The brain

Your workday offers endless interruptions, delays, or just a few minutes of break, which aren’t long enough to plan an escape but you don’t want to sit staring at your fingernails. That’s why games like FreeCell and Farmville are so popular, despite being the electronic equivalent of pouring NyQuil directly onto your brain. You couldn’t cripple your own productivity harder without using a sledgehammer. So where can you find some better games? Well, being honest the above “fingernail-staring” pastime is significantly better than Facebook, and might even prepare you for a future career as a manicurist, but we’ve found a few more websites to spend a few minutes while exercising your brain instead of anesthetizing it.

Archimedes Laboratory Even the name is seriously smart, offering an array of brain-teasers as well as occasional competitions and a selection of essays into the nature of the mind. You’re smarter from just reading a sentence like that, never mind the essays themselves!

Archimedes Shield Puzzle

Archimedes Shield Puzzle

Anvari An alternative set of riddles. They’ll only work once, and the questioner displays quite an insulting tone, but they’re real classics! Try them, and make sure to answer before scrolling to see the answers!

BestCrosswords An effectively infinite number of the classic brain-bender. Focusing on vocabulary and verbal skills, and if you didn’t know that please don’t try them, this site adds new puzzles far faster than you’ll ever complete them.

Crosswords

Crosswords are always entertaining, and now you're not at the mercy of the daily paper.

BrainBuilder Promises to not only improve your mental skills but proves it by tracking your progress. A free 7-day trial lets you test their trials, including unique exercises in auditory tests.

BrainFlex — Allows you to twist your brain on-the-go with unique WorkSheet. They start out simple but soon ask odd questions, forcing you to think differently to complete them.

Brain-fun — Puzzles based on those most intelligent of characters the fiendish numbers. A library of ridiculously challenging number-crunchers for the calculator jockey.

Brain Metrix Offers an array of more scientific sounding games, measuring your brain’s adaptability and reflex speed.

Braingle Boasts an archive of riddles as well as the standard interactive puzzles, meaning they’ll keep your cortex ticking over even when you’re offline.

The Cerebrals Society — They aren’t out to help the world; they’re out to test it. This High-Q club offers a few seriously smart tests to test for admission to their seriously elite ranks, but they’re free to take and a great way to kick your brain’s behind for a few minutes!

EasySurf Works on your memory (not necessarily intelligence, but you always feel stupid when you forget something), and adds the oft-ignored benefit of learning to count cards. WARNING: do not count cards in Vegas that’s the opposite of intelligent.

FreeBrainGames It isn’t nearly so modern as its name might suggest, but look at reality TV modern doesn’t necessarily mean smart. Classics from the famous Chess to the unknown Hare & Hounds are available to start your head working.

HAPPYneuron A paysite, like any truly smart system it offers a free trial (meaning you’ll get a whole week out of them before you have to look elsewhere.) Their program can be tuned to your personal details and goals.

Happy Neuron Data Input

Customized tests target your intelligence.

Logic Mazes They aren’t deathtraps built for Buck Rogers by Professor Robotron they’re challenges to find the right path based on rules instead of walls (or more commonly, hedges). You won’t find these challenges on many other sites, they’re very involving, and there won’t be any frantic clicking to attract attention to your desk!

Lumosity A seriously smart system, which is kind of what you want from a brain trainer. A free 7-day trial allows you to try out their exercises, but what’s really useful is the records of your scores see yourself improve and try to beat your high scores to get smarter!

Physics Games All the rage now that computers can do far more than work out how a block should beep (especially since, outside games, blocks don’t ever beep). This site offers an array of physics Flash games, but it’ll require some self control for you to choose the intelligent options instead of the “EXPLODE EVERYTHING!” entertainments!

Play With Your Mind That’s both great advice and a great place to do it. The constantly updated front page means you’ll always be trying new things itself an essential ingredient for healthy thinking and an immense archive means you won’t run out.

Professor Tangent It might look like it was programmed in the 90′s, because it probably was, but it offers some serious cerebellum-twisters. An ideal place to pick up a puzzle to chew over a bathroom break, and peppered with quotes which will at least make you sound smarter.

Schoolhistory Don’t be fooled by the name. It might sound like something you’ve left behind, but that’s truer than you think. You don’t remember any of the interesting history, and if you don’t believe me try out a few of these fascinating quizzes. Finding out what the Ancient Egyptians did will be far more interesting than what your friends twittered about lunch.

School History Egyptian Test

School History Egyptian Test

Smart-Kit An excellent central hub for hundreds of smart games, arranged in categories like “Physics Puzzle” (something Flash makes much more fun than in school) and “Time Management.” You’ll find something for everyone.

Flood Fill Game

Flood Fill Game

Sporcle Offers entertainment for the table quiz talent, an extremely wide range of trivia tests which will arm your team for the next challenge! (Because being seen as smart is even better than the real thing!)

Zuzzle You’ll never be stuck on this site with the excellent  ”Random Puzzle” link, throwing up an immediate and utterly unknown kind of puzzle, aka the best kind of puzzle.

Image credit: ktsimage / iStockphoto

###