The Benefits of Playing Word Puzzles

Before mobile phones, computers, and the Internet were invented, people already had the means to entertain themselves and enjoy each other’s company. Nowadays, in group gatherings, you will see friends and families either watching a movie at home, filming videos for their social media platforms, or just on their own, not minding each other’s businesses while fiddling on their devices. It seems like these current advancements and modernities also affect our relationships with one another. All of these make some of us want to go back into the past, where everything is simple. 

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The good thing is even how many years have passed, board games and word puzzles still exist. Programmers even create applications that allow users to play their favourite puzzles online with friends even if they are miles apart, putting modern technology’s best advantage into fair use. Whether you are playing physically or online, there is no denying that playing word puzzles with a couple of your loved ones has several benefits, not only personal but also in social relationships.

Word Puzzles for the Wellbeing 

Word puzzles or word games are a set of games that can test your knowledge of language and vocabulary. Some of these puzzles are played individually, while others need a couple more players. One of the most popular word board games, for example, is Scrabble, and it requires two to four players.

Several academic research projects have been conducted throughout the years to determine how playing with word puzzles affects a person’s wellbeing. One study from the University of Exeter and King’s College London had shown how adults, age 50 years old and above, who regularly solve word puzzles like crossword, have better brain function than those who do not play at all. More than 19,000 participants were involved in this study. They had to answer a survey on how frequently they play word puzzles and a series of examinations that tested their grammatical reasoning, attention, and memory.

On the other hand, a related 2018 study from Tanjungpura University looked into how WordSearch can improve a tenth grader’s vocabulary mastery.  Thirty-one students were asked to take a pre-test and a post-test in the form of an essay, but before taking the post-test, they were given Word Search Puzzles. 

When the researcher compared the mean results of the two exams, findings have shown that the students’ scores were significantly higher during the post-test — showing how word puzzles can help improve one’s vocabulary mastery. 

These are only a few of the several scientific studies conducted to show us how word puzzles can be beneficial to our mind and body. 

Word Puzzle Options

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Photo by Bannon Morrissy on Unsplash

There are also a lot of word puzzles invented throughout the years. Here are only some examples:

1. Scrabble

Played in hundreds of countries worldwide, Scrabble is among the most popular word puzzles and board games. It was first created in the year 1938 by Alfred Mosher Butts. It is played with two to four players who are given letter tiles. Every word that a player forms have to be placed on the 15×15 grid. Each letter and grid box has corresponding points, and the player with the most points wins the game.

2. Crossword Puzzle

Started in 1913 by Arthur Wynne from Liverpool. Crossword puzzles are popularly found in newspapers. It is a puzzle made up of black and white grid squares — the white squares are the blanks and where the letters of the words are written. Clues are given for each word which is either written horizontally or vertically. 

3. Anagram

It is a word or phrase that results from the rearranging of letters of another existing word. For example, the anagram of study is dusty. 

4. Words with Friends

It is a popular online word game released in 2009 that follows the same objective as Scrabble. Zynga developed it as both a single-player and multiplayer game. You can play Words with Friends with people you know or random opponents.

5. Word Search

The first word search puzzle was published in 1968 by Norman Gibat. In this game, a list of words is provided. You are then set to find all of these words from a box that contains several letters arranged like a grid. The terms are either placed vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.

Major Benefits of Playing Word Puzzles 

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Photo by Johan Mouchet on Unsplash

Here are the specific benefits of playing word puzzles regularly:

1.They help improve your vocabulary

No matter how old you are, it is never too late to learn new words. With word puzzles, you get to encounter new ones that you can use with everyday conversation or just an excellent addition to your word bank. 

2. It improves social skills

Playing multiplayer word puzzles can improve bonds among family members and friends. Words with Friends also has a feature now where you can chat with your opponents while playing online. 

3. They help with better working memory

As you use your memory in recognising and recalling vocabulary words for word games, your brain function also develops. For the elderly, puzzles help their brains maintain their sharpness.

4. They help develop cognitive skills

Besides memory, regular playing of word puzzles can also help other cognitive functions such as learning, paying attention, and remembering. With constant brain exercise, you can get better at focusing and thinking creatively.

5. They help develop a child’s character

Letting your child solve word puzzles as frequent as possible can help develop his or her character’s building blocks. Answering these puzzles can instil determination, creativity, resourcefulness, hunger for learning, and build social skills.

6. It is also beneficial to your mental health

Playing with word games can be an excellent avenue for destressing. Some people find these word puzzles relaxing as they keep their brain going. Specialists recommend word searches and crosswords as they help you focus on just one thing. They can also be somewhat enjoyable for some, which helps release serotonin in the body.

7. It helps avoid brain diseases

According to studies, word puzzles can help in delaying the chance of an adult having dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Word puzzles are a great source of entertainment anywhere and anytime. If you ever got bored while on your commute home, whip up your pen and paper — or more convenient, you can now play on your mobile phone. Depending on your existing vocabulary and language mastery, these puzzles can either be easy or challenging for you. Whenever you get stuck, you can always consult a word finder for clues. Just imagine how a short puzzle can help you develop vital skills to help with your mind and well-being every day as you grow older.

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