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Online Games can provide a welcome distraction
Lifestyle

7 Online Games and Puzzles That Help Me Reset My Thoughts

Last Updated on

April 23rd, 2024 10:18 am

It’s well known that people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) like myself struggle to regulate focus. But contrary to what you might think about our selective attention spans and impulse control, our ADHD brains benefit from playing games as a distraction from the real-world anxiety.

So here are 7 of my favourite online games for people with neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD, that improve my cognitive skills in real time while helping me press the reset button and mean I can carry on with my day.

Cards, Universe and Everything (CUE)

I discovered CUE in January, despite it being over 4 years old now, and I think I found the perfect neurodivergent game. They just seem to have nailed everything I want in a relaxing game.

The game has two primary facets. For the collectors, you can collect sets of cards from different albums, each card having different rarities. You can also fuse and craft new cards from a surplus of cards that you can’t get rid of through trading with other members (Pokemon, anyone?)

But there’s also the game play side. Here’s how the standard gameplay works:

You curate your own deck of 18 cards (or you can use deck codes that others have created), ready to battle another player.

Each card has energy and power metrics, and in most cases a modifier. You can play up to three cards each turn, but you’re only allowed to use a certain amount of energy each turn. You can also skip a turn to build energy if you want!

Whoever has the most power wins the turn. There are three turns in a round, and it’s best of 5 rounds in a match.

Rule changes and tweaks each week keep the game fresh, so it never gets boring. And the modifiers make the game super interesting!

CUE is available on Android and iOS. Register here and use the code 8XW-NM8-8K4 to get some free stuff!

Solitaire

Ever since I was a kid I’ve always enjoyed classic games such as Solitaire (even in the Windows 3.1 days!). For the uninitiated, it’s a one-player card game where you have to arrange cards by suit or rank in a set order, but with strict rules that can’t be broken, such as how many cards you can move at a time.

I find Solitaire helps me reset because it’s so simple but also requires enough thought to keep my brain stimulated. The average game also takes about ten minutes to play, so it’s a nice break when I’m in-between writing articles or menial daily tasks like chores.

Logic Puzzles

Logic puzzles will forever be a favourite of mine, and not just because I grew up with a dad obsessed with them. When I’m feeling bored or under stimulated and need to really put my brain to the test, I move towards logic puzzles to keep me sane.

Logic puzzles come in many different guises. But my favourite has to be logic grid puzzles such as nonograms or zebra puzzles, where numbers or words are used to give clues to answer a set of circumstances.

In the example clue “John does not wear a red or green hat, but finished one place behind David”, suppose you already know David won the race from a previous clue. Then John must have finished second in the race.

Idle Clicker Games

Idle clicker games are a type of game that requires minimal interaction from the player. I find them perfect for relaxing as they provide a simple and repetitive gameplay loop that can help improve focus and attention.

In these games, the primary objective is to accumulate resources or currency by clicking on a specific object or area. As you accumulate more resources, you can unlock upgrades and bonuses that automate the resource collection process.

The beauty of idle clicker games is that you can progress even when you’re not actively playing the game. This means you can leave the game running in the background while attending to other tasks or taking short breaks. It provides a sense of accomplishment and progression without the need for constant attention.

Some popular examples of idle clicker games include “Cookie Clicker,” where players click on a cookie to earn cookies and unlock upgrades, and “AdVenture Capitalist,” where players start as a humble lemonade stand owner and gradually expand their business empire.

Three-in-a-Row

Anyone who is familiar with the classic three-in-a-row (Hello Candy Crush!) will know how addictive these video games can be! I tend to be more selective about when I play these kinds of brain games because I get so engrossed in playing them. But when I’ve got a spare hour or two to kill, there’s nothing I enjoy more than getting lost in a game of three-in-a-row!

The aim of this matching game is to try and get three of the same item in a row, but you can only do so with adjacent moves. In most versions of the game, these pieces are then replaced with new variations, often dropping in from the top of the screen to fill the gaps.

Crosswords

As a writer I’ve always been fascinated with words. And, for those who love a challenge like me, you can’t beat a good crossword. Crosswords come in all levels of difficulty, so they’re great for anyone wanting to test their general knowledge as well as their logic skills.

If you’re not as clued up on the clues (no pun intended) however, then you can play the more logical adaptation called Letter Logic that takes a crossword grid and gives you the answers. But you have to work out where they fit on the grid based on the letters in the word!

Hidden Object Puzzles

Hidden object puzzles are my go-to for when I’m feeling particularly anxious and need to focus without being overstimulated. They require enough attention skills to shift my focus to something more calming, but at the same time don’t need as much brain power as something like a crossword.

