Playing board games can be incredibly beneficial for teens — it allows them to build higher-level critical-thinking skills as well as learn how to cooperate and engage with others. Fortunately, there are many great board game options available for teens today. Some options even introduce teens to more complex spelling and vocabulary words, which is an element we at the Scripps National Spelling Bee love to see.
For years, there have been popular gaming apps available that allow players to develop their own “plague” and use strategy to take over the world. Pandemic by Z-Man Games is a great option for any teen who loves these types of games as it brings the online gaming experience into the real world. Players must work to beat the clock, strategizing as they flip cards to reveal special events and new resources to help them fight off deadly infections. Each game takes about an hour to complete, so teens do not have to commit too much of their time to playing the game. Because the gameplay is cooperative, teens also have the ability to learn valuable social skills and communication as they work together to end the epidemic. This game is recommended for teens ages 13 and up.
How many “dangerous jobs” can you think of? Snake handler, fire juggler, bull rider… the possibilities are endless, which is exactly what makes this game such a challenge. Not only must players come up with an answer to the prompt they are given, but they must also be able to think about the answers other players are likely to come up with. Some of the responses can be pretty funny, which adds an extra bit of excitement to this game. Double Ditto is simple to learn and play, so this option is terrific for those seeking a more casual gaming experience. It’s recommended for children over the age of 10.
This card game is just as fun as it is funny. Players are given unicorn-themed cards, all of which feature characters with special abilities. In order to win, players must be the first to collect seven unicorns, building a unicorn army strong enough to defeat their opponents. The artwork on the cards is adorable, which helps to keep players engaged as they play. Because there is such a wide range of abilities among the unicorns, the gameplay is unpredictable and each game offers up new surprises. Teens will want to keep playing new rounds just so they can see everything this set has to offer. This game is recommended for teens ages 14 and older.
It can be difficult to pry a teen’s smartphone out of their hands, and in this case, that’s a good thing! This game challenges players to use their smartphones to complete a variety of tasks. One of the great things about this game is its ability to teach players new and interesting trivia without them even realizing they’re learning. The trivia questions come in many different categories so there is always new information to absorb — plus, the challenges are hilarious. For example, a teen might be tasked with typing out the word “phone” on their touchscreen with their nose! It helps to break the tension and keep the game engaging. This game is recommended for teens ages 13 and up.
Do you want a game that will really make your teen think? Wit’s End offers brain teasers and riddles in a wide range of categories so there is always something new and exciting to ponder as they play. Categories such as “Teasers” give teens the chance to answer basic riddles. Other categories, such as “Sequence,” combine logic and critical-thinking with trivia, requiring players to put items in order based on details such as their year, weight or size. This game is recommended for teens ages 16 and up.
“Always on the hunt for engaging, fun board games for your teen? These are creative and fun games that are ideal for teens’ get-togethers and even for family gatherings and events. Competing with smart devices for a teen’s attention is an enormous challenge — try these games at your next evening in, challenging your teen to take a break from their phone!”
Our Expert Consultant
Emily Lehman is a licensed teacher, nonprofit youth coordinator and mother of two young girls. Emily understands how to make learning fun and is a pro at engaging children in the classroom. She also learns constantly in her own experience raising children. When she isn’t teaching or raising her daughters, she is taking care of her horses and family farm.