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The City Journals

Five Apps and Online Games to Keep Your Mind Sharp During Quarantine

Mar 19, 2020 11:40AM ● By Justin Adams

Afraid your kid will rot their brain with too much screen time during self-isolation? Here are a few games that will actually keep your minds sharp. (Photo via pxfuel.com)

By Justin Adams | [email protected]

With public schools closed and many parents working from home for the foreseeable future, many Utah families have a lot more free time on their hands than usual. Parents will probably be hearing a lot of, ‘What can I do?’ from their kids. To help answer that question, we compiled a list of a few apps and online games that are addictively fun, but won’t rot your brain. 

Lightbot 

Lightbot is an app for Apple and Android devices that teaches basic coding concepts like commands and loops. It starts off easily enough that Elementary-aged students can handle it, but progresses in difficulty to the point where high school students can find a daunting challenge. 

Little Alchemy

Little Alchemy is a game that tests users’ creative thinking skills as they combine “elements” like air, earth, fire and water to create new ones. Combining fire and water, for example, creates steam. Combine that steam with the earth element to get a geyser. It’s an open-ended test of ingenuity as you create buildings, weather and even life itself. You can find the game on the Apple and Google Play Store, as well as a browser version at www.littlealchemy.com.

GeoGuessr

GeoGuessr is a browser-based game that challenges one’s geographic knowledge and investigative skills. It utilices Google Maps’ Street View feature, as it places you in a random location somewhere in the world. Though it doesn’t tell you where it is. Your job is to move up and down the streets of your mystery location, gathering clues to help locate yourself, anything from license plates and flags to street names and the language on signs. Once you have a rough idea of where you might be, you drop a pin on a map and make your guess, then earn points based on how close you are. There are also different modes so you can limit it to just the United States or major metropolitan areas to make it easier. You can play the game at www.geoguessr.com

Sporcle

If you like trivia games but apps like Trivia Crack drive you crazy with how many ads you have to click through just to play, then you should definitely check out Sporcle. It’s a website (www.sporcle.com)  with tens of thousands of trivia quizzes on every subject from pop culture and history to sports and geography. There’s even plenty of quizzes for the kids too, like trying to name every one of the 151 original Pokemon, or trying to name the Disney movie based on visual clues. Double the fun by going head to head with a family member by doing the same quiz at the same time. 

WikiRaces 3

Have you ever found yourself clicking through a seemingly endless spiral of Wikipedia articles at two in the morning and wound up on an article about something completely random, and then think to yourself, “How did I get here?” Well, this app turns that process into a competition. It gives you a random Wikipedia entry to start with, as well as a target entry. Your job is to click through the links of Wikipedia to try to reach the target. It’s a good practice in relational thinking and (depending on how fast you’re trying to go) you might also pick up some trivia knowledge along the way. You can either play solo, against your friends and family locally or solo, if you want to take your time.