Lateral-thinking is the number one skill in a creative’s toolkit, which means puzzles can be used as a brain-boosting warm-up, a quick and easy team-building exercise or even a feel-good ego boost (mmmm dopamine) when you’re not having the most free-flowing day.
Here are ten sites offering a wide variety of free lateral brain teasers and logic games to get you in the mood for a powerfully proactive creative day. But first, are you a creative superhero? Well, riddle me this, Batman:
“A man walks into a bar, and asks the bartender for a drink of water. The bartender pulls out a gun, points it at the man, and cocks it. The man pauses, before saying 'Thank you' and leaving. What happened?” *
1. Google and Apple Interview Riddles
GPuzzles is an epic puzzle resource offering interview tasks as used by Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and loads more, for free.
2. Brain Teasers with added Manga Drama
Situational lateral thinking story tasks jazzed up with cool Manga artwork courtesy of Animeyume.com.
3. Lateral Thinking for Highly Visual Minds
Lots of designer-friendly puzzles with briefs like "Can you make a square out of these five pieces? You're allowed to cut one piece in half, but the others have to be used as they appear," plus loads of others on this vast banquet of puzzlement via Puzzles.com.
4. The Thinking Creative’s ‘Catchphrase’
Word Juxtapoz is an easy to use (but not easy to solve) site that’s less about the story, and more like TV’s second most excellent gameshow, Catchphrase.** Try these Ttpographic puzzles, one and these visual ones.
5. Lateral Thinking, Homicide Cop Style
Get your Jimmy McNulty hat on with Brain Food and investigate out these somewhat morbid party puzzles: warning: seriously bloodthirsty body count!
6. Riddle Me This, Creative Crusader
Loads of short but taxing riddles. Again, many of them are quite dark – I Riddler is highly recommended.
7. Fun with Matches
Tricky matchstick puzzles, involving repositioning to make a specific picture in a set number of moves – all thanks to Learning Tree.
8. Veritable Reservoir of Riddles
Riddles of every flavour: lateral, spatial, logic, reasoning, detective, probability, language. You name it, Big Riddles has got it, ready to do your head in!
9. 360° Cognitive Workout. Hup 2,3,4.
Twelve lateral thinking exercises amid a barrage of brain teasers, riddles, perceptual puzzles and word games to challenge your logic as well as creative thinking – check out PuzzlesandRiddles.com.
10. Are you the smartest brain? Prove it.
The Smartest Brain offers these 12 tantalising situational problems that must be attacked from oblique angles to solve them.
Team Building Tips
If you’re going to use lateral-thinking games for team-building, take turns being the quizmaster (who knows the answer, obviously) and the rest of the team shout out Yes/No questions. The quiz master is allowed to give subtle hints, but only on the tougher questions. The riddle is solved when someone hits on the right answer and can explain how they got to it, Sherlock style.
It’s good to remind your amazing creative brain that it's good at thinking outside the box, but as ever, when procrastinating proactively, set a time limit and stick to it.
*With big thanks to Wikipedia. The Answer is the guy who walked in the bar had hiccups.
** The best TV game show is Pointless, for my money. But what do you think?