Educational games for little kids mostly revolve around counting, letters, colors, and other concepts that adults have already grasped thoroughly. This makes them tedious, at best. It also means that older children in the family won’t get any real benefit or enjoyment out of them, either. Fortunately, if you have teenagers, there are some boardgames out there that you can use to teach them concepts that their minds are just old enough to handle, and not be bored, yourself.
Clue is a perennial favorite party game. Younger kids won’t really get it, but teenagers are sure to enjoy it. Deductive reasoning is a skill that kids need to be taught, and mystery games like Clue are a great way to help them learn it. By going through the process of gradually narrowing down their list of suspects, murder weapons, and scenes, teenagers learn how to deduce a conclusion from the evidence they are given. This will not only help them become better at mystery games like Clue, it will help them learn to apply deductive reasoning in the adult world, as well.
Games like Risk, Stratego, and Axis and Allies are also good for teaching teenagers. These are all strategy games, and all of them require different kinds of strategy from their players. Teens will need to be able to come up with a plan to win, and be able to alter their plan to accommodate changes in their situation. Best of all, they’ll need to learn to come up with better strategies than their opponents, too. Unlike games that just require a roll of the dice or a spin of a spinner to win, these games require players to do some serious thinking. The right strategies are rewarded with victory, while failing to plan ahead well enough results in defeat.
Lastly, games like Life are also good for teaching teenagers. While Life doesn’t teach kids about things like strategy or deductive reasoning, it does teach them about life. With all of the different things that life can throw at them, this game does a fairly good job of showing kids what can happen if you go to college versus not going to college, how to pay off student loans, what happens when you buy a house, and how families grow. It certainly isn’t an educational game in the traditional sense of the word, but parents can still use it to teach their kids about some of the facets of the real world, like jobs, families, and home ownership.
Though the concept of teaching kids through board games is hardly a new one, there are certain skills that a teenager’s mind needs to cultivate. Unlike simple counting games, or basic word games suitable for younger kids, these games place an emphasis on skills like strategy, deductive reasoning, and responsible planning. With these games, teenagers learn more of the skills that they will need to succeed as adults, as opposed to the skills that they simply need to do well in school.