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2073334082_860a2270eb You’ve seen the “make your kids love learning!” toys before, right? Things like LeapFrog, and that computer game where you keep the spaceman alive by doing math problems”¦ too fun. Once you hit about 9 years old, though, those games start to walk the fine line between fun and pathetic.

Thankfully, there’s Sporcle – a site full of games that’s the best way to learn cool things, and make it fun, for adults (or really anyone). Sporcle is a site of what it calls “mentally stimulating diversions,” and it’s exactly that – games that are fun, exciting, and actually educational.

There are a ton of different games on the site, most following a similar format. You’ve got a blank list to fill out, and a time limit to do it – when you finish typing a correct answer, it’s automatically added to the list. Name all 50 US states – Go! How about all the elements of the periodic table? Go!

What’s funny is that these games don’t actually sound that much fun- until you start playing. They’re incredibly addicting, and I’m always surprised how hard it is to recall all kinds of similar information all at once. What’s that darn state next to Louisiana? But I did name all 44 US Presidents in 85 seconds (true story). Can you beat me?

Sporcle

The games range over a ton of different categories, from geography to television to religion, and everything in between. There’s a whole range of difficulty levels as well, ranging from the incredibly easy to the unbelievably difficult. The one I’m playing right now is called “The Great Game,” and it asks you to come up with a whole series of things with the word “great” in the title. Wayne Gretzky’s “The Great One” – things like that.

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My favorite part of Sporcle is the “Random Game” button – it’s like StumbleUpon for brain stimulation. Every time you click the button, it picks one of the 1349 games currently on Sporcle for you to play – like maybe the “Crayola Colors” game.

If you start to Sporcle on a regular basis, you might want to create an account. It’ll track your stats for you, and help you figure out just how great you are at naming all the classes offered at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books.

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For the real Sporcle addicts, there’s both a Twitter feed and an RSS feed from Sporcle that updates every time there’s a new game available. The library of games is growing surprisingly fast, and there’s always a new game to be played on the site.

Sporcle’s a pretty dangerous site – I’ve had more than a few occasions of looking at the clock at realizing I just spent three hours trying to name all the corporate logos (Safeway and Atari threw me off) on Sporcle. The way I see it, though, if you’re going to waste some time, and find a fun diversion from all the other things you have to do, why not do it in a way that helps you learn something? That’s Sporcle’s thought, anyway.

I got all 32 NFL teams in 1 minute, 19 seconds. Beat me. Go!

What’s your favorite online game or time-waster?

image credit: damclean

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