3 free daily word games to get your brain going in the morning

By Doug Aamoth

June 19, 2022

3 free daily word games to get your brain going in the morning

I’m in my mid-40s—not technically old by relative standards, but I’m definitely experiencing some wear and tear. It’s more pronounced on the physical side, but there’s a bit of mental sluggishness as well, especially in the morning.

So I’ve taken to a nice little routine to get my synapses firing. Just like I need to stretch a bit to get my creaky knees limbered up, I find this 20 minutes or so of brain gaming to be a good way to build a little mental momentum.

Here’s my routine.


If you haven’t played Wordle by now, I’m not entirely sure how to convince you except to say that it’s a nice few minutes to look forward to each day. It’s like mental comfort food.

As you may already know, the goal is to guess a five-letter word. Each time you make a guess, correct letters are revealed: yellow if they’re correct but in the wrong place within the word; green if they’re correct and in their proper place. You have six guesses to get the word.

Please play it. Join us. And if you’re sick of Wordle but like the idea, or you can’t get enough of Wordle, check out these great alternatives.

USA Today Crossword

Here’s what I love about the USA Today crossword: It’s in the Goldilocks zone of crossword puzzles. It’s not too hard, not too easy; not too long, not too short. If you’re decent at crossword puzzles, you should be able to buzz through it in less than 10 minutes. By the time you’ve completed it, your brain should be hitting its stride.


I do a lot of crossword puzzles, and I keep coming back to this one again and again.

Letter Boxed

This free New York Times game is one of my new favorites. You start with a square containing three letters along each side for a total of 12 letters. You’re then tasked with creating a series of words, crisscrossing the square and eventually using all 12 letters.

The catch, however, is that you can’t connect letters along the same side of the square: Each subsequent letter must come from a different side than the one before it.


It’s possible to solve these puzzles in two words. I’ve done it only once—good luck!