23 Popular Educational Games For Teens

Educational Games For Teens

Image: iStock

Adding fun to learning is an excellent teaching strategy. Middle and high school teachers often indulge their students in interesting games and activities that are educational and fun at the same time. Parents can also do so, provided the teen finds the game cool. Find the right learning games that can impress your teenager.

To make this easier for you, MomJunction has compiled a list of some interesting educational games and activities for teens and preteens.

What Are Educational Games?

Educational games for teens are based on a variety of subjects like science, math, English, arts, music, and history.

These games engage children and at the same time develop their social, cognitive, and logical skills. The primary objective of these games and activities is to help children learn about different subjects practically.

Teens can also benefit by using learning games to reinforce specific concepts and understand historical events and situations.

17 Best Educational Games For Teens

Best Educational Games For Teens

Image: iStock

These games may be used in school or classroom to make the lessons interesting, and also at home when the teens gather to play or do a group study.

1. Name That Tune

Teenagers usually love music. In fact, a study has revealed that kids enjoy listening to music even when they do their school work (1). They listen to around 10,500 hours of music between seventh and 12th grades, according to Robert A. Cutietta, author of Raising Musical Kids: A Guide For Parents. If your teen is into music, here is an easy educational game that he will love.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 2, Maximum – No Limit

You Will Need:

  • A music player
  • A collection of songs or an online library of songs.
  • Paper and pen for keeping score.

Setup:

  • One person can be the moderator while the others will be participants. If you have more than five players, you can form groups and make it a competition.
  • You will need at least a couple of hours to compile enough music for the game. Ensure you include pop music and other genres as well.
  • The moderator should know the name of the artiste and the title of each song.

How to play:

  • Moderator randomly picks a song from the collection and plays it for around 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Teams or individual participants will be given 30 seconds to come up with the artiste’s name and the title of the song.
  • If the first team fails, the question passes to the next team. If no team gets it, you can make it a free-for-all question and encourage kids to guess.
  • If no one gets the answer right, the moderator reveals the answer.
  • You can play as many rounds as you want.

You can create variations of the game by asking participants to identify the genre of music, the instrument that is played and the chord (if the group has knowledge of music).

[ Read: Bible Games And Activities For Teens ]

2. Pictionary

A classic draw-and-guess game, Pictionary lets teenagers explore their drawing and sketching skills. The game also gives you an understanding of how imaginative they are.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 4, Maximum – 10

You Will Need:

  • Board
  • Marker or chalk

Setup:

  • Divide the participants into teams of two. The game is interesting if there are not more than three teams. More teams can make it a drag. If you more than ten players, create bigger teams.
  • If you have an odd number, one person can be the scorekeeper and also the dedicated timekeeper.
  • Prepare strips of paper with the name of an object or event or scene that participants can draw. Think of ideas appropriate for teens like a guitar, college applications, ballet, animals, food items and more.
  • You can also include scenarios or events to make the game a little difficult and interesting.

How to play:

  • One member of the team has to pick a chit, but not reveal what is written on it to the others.
  • He has to use the board and the marker or chalk to draw the object or event for the other team members to guess.
  • Players can draw anything that will lead the team members to the right answers – the idea is to encourage imagination and creativity to communicate the right message without talking about it
  • If a team is unable to guess the word, the other team gets the chance to score.
  • If no one gets the answer right, the moderator reveals it.
  • Players can also share their ideas of better and simpler ways to share the message by drawing.

Pictionary is an excellent game that helps develop creative thinking skills and abilities.

3. Making Sentences

Making sentences is a simple yet effective game that develops your teen’s language skills. The game can last between 30 minutes and an hour.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 2, Maximum – 10

You will need:

  • Sheets of paper
    Pens

Setup:

This game requires a lot of preparation.

  • Look up sentences with words that you want your children to learn.
  • Jumble the sentences and start writing down the unique words randomly on the sheet of paper.
  • Ensure that the words are spelled correctly and are written clearly so that all the participants understand. Make copies so that each participant gets one.
  • Include articles, prepositions, conjunctions and other words that your teen would need to form sentences.
  • Make an exhaustive list of sentences that can be created with the words on the paper.

