5 Smartphone Activities Better Than ‘Candy Crush Saga’

There’s no doubt about it, games like Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans are fun, but they can wind up feeling like a waste of time. There’s nothing wrong with having fun, of course, but why not multitask by doing something that’s both fun and enriching?

Here are a handful of apps for phones and tablets that are not only fun to use, but they can help you achieve real-life goals, too. Whether you want to learn an instrument, get in shape, or find a mate, these apps will help you do those things, while offering a dose of fun.

1. Zombies, Run!

You don’t have to look hard to find an exercise app on an app store, but the one you find probably won’t have zombies in it. This app encourages you to run by making it seem like zombies are hot on your tail. The fiction plays out over a series of missions, with actors and sound effects that create a world overrun by the undead. You represent a runner who sets off to collect supplies to build up your base.

Between missions, the app plays music from your phone, so it’s like the best of all worlds: A radio play, a “collect-a-thon” workout game, and a music app all rolled into one. There’s no better way to get in shape and give your imagination a workout, too. Try it here for Android or here for iOS.

2. Memrise

This fun educational app features way more languages than you could learn in a lifetime, including Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, and even Klingon and Dothraki. Its ambitious promise is that it can help you learn 44 words per hour, bulking up your language skills in record time.

And because some people learn better with visual cues and others learn by rote repetition, the app comes equipped with games suited to all kinds of learning styles. It even recognizes how you learn best and adapts its presentation to your style. Pretty smart.

So instead of earning pointless achievements in a game like Candy Crush Saga, you end up learning actual valuable information. Give it a try here for Android and here for iOS.

3. DragonBox Algebra

I think we can all agree that algebra can be a tough subject to wrap your mind around. This ingenious app starts off looking like a puzzle game that has you manipulate shapes to progress. As you play, the idea remains the same, but the shapes are slowly replaced with symbols and numbers. Before you know it, you’re solving real algebra equations.

The game comes in two different flavors, one for kids ages 5 and up, and another for the 12 and older crowd. That’s right: DragonBox can teach your 5-year-old how to solve algebra equations. Pretty neat, right? Try it out here for Android or here for iOS.

4. Tinder

If you’ve been out of the dating pool for a few years, you may not know exactly what the deal is with Tinder. In short, it’s an app that makes finding a date fun.

When you create an account, you upload some pictures of yourself and link your Facebook account. Then it offers up a nearly endless stream of pictures of nearby people you may be interested in dating. You simply swipe their picture to say whether you’re interested or not. Then, if you both show interest in each other, you can use the app to send messages.

Swiping to find a date isn’t all that different from swiping to match candy, right? But if you just might find your future spouse, Tinder’s probably a better use of your time. Try it out here for Android or here for iOS.

5. Piano Tutor

If you’ve always wanted to pull a Beethoven and learn to play the piano but never have the time, this app can offer a great introduction. Even if you don’t have a keyboard to plug into it, it can teach you a surprising number of the fundamentals through the games offered in the app.

With four game modes that make learning fun, the app can help you learn to read sheet music, practice your rhythm, test your pitch recognition, and play songs. And if you have a MIDI keyboard, you can plug it into your iPhone or iPad to play the games on a real keyboard. Grab this app on iOS here.

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