Most people would find the phrase “educational games” to be an oxymoron. By definition, aren’t games supposed to be fun?

It turns out, many people don’t realize that their favorite games are secretly teaching them problem solving and critical thinking skills. Add some of these educational games to your next game night to get your brain working while you’re busy having a good time.

1. Sudoku Puzzles

educational gamesEven though they only involve counting to nine, Sudoku puzzles are a great working-memory training. The popular games involve solving how to include the numbers one through nine in each box, row, and column. But when you’re making a move, you have to think three or four steps ahead to make sure it will be the correct solution.

While science hasn’t proven that doing Sudoku puzzles will improve your brain, some believe it can generate new brain cells and ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s. Worst case scenario, these educational games will get your brain working — and may even prove to be quite calming and satisfying to solve.

“It’s testing something you’ve probably not used any time in your life,” Thomas Snyder, Ph.D., told Everyday Health. “It may turn out that you enjoy it and may turn out that you don’t, but you’ll be stimulating your brain in a new way.”

Download a free app on your phone and play Sudoku while standing in line or waiting for the bus.