How to play:

  • Give your participants a pen, two sheets of blank paper and the sheet with the words.
  • Players have to form as many sentences as they can in 30 minutes.
  • In the end, the player with the highest number of meaningful and grammatically correct sentences scores the highest.
  • You can also form teams of two if you have more people.

Making Sentences is a great game that lets teenagers experiment with language. It makes them think about the different ways a word can be used in a sentence and builds their writing skills.

4. Charades Or Mime Games

Mime games, commonly known as Dumb Charades, can be a lot of fun. Charades are suitable for kids aged eight to 14. It is similar to Pictionary, except that players try to communicate a word or phrase instead of drawing on a board.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 4 Maximum – 10

You will need:

Paper and pen for keeping the score.

Setup:

The teacher or parent can create a list of subject-related words or phrases that your teenager is familiar with. Put the words or phrases on small chits of paper.

How to play:

  • Divide the group of kids into different teams of at least two each.
  • One person from a group picks a chit but does not read it out loud.
  • The player has to enact the word or phrase, and the other member(s) of the team have to guess the word or the phrase.
  • The team scores a point if they guess it right.

Shy teenagers may not be willing to participate in this game. Let them be a part of the game, but don’t force them to face the audience unless they are willing to.

5. Monopoly Board Game

Monopoly is one of the most popular fun learning games for teens. The game is about creating wealth and the hindrances that one may face when they try to make money.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 2, Maximum – 6

You will need:

1 Monopoly board game

Setup:

  • Read the instructions of the game and make sure you understand everything, should your teenager have any questions about it later.
  • Each player gets $1500, divided into different denominations of 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. The amount and the denominations can vary in different versions of the game.
  • The property deeds (cards) and the remaining money are with the bank.

How to play:

  • One player has to be the banker and manage the trades that the players want to make. The banker has control of the deeds, the houses and hotels that players can build on their sites.
  • The player who gets the highest number on a throw of dice gets to begin the game.
  • The number on the set of dice is the number of moves the player has to make on the board.
  • If the player lands in a city or area, he or she can buy it from the bank.
  • If the roll of dice lands a player in another player’s property, rent is collected by the owner.
  • Players can build houses or hotels on the property to collect higher rent from others.
  • The game can go on and on for hours or until all players, except one, run out of money

Monopoly introduces your teen to the world of property trading and amassing wealth while overcoming obstructions in the form of taxes, penalties and even jail time.

[ Read: Indoor Games and Activities For Teens ]

6. Bird Identification Game

This is a simple, yet an appealing game that encourages teens to learn about the environment and the different species of birds that inhabit it.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 2, Maximum – 6

You will need:

  • Flashcards with pictures of birds
  • List of three clues you can give the participants to guess the name of the bird
  • Paper and pen for keeping score.

Setup:

  • Collect pictures of commonly seen/known birds to bring in fun.
  • Include images of birds that your teenager would have learned about at school.
  • Keep the list of clues and facts about the bird handy.

How to play:

  • Divide the players into teams.
  • One person has to be the moderator or the quiz master.
  • In every round, each team is shown a flashcard with the image of the bird.
  • The image can be displayed on a screen, or it can be passed on to the team that has to identify it.
  • The moderator gives the team a chance to guess the name of the bird without clues.
  • If needed, he gives one clue at a time, helping the players to guess the name of the bird with as little information as possible.
  • Team scores 20 points for identifying the bird without using the clues. They get 15 points if they use one clue, 10 points for two clues and 5 points if they use all the three.
  • The game should have at least four rounds so that you get to cover a decent number of birds.

You can create a variation of the game by replacing the pictures of birds with animals.

7. Hangman Word Game

Hangman is a guess-the-word game that can keep your teenagers excited right from the start. The players have to guess the right word before they exhaust their chances, to score a point.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 2, Maximum – 10

You will need:

  • A white board and marker
  • Paper and pen for keeping scoreSetup:

Prepare a list of words or phrases from a specific subject of your choice.

