25 ways to spend these summer months without NBA basketball

Jul 17, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; The Portland Trail Blazers pose for photos after winning the NBA Summer League Championship game by defeating the New York Knicks 85-77 at Thomas & Mack Center. Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 17, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; The Portland Trail Blazers pose for photos after winning the NBA Summer League Championship game by defeating the New York Knicks 85-77 at Thomas & Mack Center. Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ashley Saldarriaga teaches English language arts and math to a second-grade class during the summer, Thursday, July 7, 2022, at Naples Park Elementary in Naples, Fla.CCPS earns an A-rating as a school district, July 7, 2022
Ashley Saldarriaga teaches English language arts and math to a second-grade class during the summer, Thursday, July 7, 2022, at Naples Park Elementary in Naples, Fla.CCPS earns an A-rating as a school district, July 7, 2022 /

23. Mathdoku

I’ve always had a weird soft spot for simple, somewhat mindless games. I have thousands of hours in Peggle. I once held a world record in Bejeweled 3. Mining in Minecraft just for the sake of it is a pleasant experience. However, none of these activities are quite as enjoyable for me as Mathdoku.

Mathdoku is also called KenKen, but it’s called mathdoku on my phone, so that’s what I’m going to call it. Unlike Steam, my phone does not calculate time played, so I can’t give you an estimate for exactly how long I’ve had the app open for. I probably should be happy for that, actually. But there’s a data point missing here, and for that I’m sorry.

Mathdoku is like Sudoku in that you have a grid that needs to be filled with numbers. One of each number for the grids side-size in both columns and rows. Unlike Sudoku, however, there is no little box that needs all the numbers as well. The size of the grid can also vary. (I like 7×7). Finally, you determine where the numbers go by doing math instead of just filling in blanks.

This is better. Unlike just counting and crossing out options like in Sudoku, in Mathdoku you get to see numbers interact. You learn to do quick math in your head. You get to appreciate the uniqueness of prime numbers in a whole new way and come to appreciate them. It’s just an all-around lovely experience that you can pull up on your phone, do for a bit, and put down feeling like you just did a smart-person thing.

I recommend it.