That’s also why they’re great video games for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as well as adults. My kids in particular are very visual learners and always enjoy looking for clues, so this is great for developing their problem-solving skills! Plus, hide and seek is one of their favourite active games to play around the house!

Something for Everyone

The great thing about these puzzle games is that there’s something for people of all cognitive abilities and interests. So if you’re ever finding yourself bored, distracted or anxious, why not give one of these games a try and see if you can find your reset button to be even more productive and relaxed than ever!

FAQ

How do Online Games Benefit People with ADHD?

Online games have emerged as a beneficial tool for people dealing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These interactive platforms can enhance various cognitive abilities, such as attention span, focus, and memory—all of which are often challenging for those with ADHD.

Brain games, like the ones created by CogniFit, are particularly effective, targeting symptoms such as poor working memory, limited impulse control, and difficulties in task-switching. Research shows that cognitive training through these online experiences can yield lasting improvements in ADHD symptoms, even after gameplay ceases.

Games with a focus on selective attention can be instrumental. They encourage players to concentrate on essential details, disregarding extraneous stimuli, which mirrors daily tasks that may otherwise be overwhelming.

Video games designed to enhance brain function can inadvertently assist in honing concentration skills, all within a fun and engaging digital environment. These games often include activities that require sustained attention and cognitive control, which can positively impact academic performance and social interactions.

Moreover, the accessibility of these games on various devices ensures that individuals with physical limitations or those who prefer to use a mobile device can equally benefit.

Here’s a quick breakdown of cognitive abilities that can be improved through online games designed for ADHD:

  • Attention Span
  • Selective Attention
  • Cognitive Function
  • Impulse Control
  • Executive Functions
  • Cognitive Flexibility
  • Hand-Eye Coordination

These elements form the core of how online games act as a therapeutic aid, enhancing both cognitive and social skills for people with ADHD.

How Long Should I Play Games For Online?

When incorporating online games as a tool to aid with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), moderation is key. Although gaming can be beneficial, individuals with ADHD should aim for regulated sessions.

It’s recommended to indulge in these games for about 30 minutes to an hour per day to avoid bad gaming habits such as excessive screen time. Too much time online can lead to diminished returns or potential exacerbation of symptoms.

Consider the following points while planning your gaming routine:

  • Scheduled Breaks: Embed short breaks within gaming sessions to prevent fatigue and maintain focus.
  • Variety of Games: Engage in different types of games to challenge various cognitive skills and keep the experience interesting.
  • Consistent Timing: Play games at a consistent time each day to integrate them seamlessly into your daily routine.
  • Balance with Physical Activity: Complement online gaming with physical exercises to promote overall well-being.

Remember, the primary goal is to enhance attention levels and cognitive function, not to replace physical activity or social interactions. Strike a balance that supports improvements in your daily tasks without compromising other aspects of your life.

What Else Can I Do To Help Improve my Cognitive Functions?

To enhance cognitive functions, especially for individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), integrating brain training games into daily routines can be beneficial. While online games like Sudoku not only sharpen attention and math skills but also boost focus, concentration, learning, and memory, it’s pivotal to explore a variety of such cognitive games.

Designed to be captivating and challenging, these games can lead to real-life behavioral improvements by providing instant feedback and rewards, reinforcing positive patterns.

Additionally, other cognitive games on smartphones and computers are structured to hone language skills, expand vocabulary, and improve grammar and reading comprehension.

The key is to employ AI technology for cognitive tasks that pinpoint specific areas that need reinforcement and select games accordingly. Actively engaging in games that focus on impulse control, inhibitory control, motor skills, executive functions, and cognitive flexibility can elevate attention skills and overall academic performance.

Remember that games should be stimulating, yet not overly complex, to avoid frustration and maintain engagement. Let’s not forget the social aspect—multiplayer games can develop social skills and enhance social interactions, which are equally crucial for individuals with ADHD.

Summary of Cognitive-Enhancing Games Online:

  • Brain Games: Improves cognitive function, attention span
  • Sudoku: Boosts concentration, memory, focus, math skills
  • Cognitive Games: Enhances language skills, vocabulary, grammar, comprehension
  • AI Integrated Games: Targets specific cognitive deficits for personalized improvement
  • Multiplayer Games: Encourages social skills and interactions
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Rob Butler
30-Something Millennial with ADHD and suspected Autistic and Dyspraxic. Thought leader behind this website. Big visions of a better future for everyone, but forgets where he is half the time.Loves Rugby, his kids, and anything silly. Hates U2 and Marmite.

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