How to play:

  • The moderator or host will pick a word and draw a blank for every letter in the word.
  • Players in the team have to guess the possible letters to fill the blanks.
  • If they guess a letter right, they guess again and move on until they get the complete word.
  • If they guess the letter wrong, the host draws one part of the stick figure of a hanged man.
  • The team gets no more chances after the host completes drawing the figure.

This game makes teenagers judicious while using up their chances and guessing the word correctly. Also, you can make the game about any subject – from math, science, environmental science, history, geography to music, art, and movies.

Hangman Word Game

Image: Shutterstock

8. Twenty Questions

Twenty Questions is a guessing game, which can be played anytime, anywhere.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 2, Maximum – 12

You will need:

Paper and pen for keeping score.

Setup:

Create a list of famous personalities about whom your child may have learned in history. Use the names of pop or rock music idols, national leaders and other famous personalities in news.

How to play:

  • Divide the participants into teams of equal number.
  • The host can select one person from the list of names, and the teams have to ask the right kind of questions to narrow their options and guess the name of the personality.
  • The team scores a point if they can guess who the person is before they exhaust the 20 questions.
  • If the team fails, the other two teams get one chance each to guess who the person is, based on the questions asked.

The game teaches deductive reasoning and tests the teen’s knowledge of history and current affairs.

9. Silence

Silence is exactly what the game is about. The game is good for large groups and challenges children to accomplish tasks together, but without speaking to each other.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 10, Maximum – NA

You will need:

  • Post-its
  • Pens
  • A lot of space
  • Paper for keeping score

Setup:

Some amount of preparation is required for this game.

  • Write down the names of months, days of the week or any other set of words that have to be arranged in a particular order.
  • Keep the post-its ready and do not mix them up. For example, avoid mixing up the days post-its with months, to avoid confusion during the game.

How to play:

  • Pick up a set of post-its on which you have listed down the names, numbers etc.
  • Give one sticky note each to one person randomly.
  • Make sure that no one has more than one sticky note.
  • Once the post-its or sticky notes have been distributed, create space in the front for the activity.
  • Tell the players that they have to arrange themselves in the right order in as little time as possible. For example, you say: “the days of the week in the right order or reverse order”, and players with sticky notes with the days of the week should move to the front and arrange themselves in that order.
  • The trick is to do it without speaking at all.

There is no competition in this game. However, this game helps children develop organizational, co-ordination, and non-verbal communication skills.

[ Read: Drama And Improv Games For Teens ]

10. Chain Reaction

Chain reaction is a simple game for building a teenager’s vocabulary.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 10, Maximum – NA

You will need:

  • Sheets of paper
  • Pens

Setup:

  • Pick a topic of your choice – it can be anything appropriate for teenagers like food items, books, names of people, animals, cities, songs, anything from nature or a specific subject like biology, geography or math.
  • Tell the topic or theme to the participants; you can write it on the board if it is in a classroom.
  • Give the participants sheets of papers and a pen.
  • Ask them to write the alphabet A to Z, vertically.

How to play:

  • Give your participants five minutes to create an alphabetical list of words relevant to the theme or topic.
  • The game begins when the first person reads out a word he or she has written.
  • The next person has to give a word beginning with the last letter of the first word.
  • The game goes on until all the letters are covered.
  • Players unable to give a relevant word are eliminated.

The game can be repeated as many times as you want with different topics. Chain reaction is one of the best ways to make kids remember and recollect everything they have learned.

11. Pass the ball

The goal of this game is not to be the one holding the ball.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 8, Maximum – 12

You will need:

Football or a stuffed-toy ball

Setup:

  • Make the participants sit in a circle, with enough space between each other to pass the prop comfortably.
  • Select a host or moderator to observe the game and identify ‘It’.

