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The NYT Games are “Mental Yoga” for Students

Image Courtesy Of The New York Times
Image Courtesy Of The New York Times

After ‘Wordle’ was bought by the New York Times in Jan. 2022 and became a part of a group of games on the Times’ website, more and more people have engaged in the daily brain games. The number of people on the app each day nearly tripled from October 2022 to October 2023, from 886,000 to 2,615,333 people averaging on the app daily.  

These statistics seem to align with the student body at LFHS, as there has been more buzz around the school halls about the games in the last year. They are a fun brain break during a long day at school and a supplementary tool to make you think a little more challenging every day. The New York Times says that “solving crossword puzzles is like mental yoga – both challenging and relaxing at the same time.”

Social sciences teacher Mrs. Kyrias has her students take around five minutes on block days to play the games, specifically ‘Wordle’ and ‘Connections,’ as their break during a day of extended classes.Wordle is a game where you have six guesses to determine a five-letter word with clues along the way, and ‘Connections’ gives you 16 words, four groups of four words, that you need to differentiate into their respective categories. 

Image Courtesy Of The New York Times

Kyrias says she “doesn’t want students walking around on their phones” while on a break from class, so she finds that taking a few extra minutes to do something fun and somewhat educational with the class works well on those days. 

“The kids need some kind of break, so this is a good way to make sure kids won’t take a long time going to the Grind,” Kyrias said. “This is a good in class break that students enjoy. Most of them are doing it throughout the day anyway, so they typically save it for that class period when we do it altogether.”

Kyrias is one of the only teachers who allot the break on block days to these brain puzzles, but she’s not the only teacher at the school who doesn’t like students leaving the classroom and walking around the halls while other classes may be working. Many teachers allow students to leave for 5-7 minutes on block days as a “break” from academics, which often turns into a more extended period of students roaming the halls, ordering from the grind, or staying out of the room longer than the amount of time given. 

Rather than allowing students to cause a commotion in the halls, giving an in-class break is how Kyrias gives her students the break they need while not disturbing other classes in session. Dean Mrs. Clegg says that she “doesn’t think that a break is necessary in all classes,” such as electives where you’re moving around or science classes with a lab, but “it’s to the teacher’s discretion” whether or not there should be a set time for a break. 

“When we initially came up with the block period schedule, the idea is that you would have more of a ‘brain break’ rather than letting classes out of the room for 5 minutes,” Clegg said. “It’s more of an opportunity to either get out of their seats for a few minutes or do something other than classwork for that time.” 

Clegg also said that she understands that it would be hard “to sit for 80 minutes straight” in one subject. Students have reflected on this. 

The NYT puzzles are already being played around the school by students in all grade levels and all types of classes, whether it’s just ‘Wordle,’ or other games the site has to offer, namely ‘Connections,’ ‘Daily Mini,’ and ‘Spelling Bee.’ What started as a crossword puzzle in the Times newspaper in 1942 became modernized by Joseph Kahn, executive editor of the paper in the 1990s. 

He said the ‘Games’ page on the NYT site has “mindful games for curious readers,” and refers to them as “brain teaser games for smart people who want a challenge in the course of the day.” Junior Raina Vora agrees that ‘Wordle’ is a “challenge,” she says that when she takes the time to play the games, they’re a “fun break to her day.”

The current selection of games has a little bit of everything, but the Times is committed to keeping the games up to date and fresh, saying that they will “continue to make new games our players will be passionate about.” The “experts” that create these games will continue to keep people engaged in whatever the future of the NYT games holds.

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About the Contributor
Reese Harper
Reese Harper, Staff Writer
Reese Harper is a junior at Lake Forest High School and a first-year staff writer for The Forest Scout. She is a dedicated third-year member of the school’s Varsity Dance Team, and is excited for the year ahead after her team placed 1st at IHSA State Championships last year. She enjoys spending her free time with her friends and family.
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    MollyFeb 28, 2024 at 11:26 am

    Great article!! I love all the NYT games!

    Reply