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Keeping Your Brain Active During Summer Break

Whether you have chosen to focus on summer school throughout your break or to relax, there are many beneficially fun games you can play which will help to keep your brain sharp and active over the summer. It has been proven time and time again that brain games, such as chess, help strengthen the brain in ways that are on par with consistent studies. Depending on the type of game, you could be building brain muscles in the structures which help strengthen even mathematical skills. While playing games, you could be getting yourself ready for your next year of studies come the fall – without even picking up a textbook! 


Chess is a world renowned game for a reason. It requires strategic forethought, patience, and precisive skill. Its benefits can be enjoyed by not only teens and adults, but by children as well. In fact, studies have shown how chess enhances the development of problem-solving, social and relationship-building abilities in children. For even the smallest of players, by learning the games’ grand design and procedures and building up, one can expect to support their brain in literally growing new dendrites – the small tree-like structures in the brain which help neurons communicate with one another. It is known that the more dendrites your brain produces, the more efficiently it works! Furthermore, in terms of mathematical skill-building, in a controlled study conducted and published in SAGE Journals, it was shown that there was, “A strong correlation between chess and math scores, and a higher improvement in math in [an] experimental group compared with the control group. These results foster the hypothesis that even a short-time practice of chess in children can be a useful tool to enhance their mathematical abilities.” 

Chess is an incredible game enjoyed by many around the world. Its challenging play provides exceptional benefits – all while having fun! Why not take it up for the summer? If you’d like to play, but need to either brush up on your knowledge of the game or perhaps learn it for the first time, check out the rules of the game here


Another classic game known for its brainy benefits is Sudoku. Sudoku Is a logic-based number puzzle game made up of a 9 × 9 grid with numbers placed in some of the squares to start, with the rest left blank to be filled in by the player. The object of the puzzle is to fill the remaining blank squares, using all the numbers 1–9 exactly once (and no more) in each row, column, and the nine 3 × 3 subgrids. Though it is not a difficult game to learn, it takes concentration and forward planning, making it an exceptional game for strengthening memory, cognition and attentiveness. Even better, it has been known to help anxiety and stress. The level of focus it takes to complete a game of sudoku can help ground, balance and calm the player.

Sudoku Online also interestingly states how “One of the hidden benefits of Sudoku is the way it improves your capacity of analyzing the relation and dynamic between tasks and subtasks.

This numbers puzzle cannot be solved by completing each row, column or group individually and once at a time. Their information is intertwined, and you must learn which subtask to tackle each time in order to progress in your goal to fill the whole grid.”

Sudoku not only helps strengthen critical thought and academically beneficial skills, but on a larger scale, it can help the player develop life skills. We recommend giving it a try this summer! Visit Mastering Sudoku for more information on this wonderful game. 

Crossword puzzles 

Crossword puzzles are another classic game which has been around since the early 1900s! They are unique to the more logical and analytical games, as they are always keeping you on your toes by stimulating your brain in different ways than chess or sudoku. Much like learning a new language, crossword puzzles are constantly testing your mind. There is no formation or pattern for your brain to gradually absorb and habituate, so you are persistently being challenged. Crossword puzzles can be found in a wide range of difficulties, so can be enjoyed by both young and old. It can also be based around and found in an assortment of subjects/topics, depending on the player’s interests. So, grab a crossword puzzle book the next time you are out and give it a try this summer!


Monopoly may not be as classic and logistical as chess, but it can most certainly help with those math skills – while being fun and addicting game for those of any age. By counting money, making change, learning the value of the dollar, strategy, and probability, even those who struggle with math in school can learn these essential math skills in a new and enjoyable way. Additionally, according to Science Direct, “Mathematical play reinforces the current knowledge, and it assists future problem solving/mathematical activities. During the mathematical play activities, children come across different types of daily problems and they construct several solution-based ways for them spontaneously.” 

Game-based learning is an increasingly popular and advantageous teaching method used by parents and teachers to help support students in their learning. Strategic games support cognitive function, while gaming creates an environment that can stimulate learners in developing skills and building an emotional connection to learning and subject matter. With this in mind, we want to encourage you to try introducing games like the ones we have provided above into your daily routine, especially while students have time to both relax and exercise their minds in different ways over the summer break. Who knows, maybe you will find your new favourite game and lifelong hobby!
After all, Alfred Mercier said it best; “What we Learn with Pleasure, we Never Forget”.

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