How to play:

  • The person holding the ball is ‘It’.
  • The host or moderator asks a question and calls out ‘Pass the ball’.
  • As soon as the moderator says ‘pass the ball’, ‘It’ should pass the chicken and answer the question before the prop comes back to him. For example, the host calls out “Name five baseball teams. Pass
  • the chicken”, the player has to pass the ball and name five teams before the ball comes back to him.
  • Other players have to pass the ball while the player answers the question.
  • The player holding the ball at the end of the answer becomes the new ‘It’ and faces the moderator’s next question.
  • If the prop comes back to the original holder before he or she can answer the question, they continue to be ‘It’.

This game encourages kids to think quickly and answer to dodge the questions by the host.

12. Conversation Game

Conversation is a simple vocabulary game that can be played anywhere. It is an interactive game that teaches them the art of conversation.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 2, Maximum – 10 (5 groups of 2 each)

You will need:

A list of words

Setup:

  • Create at least five sets of 10 words each.
  • Ask the members of the group to sit facing each other.
  • A moderator for timing the activity.
  • Paper and pen for keeping score.

How to play:

  • Give the players a set of 10 words.
  • Tell them to use the words in a conversation.
  • Give them 10 seconds to think and one minute to complete the conversation.
  • Participants have to use the listed words in a meaningful way.
  • If players fail to use all ten words in their one-minute conversation, they don’t score anything.

This game helps to teach kids how words can be used in different contexts in a conversation.

13. Trivia

Trivia is an all-time favorite among kids and adults.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 4, Maximum – 8

You will need:

  • A set of questions on the chosen topics, along with the right answers and some information about it.
  • Paper and pen for keeping score.

Setup:

  • Create a list of easy-to-understand questions that your teenager may know the answer to.
  • Questions can be from their school subjects, general awareness, current affairs, politics, music or any other topic that your teenager is familiar with.

How to play:

  • Form four groups of two.
  • The game begins with the host or moderator asking the first team a question.
  • If players in the team answer the question correctly, they score a point, and the next team gets to answer a new question.
  • But if the team fails to answer the question, it passes on to the other team. The team that answers the question gets the point.
  • You can have as many questions as you want.

[ Read: Group Activities For Teenagers ]

14. The Human Knot

The Human Knot can be played in your backyard or inside a classroom.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 6, Maximum – 10

You Will Need:

  • A timer
  • A lot of space for accommodating a circle of people.

Setup:

The game needs a moderator who understands how the Human Knot works and who can guide the participants through the activity. So prep yourself with all that you need to know about the Human Knot and be ready to answer any questions that your teenagers may have.

How to play:

  • Arrange the group in a circle.
  • As soon as the moderator says go, the children have to join their right hand with that of the person opposite them.
  • Then, ask them to join their left hand with someone else’s hand.
  • Ensure that they do not hold their neighbor’s hands.
  • The objective is for them to untangle the knot without breaking the chain.

The Knot develops the teenager’s problem-solving abilities. It is an excellent game for a field day.

15. Math Quiz

This is a fun way for teenagers to brush their math.

Number of participants:

Minimum – 4, Maximum – 8

You will need:

  • A set of questions from math.
  • Paper and pen for keeping score.

Setup:

  • Collect math and quantitative aptitude questions.
  • Make sure that the questions are clear and easy to understand.
  • Try to include real life scenarios in the questions to make it relevant.

How to play:

  • Math Quiz is similar to trivia, except that it is dedicated to quantitative abilities.
  • Ask the teams a question and let everyone work on the problem.
  • Give the teams at least one minute to come up with the answer.

The idea is to encourage teenagers to rely on their quantitative abilities instead of using electronic calculators.

Online Educational Games

Online Educational Games

Image: iStock

Teenagers can also play a variety of educational games online. From something as simple as trivia on different subjects to crosswords and complicated stimulation games, there are hundreds of online educational games for teens.

16. Climate Challenge

Climate Challenge is an online educational game designed by the BBC. The focus of the game is climate change, which is a major cause for concern for world nations. The game’s tag line is “Earth’s future is in your hands”, which gives children a sense of responsibility and makes them aware of their role.

You will need:

  • A computer or laptop
  • Internet connection
  • Flash Player 8 installed on your system

Setup:

No setup is required for this game. Your teen can play Climate Challenge here.

