Game Week with Teens – Educational Games for Middle Schoolers

When my kids were younger we played games all the time as both part of our homeschooling and just for fun but as the kids have grown older, it seems like we play less and less of them.   The ironic thing is they are actually old enough to play games I find interesting (I eventually had to ban both Candyland and HiHo Cherry-O because my continued sanity was questionable).    I’m trying to really commit to playing games with the kids regularly and as part of our “Summer Homeschooling” I designated this week as Games Week and I thought I’d share some of  our picks.

Math/Logic Games

1. Legend of Landlock.   Deceptively simple in theory, but it requires strategy.  Your goal is to either create a non interrupted stream or path while simultaneously turning your opponents streams or paths into ponds or islands.   As an added bonus there is a sticker on the box that says it is a Mensa select game so I always feel extra smart when I play it.  Except when Alex beats me which is almost always.

2.  Blokus – We’ve played this for years and our play tends to run in phases.  We have the variation called “Trigon.” The objective is to make your colored tiles reach farther than your opponents.

3.  Cash Flow for kids.  This is a pretty straightforward money game but with some twists by the writer of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.  He has some unconventional ideas about money–it is an interesting perspective.

4. Real World Math Unexpected Events – This is similar to games like Payday (also a big hit) in that it is your basic around the board drawing cards with either income or expense events but this one requires you to keep a check ledger tracking your income and expenditures along the way.   One note, we find the events to be a bit boring and the expenses are all even dollar amounts so we have a plan to “edit” the event cards for some expenses of our own creation.    It should spice up the game a little!

Language Arts

First, I’d like to put some spelling games here, but since I said I was putting our favorite games and no spelling game would ever make my  kids’ favorite list, I have to leave them off.  But if you have kids who spell words for fun, then by all means, get them Bananagrams.

1.  You’ve Been Sentenced – Who can create the longest sentence out of a collection of random words?  It doesn’t have to make sense but it does have to be grammatically correct.  I like this because it makes the kids focus on what type of word it is so they can determine if their sentence works.  They like it because it generates some pretty silly sentences.

2.  Rummy Roots.    We actually just opened this one up and hope to try it tomorrow.   It looks like a fun way to practice vocabulary root words.   Hopefully my kids will dig it.


1.  Brainquest Know the States – Travel across the United States gathering flags for each region by answering trivia and map questions about various states.    There are two levels of difficulty which makes it playable among a broad range of playrs.

2. Prof. Noggin Games – There is a Noggin game for every topic I think.  We have a couple of these and I plan to add a few more to our collection.  Though they are basically just trivia question games, the questions are off beat enough of the time to be both silly and educational and this game also has two levels of difficulty.

3.  Mad dash! Three Minutes Across America – Any game that says it will only take three minutes immediately has my vote.  Basically it is a quick paced grab for states that border eachother to see if you can collect states creating a trail across America.

4. Settlers of America Trails to Rails – a part of the Settlers of Catan series, this game is a serious commitment and so it often gets set aside in favor of other games that take less time, but it is one of Alex’s favorite so I promised I’d devote the time this week.   Settlers work their way across a new America creating and then connecting settlements by wagon and then train.

Any favorites at your house?  Share them in the comments.  I’m always on the lookout for new games.


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