Family game night can be fun with younger children, but teens tend to stick to themselves and scorn board games as childish or useless. There is a wide range of board games ideal to challenge older children and teens, however, and choosing the right game can help your teen improve verbal, mathematical, critical reasoning and other skills to help them prepare for high school, college and their careers.
Ages 8+, 1 or more players
A colorful twist to the original Jenga block game, Jenga Tetris amps up the challenge and focuses on spatial reasoning skills, hand-eye coordination and strategizing. A game can last just a few minutes or may take an hour or more with a cleverly calculating teen, or players can form teams to build the tower taller.
Ages 8+, 2-4 players
Improve calculation skills with Mathable Deluxe, a Scrabble-like numbers game where players earn points through successfully calculating addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Players can choose some of the calculations, and designated squares ensure attention to all types of math problems throughout the game.
Trivial Pursuit Party
Ages 16+, 2-6 players
A faster version of the classic game, Trivial Pursuit Party features 1,200 questions in history, sports, entertainment, geography and other topics, and players can earn pie wedges on each question instead of only designated squares. Test your teen’s trivia with different questions, and help them broaden their knowledge base to know what they prefer to study.
Ages 8+, 2-4 players
The classic vocabulary board game, Scrabble is available in different sizes and even in different languages to challenge players of all ages. Not only does Scrabble build spelling skills, but challenging words can build a teen’s vocabulary by requiring accurate definitions before play continues.
Ages 8+, 3-6 players
Deductive reasoning, memory and logic skills are all put to the test with Clue as players work to solve murders on limited and misleading information. Not only is the classic mansion board game available, but deluxe editions feature a boardwalk setting for more variation to keep teens and children of all ages interested.
Ages 5+, 2-4 players
While suitable for younger players, even teens will be challenged by Blokus as their pieces are blocked and their geometric reasoning skills are heightened. Strategy is key as players not only expand their pieces but must plan ahead to block their opponents. A travel-size Blokus game is also available.
Ages 8+, 2 or more players
With a game time of just three minutes, there’s always time to build vocabulary and spelling skills with a round of Big Boggle. With a larger board and more letters than the original, this version gives players more words to choose from as they puzzle out letter variations. Want more of a challenge? Don’t allow plurals or short words during play.
The Game of Life
Ages 9+, 2-6 players
Teach teens that choices have consequences and life throws curveballs we all must deal with by playing The Game of Life. Updated for modern play, this game still resonates with teens eager to make their own choices and plot their own path, and will help teach them how to make responsible choices they can live with.
Ages 7+, 1 or more players
Though simple in concept, the electronic game Simon starts with just a basic sequence for players to remember and repeat, but with each turn the complexity grows and the speed increases. Both young children and teens can benefit from enhancing their memory skills with this classic and nostalgic game.
All ages, 1 or more players
Jigsaw puzzles come in all shapes, sizes and themes, with as few as 100 or up to 1,000 or more pieces. Complex puzzles will challenge teens better and help them improve their attention to detail, prioritizing and pattern recognition skills. Some puzzles feature trivia or maps in the pattern, adding even more intellectual challenge.
No matter what a teen is interested in, there is a board game that can help them develop the necessary skills to excel in high school and college, without turning family game night into a homework session.