People have been doing brain training for years – it just used to come under different names like sudoku or crossword puzzles. But from the moment the first brain training games were released on Nintendo, most people started to prefer to challenge themselves digitally. And while the vessel is different, the idea is still essentially the same.
So, how do can we get to the bottom of not only which is the best, but which is the best for you individually? Well, in this article, we hope to pose questions that you can answer, which in turn, will identify what is going to keep you entertained and engaged. We'll also share our favourite free and paid brain training apps for seniors, kids and everyone in between to download on iOS and Android.
Whilst there isn’t too much between these educational and training apps, there are some nuances that are worth considering before diving straight in and downloading, especially if you're going to be paying for your purchase. Here are the top points to mull over.
First things first, you'll need to weigh up the different content features each app offers, and importantly, who they are aimed at. Getting these right will ensure the one you commit to provides you with everything you need to bulk out your brain!
The first factor that you’ll need to consider is the number of games available. Most apps offer a variety of different challenges and puzzles that centre on different areas of the brain such as memory, language, mental agility, maths and focus.
What distinguishes each app in this sense is that they offer these challenges in varying quantities and in different ways – some have just two games with graduating levels, while others have over 45. Depending on how quickly you get bored, it might be worth looking for an app that has greater flexibility in the tests it offers.
The only time we would recommend sticking to one particular challenge is when you know you like that specific type of game. A great example of this is sudoku, which has had many people hooked in recent years. The active working-memory requires a player to think three or four steps ahead, making it a prolific exercise for the noggin.
Another crucial point to think about is the age range. There are different brain training apps designed for different age ranges, which you can choose depending on whether you’re reading this intending to download for an adult or a younger child.
The biggest variation is the level and difficulty of the challenges, which rightly so will be more complex in the adult games than it is in the younger version of these apps.
However, the in-play communication and graphics will be aimed at the respective target audience too, which could quickly become boring if you're too young or grating if you're too old.
Plenty, but not all, brain training apps offer the ability to track your progress. This will show your scores from previous games and continually compare to show you which areas you are excelling in and which you require more practice in. Some even use a health app to explain how your sleep and step count affect your brain training, too.
Of course, this is generally a feature that one will have to pay for, either through a monthly subscription or an additional in-app purchase (more on these later), so they’re going to be more expensive.
That said, many people find these features motivating and it helps to keep them committed to playing, so if you feel you could benefit from the motivation it might be worth a few quid per month.
Aside from the content and features of the app itself, there are a couple of final technical considerations to check out. Here are the two most important, one of which, of course, is how much you are willing to fork out for your new brain builder.
When it comes to brain training apps, most are free, at least initially. This means you can download them and have a little play around on the games they have available. However, they won’t provide you with the full scope of games or how much tracking information they gather.
Instead, this data is often hidden behind a paywall that requires a subscription. These range in price depending on whether you go for a rolling monthly bill or you pay for the whole year. While the big lump sum can be off-putting, if you’re committed to the training it will likely save you a few pennies in the long run.
The other option is a one-off upfront payment, which is less common and typically found within the younger age brain training apps. Generally speaking, apps with this payment option will have a small cost of around £5, so they can be a good way to test the waters.
The final technical aspects to consider is making sure you can actually download and play the app, because, unfortunately, not all apps are universal. This means that some are available on one app market place and not the other, and some are only available on smartphones as opposed to tablets.
There isn’t generally too much of an issue with brain training apps as their programs aren’t that complex and therefore don’t need re-writing too differently. Nonetheless, it’s always worth checking before getting your hopes up!
Now that you’re all clued up on what to look for from a brain training app, let’s take a look at our recommendations. From single-focus children's educational tools to complex tracking apps built for adults, we have something for every cerebrum.
|Number of Games||2, both memory-based|
Logic Art Creativity
|Number of Games||8 game modes|
|Cost||Free, in-app purchases available from 99p-£2.99|
|Number of Games||20|
|Cost||Free, subscriptions from £5.49-£41.99|
|Number of Games||200, all maths-based|
|Cost||One-off £4.99 payment|
|Number of Games||40+|
|Cost||Free, subscriptions from £8.99-£44.99|
|Number of Games||8, all biology-based|
|Cost||One-off £3.99 payment|
|Number of Games||35+|
|Cost||Free, subscriptions from £2.99-38.99|
|Number of Games||1|
|Cost||Free, £4.99 for ad removal|
|Number of Games||100+|
|Cost||Free, subscriptions from £9.99-£23.99|
|Number of Games||45+|
|Cost||Free, subscriptions from £2.99-25.99|
Lumos Labs, Inc.
Kahoot DragonBox AS
Swipea Kids Apps
The Human Body by Tinybop
DragonBox Algebra 5+
Fit Brain Trainer
The Most Comprehensive and Slickest Brain Training App in Town
Probably the Most Advanced Children's Brain Training App Around
A Never-Ending Supply of One of the Most Popular Puzzles on Earth
For Those Who Might Need a Little Extra Motivation
Explore the Invisible Wonders of the Human Body
The Original Brain Training App
A Perfect Example of Game-Based Learning
Only 15 Minutes a Day Could Help You Get in Shape
A Marvellous Mixture of Puzzles and Creativity
A New Twist on a Traditional Pairing Game
|Number of Games||45+||100+||1||35+||8, all biology-based||40+||200, all maths-based||20||8 game modes||2, both memory-based|
|Marketplace||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS|
|Cost||Free, subscriptions from £2.99-25.99||Free, subscriptions from £9.99-£23.99||Free, £4.99 for ad removal||Free, subscriptions from £2.99-38.99||One-off £3.99 payment||Free, subscriptions from £8.99-£44.99||One-off £4.99 payment||Free, subscriptions from £5.49-£41.99||Free, in-app purchases available from 99p-£2.99||Free|
Whether you want to broaden your educational brain training with other apps or you just want to keep it occupied with some fun puzzles and games, we have a few more ideas we think you'll want to get stuck into. Check them out below!
It was hard work narrowing down all the impressive brain training apps to just 10, particularly when we included options for all ages, but we think there is a brilliant selection in our ranking. All that's left for you to do is get involved in one or two and see which one is best at helping you stay sharp.
Author: Lewis Clark
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