Just because you’re sheltering in place during COVID-19, doesn’t mean you have to do without fun and games. Online games not only help you stay connected with others; research tells us they can keep your mind sharp and bring you daily doses of joy during this especially stressful time.

The online game universe can be mind-boggling, so we put together this list of popular games that you can play for free, ranging from those that sharpen your cognitive skills to those that are simply an easy and enjoyable way to pass the time. All you need is an internet connection and perhaps a favorite healthy snack at the ready. Game on!

Mahjong

Mahjong is played using tiles, and it has become a popular worldwide hit online. It’s great for older adults who enjoy playing games with others, as most versions of mahjong require multiple players. Mahjong supports memory, planning and calculation skills

We love: FreeOnlineMajongGames.net

Scrabble

Whoever gets tired of playing this popular word-based board game? Hours of fun for all ages, especially for those who love strategy and language. Call up the grandkids and invite them to play, too!

We love: Pogo

(You’ll find other popular board games for free here as well)

Words with Friends

Think of Words with Friends as a modern take on Scrabble that encourages friendly competition with friends and family. Download the app on your computer or smartphone and start boosting your vocabulary in a one-on-one challenge against fictional characters, or get your competitive streak on with “Lightning Duels”.  Personalized daily goals keep you engaged and learning.

We Love: Words with Friends 2

Chess

Though chess is traditionally a game that requires a partner and a chess set, the internet makes it perfectly easy to hop online and play any time. This timeless favorite stimulates all parts of the noggin!

We love: Chess.com

Protecting your privacy and staying safe online

  • Many sites will ask you to create an account using your email before they’ll let you play a game for free. We recommend creating a new one that you’ll only use for online gaming so you can keep your gaming email and your personal emails separate.
  • If a gaming site asks you to create an account, choose a username that keeps your identity anonymous, and create a secure password of 12 characters or longer that you only use for gaming (example:  firecracker2067#). DO NOT use the same password you use for your email or banking accounts.
  • Avoid clicking on ads or downloading anything from a game site to your computer; it could be malware. For example, if a game requires you to download a “Flash” update, download it directly from Adobe.
  • Do not give out your personal information to another gamer you meet online, including your last name, age or location.
  • Note that some free games will allow you to play for free until you reach a certain level and then will require a payment for you to continue the game.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to pass time and have fun – and the online versions allow you to move pieces and build images right on your computer screen.

We love: TheJigsawPuzzles.com

Crossword

Feed your brain with as many crossword puzzles as your heart desires. Phone, FaceTime or Zoom in your friends and family to work on them together. As they say: A crossword a day keeps the doctor away.

We love: AARP’s Daily Crossword Puzzle

Memory

Enjoy a whole new world of memory card games by taking this classic online. Pick your desired level of difficulty and choose from pictures, photographs, people, flowers, letters, animals, and more.

We love: Memozor

Tetris

Tetris was known as the original tile-matching puzzle video game in the 80s, and now you can visit their website for a full variety of arcade-style games, word games and puzzle games.

Go to: Tetris

 

Candy Crush Saga

Loved by millions of folks of all ages across the world, Candy Crush Saga involves swapping two adjacent candies among several on the gameboard to make a row or column of at least 3 matching-colored candies. The more candy you “crush”, the higher your score. Warning: Mind-stimulating but highly addictive!

Go to: Candy Crush Saga

(you can also play through Facebook or download the App on your mobile phone)

Golf Clash

Ready to get on the green? Golf Clash is our go-to simulation game for golf enthusiasts and newbies alike. You can play solo, 1v1, with multiple players worldwide, or connect your account with Facebook or Google+ to play with your friends on your PC for free.

Go to: Golf Clash