Your teen is certainly, or at least most likely, much more mature than your toddler. That said, your adolescent's new-found sense of maturity doesn't mean that she can't play fun-filled learning games. Instead of solemnly studying, your teen can take a tip from the younger set and learn through a few interactive games that feature topics such as math, social studies and science.
During the teen years, your child is learning an almost overwhelming amount of new math concepts such as algebra, geometry and statistics. For example, high schoolers should learn how to summarize and interpret data as well as how to represent data sets and evaluate statistical experiments, according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative. If you are looking for a math game that can jump start your teen's understanding of concepts such as these, try a few different interactive online options. The National Center for Education Statistics' Create a Graph website can help younger teens to explore representing data sets and different types of charts. For a more advanced math game, FedStats MapStats website asks kids to interact with data from the U.S. states and apply it to graphs.
Social Studies Games
Instead of asking your teen to studiously pour over books, make learning about social studies topics entertaining with an educational learning game. Create your own trivia game that features topics that your teen is covering in school. The main themes of the national curriculum standards focus on concepts such as culture, community, power and authority, governance, production, distribution, consumption, civic ideals and global connections, according to the National Council for Social Studies. Turn each of these themes into a main topic and write questions that match the areas onto index cards, adding the answers on the back. Have your teen, and his friends or siblings, listen to the questions and ring a bell or make a noise when they know the answers. Assign points for each right answer. Tally the points at the end of the game to see who wins.
Science games for teens can cover any number of higher-level topics such as ecology, evolution, genetics, astronomy, chemical reactions or physics. You can try a quiz or trivia-style game, similar to the social studies ones, or you can opt for a hands-on project. Create an experiment activity with your teen that helps her to make predictions, test a hypothesis and observe the results. Turn a simple magnet experiment into a more complex project and test how these science tools work when you change the temperatures. Freeze a magnet, place one in the hot sun and keep one at room temperature. Have your teen create her own hypothesis about what will happen and then test it using different objects. Try other similar at-home experiments that test your teen's knowledge and comprehension of scientific concepts to keep the learning going.
Language and Literacy Games
While there's nothing that will replace reading a classic novel, your teen can broaden his language and literacy learning with a game or two. Try a fill-in-the-blanks game in which your teen writes her own story, leaving blanks for a friend to fill in with a verb, noun or adjective. Another option is to have your teen cut out words from magazines or newspapers. Look for new vocabulary words that she may not yet know. Add in a few well-known words and have her piece them together to make complex sentences.
- Common Core State Standards: Mathematics: High School: Statistics & Probability: Introduction
- National Center for Education Statistics: Create a Graph
- FedStats: MapStats: Data to Graphics
- 1000sciencefairprojects.com: How Temperature Affects Magnets
- National Council of Social Studies: National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: Chapter 2 -- The Themes of Social Studies
- One Stop English: Teenagers: Game 8: Making Sentences
- Jack Hollingsworth/Digital Vision/Getty Images