How to play:

  • The player has to don the role of the president of the European Union and figure out ways to deal with catastrophic events that are threatening the global climate.
  • The game has policy cards which are taken from real policies for minimizing carbon dioxide emissions. The statistics used in the game are also taken from actual records.
  • While tackling the man-made and natural disasters that may or may not affect the climate, the player should also implement or change policies to stay popular among the nations and citizens.
  • The game is challenging in the sense that the player has to strike a balance between doing what is good for the environment and also addressing the voter’s needs.

The game includes details from real-life studies wherever possible, but is not necessarily an accurate prediction of how the climate is going to change. Nevertheless, it is a great online game that introduces young adults to the hottest topic among environmental scientists: climate change and why it is bad.

17. Operate Now: Arm Surgery 2

Does your teen show a keen interest in medicine? Then he may enjoy Operate Now: Arm Surgery 2. The interactive game takes the player through the many steps involved in fixing a broken arm.

You will need:

  • A computer or laptop
  • Internet connection

Setup:

No setup is required for this game. Your teen can play Climate Challenge online.

How to play:

  • It is your first day at the hospital and the head nurse greets you.
  • Throughout the game, the player interacts with the head nurse to answer questions, select the right tools and diagnostic procedures to treat a patient with a broken arm.
  • The game does not show the actual procedure performed by doctors, but tells you enough to understand how a surgeon fixes a broken arm.

Arm Surgery 2 can be played on a number of online gaming sites. The game is simple, fun and gives you an idea of what happens behind the scenes during an arm surgery.

[ Read: Fun Team Building Activities For Teens ]

Top 6 Educational Activities For Teens

In addition to games, educational activities and little experiments can be used to make learning fun for teenagers.

18. Geometry Scavenger Hunt

Geometry is not an easy subject to love. If you want to get your teenager interested in it, the Geometry Scavenger Hunt is a brilliant activity you can rely on.

You will need:

  • A camera per person/teen.
  • List of geometric shapes, terms for each participant.

Setup:

  • Give clear instructions to the children about their objective.
  • Emphasize the importance of following instructions to achieve the objective.

What to do:

  • Math Quiz is similar to trivia, except that it is dedicated to quantitative abilities
  • Ask the teams a question and let everyone work on the problem
  • Give the teams at least one minute to work on the problem and come up with the answer
  • If a team can’t answer, the question passes to another team.

19. Record The Natural World

Worried that your teenager is playing too many video games? Here is an educational activity that will encourage him to go outdoors and explore the wonders of nature.

You will need:

  • Water color paper.
  • Water colors.
  • Pencils for drawing.
  • Eraser and sharpener.
  • Specimens like leaves, flowers, trees, bushes, etc. that they can see and draw.
  • Containers for water colors.

Setup:

  • On the drawing paper, write down the name of the specimen, date, and classification for reference.
  • You may want to take your teen to a park or a garden where he can take a close look at the specimen and reproduce it on paper.

What to do:

  • Ask the kid to look at the specimens closely and make a note of the details – the lines, the number of branches, the geometric shapes, the color and the texture.
  • Ask him to create a rough outline of the specimen first and then move on to the finer details.
  • Give them enough time to do that – may need an hour or more.
  • Once they are done with the drawing, they can use the water colors to give them the natural colors.

This activity can create an interest in nature and also encourage them to develop their sketching and painting skills.

20. CSI: Get The Fingerprints

If your teenager is into solving mysteries, he or she will love this activity. It teaches them the simplest ways to get fingerprints from anything.

You Will Need:

  • Pencil
  • Clear tape
  • Cornstarch or talcum powder
  • Piece of white paper or index card
  • Makeup brush or paint brush
  • One drinking glass
  • Magnifying glass
  • Cocoa powder

Setup:

Let your teen use household objects and areas for this little project.

