the mental health of people. They are able to activate parts of the brain that are responsible for various essential cognitive performances that people use in their everyday lives without realizing. From improving memory skills to enhancing strategic and critical thinking abilities, board games should be at the top of every individual’s list whenever they want to increase their brain function.  

In case you aren’t sure which board games can do that, make sure you refer back to this post and choose the game that will instantly boost your brainpower. 

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