Word Puzzles Are Good for Your Brain and Your Grandchild’s too

Research has shown that word puzzles are good for your brain. They’re also good for your grandchild’s brain.

Crossword puzzles, word searches, hangman, and anagrams aren’t just handy ways to keep your grandchild quiet for five minutes, they can also boost their learning. Word puzzles can help reinforce spelling, boost memory, extend vocabulary, and encourage problem-solving and they’re fun for the whole family.

We’ve all read the research that puzzles help maintain cognitive connections and networks in aging brains. Now there’s evidence that word puzzles can improve your grandchild’s processing speed in solving problems faster by learning to think logically and strategically.

Word puzzles can be challenging and require persistence which in itself is a good lesson for children to learn. Overcoming the challenges involved in solving a puzzle helps boost children’s self-confidence and self-esteem.

I’ve seen this firsthand with my 8-year-old granddaughter, Sophia. As soon as she learned to read, I introduced her to my favorite word puzzle, The Jumble. My late husband and I solved The Jumble every morning for 50 years.

I call them “unscramblers” but they’re also known as anagrams — words that are formed by rearranging the letters of another word. I started Sophia with 3-letter and 4-letter words. For example, EOLV can be rearranged to form LOVE.

On our Zoom calls, I type a scrambled word in the chat and she replies with her guess. Then she gives me a scrambled word to unscramble. She’s now able to unscramble 8-letter words and smiles with pride when she figures out the answer. The more you practice, the better your brain gets at seeing the answer.

Solving word puzzles runs in my family. My 100-year-old mom does The New York Times crossword puzzle every day. She and her dad used to solve crossword puzzles together when she was growing up. Last year my 19-year-old grandchild and I started playing Wordle every day. We each solve Wordle on our own and then text each other our scores at the end of the day. It’s a great way for me to stay connected to this busy college sophomore. In addition to solving Wordle every day, I do four other word puzzles: Jumble, Quordle, Play 4, and Lexigo.

If you’re looking for a way to have fun and connect with your grandchildren while improving their cognitive skills and yours, try some word puzzles. When you lose yourself in word games, it’s the perfect way to relax and be stress-free for you and your grandchild.

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