free online games to play
Yoga isnt' the only way to bring much-needed calm in our lives. Pop bubbles, slide tiles and shepherd sheep home through games and see your dopamine levels rise. Source: Greg Baker/AFP

The best free online games to play on the internet today have great power. Done right, they not only bring joy and fun but help us chill out too. 

While university life is a special time in our lives, there is no denying that it can also stress us out. From dealing with homework to missing home to worrying about the cost of tuition fees and rent, it can all get very overwhelming, very soon. 

One great way to de-stress is to play online games. Though there has been a constant debate between the benefits and harmful effects of playing online games, they can actually reduce stress and improve mental health.

“It allows you to escape psychologically, have a little bit of psychological detachment from what’s going on around you,” said computer science professor Regan Mandryk from the University of Saskatchewan.

“It helps you relax. It helps you feel like you’re mastering challenges, and it helps you feel like you have control over your environment — which are four main pieces to help you recover from stress.”

Here is a list of the seven best online games to play when you are feeling stressed. The best part is that it is completely free. 

7 free online games to play and de-stress

free online games to play

Racing challenges you to complete a route in the shortest amount of time. Source: Wade Vandervort / AFP

Crazy Grand Prix

If you dream of becoming a Formula One driver, this racing simulation game is for you. Crazy Grand Prix is an F1 racing game where you will get the chance race professionally.

Start off with the practice mode and work your way up to the career mode.

Through the multiplayer mode, you can recruit teammates and race to become the champion, where you will win a monetary prize which can be used to upgrade your racing car. 

Bunny Hop

For those of you who prefer games that are a little more challenging, then this Bunny Hop game is exactly what you need.

In this video game, you take control of a white rabbit jumping along a course trying to collect as many carrots as possible. But be careful to avoid the eagle that is out to get you. 


While it looks like just a game of sliding blocks, 2048 is so much more than that. For this single-player puzzle video game, you have to slide numbered tiles on a grid to combine them to create a tile with the number 2048.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Based on a study by neurologist Judy Willis, this game has been proven to “offer players two of the biggest dopamine boosters.”

They are the power of prediction and an achievable challenge. “The brain loves to make predictions,” Willis said to Popular Mechanics.

“In 2048, every two or four that you move is a prediction—you’re not sure it’s the best thing to do — and the game offers limitless chances to make another prediction.”

2048 is also a game that is challenging but beatable. “‘Achievable challenge’ are the key words,” Willis  said. “That’s what will give you the biggest dopamine boost.”

free online games to play

Shaun the Sheep is a British stop-motion television series and a spin-off of the Wallace and Gromit franchise. Source: Leon Neal/AFP

Home Sheep Home

Home Sheep Home is an exciting game designed by the creators of the “Shaun the Sheep” show. As part of the game, you will be in charge of getting three sheep of different sizes home. 

Timmy, Shaun and Shirley are stuck and need to get across to the other side. Using the swings, see-saws, ramps, stamps and switches, you’ll have to create a bridge to get these sheep safely across. 

Be warned that this game can be quite addictive with the adorable characters and great graphics. While it starts off easy, the difficulty does increase with each stage.

Paper toss

University life can be tough, and sometimes all you want to do after a tough day is crumple a piece of paper and toss it to relieve stress.

Well, with the Paper Toss app, you can now do this without harming the environment or having to clean up the mess after.  

The aim of the game is simple: try your best to toss the crumpled paper into the trash basket.

With seven levels of difficulty, comments from angry co-workers and a fan with varying speeds, you will need to focus on getting the paper in. 

free online games to play

Colouring calms the brain and helps your body relax after a long day. Source: Mohammed Huwais / AFP

Art therapy colouring 

According to a study done by Mayo Clinic, colouring is a proven way to relieve stress. 

After a long day of lectures, why not relax your mind with this online colouring website that allows you to escape reality and increase your creativity. Spending just 10 minutes a day colouring can bring about the same benefits as meditation. 

There’s an unlimited number of colours to choose from and you can share the completed masterpiece.

Virtual bubble wrap

Let’s be honest we have all gotten excited over bubble wrap, trying to pop all the bubbles as fast as possible.

Each pop pumps more dopamine into our brain, reducing stress and anxiety, according to certain studies. 

With this free virtual bubble wrap website, you can now pop bubbles all day long. Starting off with just four big bubbles, it continues to multiply as you press each bubble till your whole screen is covered in bubble wrap.

It even mimics the sound of real bubble wrap. So what are you waiting for? Start popping all your stress away.