What to do:

  • The easiest way to get someone’s fingerprints is to rub the pencil over one part of the white paper and use it as a stamp pad. Press your fingers on the pencil stamp-pad and then on a white paper or an index card to read the prints.
  • Take a drinking glass or any other object with your fingerprints. Make sure you have used it a few hours or a day before.
  • Ask your teenager to use a magnifying glass to find and look at the fingerprints and research online about what makes them unique.
  • They can also dust for fingerprints, as they do in movies and TV shows, using powders. Sprinkle a little corn starch or talcum powder if the surface is dark and cocoa powder if the surface is light-colored. Blow off the excess powder or use a brush to dust it off to see the fingerprints clearly.
  • Your teen can also peel off the fingerprint using a clear tape and paste it on an index card or white paper.

This is an interesting activity that introduces forensics to your teenager.

21. Physics Made Fun With Cartoons

Help your teenager learn the laws of physics with this fun game.

You will need:

  • TV
  • Cartoon shows
  • Stopwatch
  • Calculator

Setup:

  • This activity can be conducted right in your living room.
  • Create a list of physics concepts that your teen may have learned in school.
  • You will have to be familiar with the laws of physics that you want to discuss with your child.
  • Road Runner and Looney Toons are ideal for this activity.

What to do:

  • Select the concepts that your child has learned at school.
  • Watch a few cartoons together and ask your teenager what laws of physics have been applied in the cartoon character’s actions.
  • Discuss what is real and what has been exaggerated.
  • See if your teen can calculate a different variable based on the physics equations they have learned at school. For example, ask the teen to time Daffy Duck’s or Will E Coyote’s fall from a cliff. And then ask them if they can derive the distance based on the time it took them to fall.

This exercise can be great to brush up basic formulas of physics, which your teen is likely to learn in middle and high school.

[ Read: Sleepover Games And Activities For Teens ]

22. The Monty Hall Problem

The Monty Hall Problem teaches your kid about probability.

You will need:

  • Sheets of paper with the problem
  • Pens

Setup:

  • This activity can be conducted at school or home.
  • Ideal for groups as it allows for debate.
  • The host or moderator should have a good understanding of the problem to be able to explain it to the kids.

What to do:

  • Give them the Monty Hall Problem on a sheet of paper. You can get it online.
  • Tell the kids that there are three doors and only one of them has a car behind it.
  • Ask them what the probability is of getting the car. The answer should be 1/3.
  • Now tell them there is a goat behind the first door.
  • Ask them the probability of picking a door with the car behind it. They should say that it is 2/3, which means they have a better chance of winning in this round.

Children may say that that the probability of picking the right door the second time is ½, which is wrong. This is a good example to help them understand the concept.

23. Trace The Shadow

This is a fun game that can be played outside. The game is about the movement of light, usually sun, and how the position changes the angle in which the shadow falls.

You Will Need:

  • A plastic bottle – should not be transparent
  • Sheets of paper
  • Pencil

Setup:

This activity can be conducted only on a sunny day.

What to do:

  • Place the sheet of paper on a table or a bench in the park on a sunny day.
  • Place the bottle in the center of the sheet and ask your teen to trace the shadow of the bottle with a pencil.
  • Do the same after a couple of hours, with the paper and the bottle in the same position. This time, the shadow falls on a different part of the paper.
  • Do this three or more times – this will enable your kid to tell where the sun is, based on the shadow of the bottle.
  • Make a note of the time each time the child traces the shadow.

This is a simple, yet effective way to help your child determine what time of the day it is based on the position of the sun and where the shadow falls.

The objective of these educational activities is to get your teen excited about learning something new. If you are going to be a part of the game or activity, it is important that you find the time to learn a little about the activity before hosting it.

Have more ideas for educational games for teens? Share them with us here.

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Sagari Gongala

Sagari is a math graduate and studied counseling psychology in postgraduate college, which she uses to understand people better. This skill also helps her write better articles about kids and their behavior. She is meticulous in her research and gives you information that could be the ultimate help you’ll need in times of need. An animal lover, vegan, and coffee addict, Sagari puts her mind and soul into whatever she does. During her free time, you'll find her either rescuing a sick/injured animal with a friend, or glued to her couch watching Sons Of Anarchy on Netflix.
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