Do you love word games? There’s a good chance your ancestors did, too. While the beloved crossword puzzle wasn’t invented until 1913, word games have made life more fun—and challenged our brains—through much of human history.

An etched word square puzzle known as the “Sator Square” dates back to ancient Rome; one was found in the ruins of Pompeii. Riddles appeared in medieval poetry books. And word puzzles provided entertainment in the parlors of the Victorian era.

Word games continue to captivate, intrigue and stump humans in the modern era. Just look at the recent invention and takeoff of Wordle, a daily word game created by a Brooklyn software engineer.

Today’s research also finds that the word games that have entertained us for thousands of years may offer brain benefits.

A study on word games in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found a connection between doing word puzzles and cognitive measures including:

  • Focus
  • Attention
  • Information processing
  • Executive function
  • Memory

Study participants who did word puzzles most frequently got the highest cognitive scores. Those who did word puzzles daily or more than once a day scored the best, while those who never or occasionally completed games scored lowest.

So it may pay off to add word puzzles to your daily to-do list, or to do them more frequently if you’re already an avid puzzler. Here are two word games to get you started today.

In Dovetailed Words, you’ll untangle two related words that are intermingled in one string of letters. In Bull’s-Eye Letter, you’ll figure out which one single letter can be added to the scrambled letters in each section to create words.

dovetailed words

Were you able to solve it? Click here to double check your answer.

bull's eye letter 1

Were you able to solve it? Click here to double check your answer.

Did you give these brain teasers a shot? Comment and let us know how you did!

Are word puzzles like these a part of your daily routine? If so, we’d love to hear whether you feel they offer brain benefits.