A cartoon illustrates a representation of four sample game screens in the Android Play store.

Discover gaming apps

Do you sometimes think about different ways to spend your spare time? Would you like to dive into a word search quietly on your own? Or would you prefer to challenge someone else to a friendly game of chess? If you have a portable electronic device like a tablet computer or smartphone, these options—and more—are right at your fingertips.

The world of online gaming applications (also known as apps) can do many things, including the following:

  • Discover the online world. Finding and playing a game is a way for you to jump right in to the online world.
  • Defeat boredom. Whether you're in the queue at the pharmacy or in the waiting room at the dentist, a gaming app keeps you entertained during boring situations.
  • Learn about something new. Apps introduce you to classic or futuristic games that boost your concentration and memory while getting your mind active.
  • Make connections and have fun! Whether you play with a family member or against a cyber friend, games can be an intergenerational activity that explores your competitive nature or flexes your mental muscle.

Gaming app basics

Most modern tablets and smartphones will support gaming apps. The main difference between devices comes down to operating systems. And if you're playing the same version of an app with someone who is using a different operating system, you should still be able to play together.

iPhones and iPads from Apple use iOS versions of an app while the Android platform supports games on devices made by several companies (including Sony, Samsung, LG, Google and others). However, when you switch from one operating system to another, your experience may be slightly altered. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, most games have a few levels of difficulty, regardless of the operating system or device.

Some apps are free, with ads that display during your playing experience (this is what allows you to enjoy the game without having to pay). In most cases, you can simply close the ad, but you should be careful to do this properly if you're not interested in buying whatever is being sold.

Other apps cost money, although they often allow you to sample the game so you can decide if you would like to purchase it. Buying the full version of a game will allow you to own the app on your device.

If you have never downloaded a game from the App Store or the Google Play Store, just find someone who is familiar with online gaming to download it for you. Make sure to ask the person to show you how to look for more games to your liking in the future.

Games for everyone

Popular games are usually available in dozens of versions. Here are just a few that are worth checking out.

Chess - Play & Learn

This chess app is suitable for beginner and advanced players alike. You can also play a game of chess alone with the Solo Chess feature or learn with interactive lessons.

This app can really help with problem-solving for those of you who can play regularly. 

Where to find it:
Chess - Play & Learn in the App Store (Free with in-app purchases)
Chess - Play & Learn in the Google Play Store (Free with in-app purchases)

Colouring Book for Me

This app is fun if you enjoy creating art. It's an amazing tool that captures your imagination and lets you explore with colours and shapes. Choose the characteristics of your virtual paint brush or pencil and then design your own masterpiece. You can even share your work afterwards.

If you'd rather watch someone else (perhaps a friend, family member or carer) draw, you just sit back and enjoy the experience, and then have a go yourself when you're ready.

Where to find it:
Coloring Book for Me in the App Store (Limited free option with daily picture download)
Colouring Book for me & Mandala in the Google Play Store (Free option with supporting ads)
NOTE: If you have a Windows device, you could use Microsoft Paint.

Jigsaw Puzzle Collection HD

This gaming app uses bright images for the puzzles and allows you to decide how many pieces to create out of a picture (which also determines how easy or difficult the game will be). With the slide of a finger, you can move the pieces across the screen and fit them together.

This game can help you with concentration and memory, and it is a great workout for the mind! 

Where to find it:
Jigsaw Puzzle Collection HD in the App Store (Free with in-app purchases)
Jigsaw Puzzle Collection HD in the Google Play Store (Free daily puzzle with in-app purchases)

Let’s Create! Pottery

Have you ever thrown a clay pot on a wheel? This app lets you create a virtual pot on the potter’s wheel just by moving your fingers. You can then select the colours and designs for the pot. And if you have limited mobility, the app is still fascinating, since it allows you to watch a virtual version of the process, right down to making, colouring and firing the pot. With either option, your creation is sold, and you are then paid with virtual currency which you can use to buy more designs and colours. 

Where to find it:
Let's Create! Pottery HD Lite in the App Store (Free, but paid version offers more features)
Let's Create! Pottery Lite in the Google Play Store (Free with payment options)

Sudoku

This app has many puzzles that range in difficulty and can suit all kinds of players. With a helpful layout, it has a good FAQs section (frequently asked questions) if you require extra support.

Where to find it:
Sudoku in the App Store (Free)
Sudoku Numbers Puzzle in the Google Play Store (Free with in-app purchases)

Unblock Me

This app is described as a classic block puzzle game. You don’t really need to study the different wood blocks to play, as it is more a question of moving them around to see how they fit. This will prove to be another challenge of problem-solving and memory to keep the mind active. It is well designed and easy to use. You can play on your own or compete with others. 

Where to find it:
Unblock Me in the App Store (Free with in-app purchases)
Unblock Me FREE in the Google Play Store (Free with ads)

Word Connect

The goal of this brain training puzzle game is to find words in a table of seemingly random letters. An explanation of the game makes it easier for you to choose your preferred level of difficulty based on your understanding of the rules.

The game is simple to navigate, and you can play it on your own or with others. You can also earn points if you feel like comparing your score. 

Where to find it:
Word Connect in the App Store (Free with in-app purchases)
Word Connect in the Google Play Store (Free with in-app purchases)

More resources

Just remember this: apps are not just games. To learn a bit more about apps associated with specific health issues, here are some links that might be helpful:

There are thousands of apps that can help you do everything from finding your way on public transport to getting the weather report for your upcoming holiday. And if you feel the need to boost your tech skills, this overview of Tech Talk is a good place to start.

To share your experiences with others who have jumped into the world of apps, why not start a discussion on the Jewish Care Interact Forum? If you haven’t registered already, now would be a great time. We'd really appreciate it if you could share your experiences with our online community.

Listen to this page: