2/3/2022 | By Annie Tobey

Perhaps you’ve seen Facebook or other social media shares of a small stack of mysterious colored blocks. Or maybe you’ve heard some buzz about the new word game craze, Wordle. If you haven’t yet tried this free, popular puzzle, I’m here to tell you how to play Wordle and why – especially for older adults – the game can be beneficial for brain health.

What is Wordle?

Wordle is an online puzzle that challenges users to guess a five-letter word by confirming correct letters and eliminating incorrect letters and placements. After reaching the end of the puzzle, users are given the option to “share” their results with others, making it a light and easy way to connect with friends and family.

Everyone plays the same word each day, and a new word is posted daily.

Wordle’s best features

  • Wordle is not addictive. Have you ever found yourself playing one game over and over again? “Just one more time,” you may say after many rounds of Solitaire or Tetris (once my guilty pleasure)? Wordle’s one-word-per-day format means that you can’t keep playing. You must turn your attention elsewhere, then wait till a new day.
  • Wordle is free and free of ads. (As of this post, the game has been purchased by the New York Times, which pledges to keep the game free – initially.)
  • The game is not timed. There’s no stressful time clock ticking away. You can get up, let your mind mull over the puzzle, fix lunch, or take care of other matters of business or fun. Your puzzle will be waiting for you when you return (as long as you don’t close the web page.) And if you share your results, no one will know if it took you two minutes or two days.
  • You’re not competing against the world. Your score doesn’t compare you with other people’s scores. It’s simply your own.
  • You can share your score if you choose. I’m on a regular text chain with about half-dozen friends. We share our scores, but we keep it light and noncompetitive.
  • It isn’t purely a matter of skill. Even though everyone is playing the same word, the score can reflect luck. Wordle only accepts real words, so every time you guess a word, you’ve taken a successful step – which could have been the right word.
  • You can play on many devices, such as a computer, smartphone or tablet, without downloading an app.
  • How to play Wordle is simple. You can start playing right away.

Why should I play Wordle?

  • Playing puzzles and word games provides one way to support brain health, for people of all ages.
  • If you choose to share results, the social engagement helps protect against loneliness, which, especially in older adults, has been linked to higher rates of depression and cognitive decline. If you find yourself isolated, such as for health or disability, this virtual method of connecting can help fill your social void.
  • Since high stress can be unhealthy and relaxation can be beneficial, Wordle’s low-stress, untimed format offers a more relaxing form of brain play.
  • Plus, it’s fun!

Related: Keep your brain sharp at any age!

How to Play Wordle

  • Go to After a one-time instruction page, you’ll go to a blank grid.
  • On the game page, use your mouse to click on the keyboard at the bottom of the page to type a 5-letter word. Press ENTER on the web page keyboard. (Hint: start with a word using common letters.)
  • Wordle will color code the letters you chose. The colors will tell you:
    a. Dark gray: These letters are not in the word of the day.
    b. Gold: These letters are in the word of the day but not in the right place.
    c. Green: These letters are in the word and in the right place.
  • Notice that the on-screen keyboard indicates which letters have been eliminated (dark gray) as well as the word-of-the-day green and gold letters.
  • Next, use the process of elimination to figure out what five-letter word(s) might work:
  • Enter a new five-letter word.
    • Don’t use the dark gray letters again,
    • Keep the green letter(s) in their places, and
    • Move the gold letter(s) to a different spot.
  • Continue until you’ve guessed correctly or completed the sixth word.
  • If you want to share your results, simply click on the green SHARE button. Then go to social media, text messenger, or email and click to paste. Wordle shares a diagram of your results using color-coded boxes. It will not share your statistics – how many times you’ve played, your win percentages, or your streak (how many times in a row you’ve played).

Some bandwagons aren’t worth riding. This one is, so now that you know how to play Wordle, climb aboard!

Annie Tobey

Annie Tobey has been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years. As editor of BOOMER magazine, she explored a diversity of topics of particular interest to adult children of seniors. When she’s not writing, she can be found running the trails or enjoying a beer with friends.

Annie Tobey