Today, I am sharing my best tips, tricks, and resources for gameschooling teens and tweens. I truly believe that play can not only fuel learning but can also help parents to connect with their middle and high schoolers.
This post is part of a new series, Gameschooling by Age Group. This series has been requested by readers for years, but I’ve struggled to write it because I don’t think play should be confined to age groups and grade levels. Why? Perhaps the best way to explain my feelings on age ranges and grade levels would be by sharing a story…
Note: If you’ve been following this series, I already shared this story but I feel strongly about its message and therefore wanted to include it in each post in this series. If you have already read it, please just skip ahead. I have oodles of gameschooling resources for teens and tweens below, organized by academic subject!
Check out My Little Poppies Course Offerings:
- The Lazy Homeschooler’s Guide to Unit Studies
- How to Rock THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of Your Homeschool Day
- Gameschooling 101: How to Add More Play to Your Homeschool Day
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…
I have three children and they are all big gamers. That said, my littlest guy has always been the biggest gamer of the bunch. He could play games all day. He often plays games with his imaginary BFF, Mister Pancake, when no one else is available.
Several years ago, my 4-year-old little guy was on the cusp of learning how to read. At that time, our entire family was obsessed with a quirky little card game from Gamewright called GUBS.
The littlest fella was, by far, the most obsessed member of our party. He woke up in the morning and asked to play GUBS. He wanted to play one last round before the day was done. I kid you not- my thumbs were sore from all the shuffling.
We were having a blast and making oodles of memories but there was one problem: the little guy couldn’t read yet and so he needed to be on my team. (Psst! You can modify almost any game and make it work for little ones by playing in teams.)
For those unfamiliar with GUBS, it’s a card game based on an imaginary world. For a little kid, there are lots of unfamiliar words: Velvet Moth, Toad Rider, Esteemed Elder, Super Lure, Haki Flute. I could go on and on.
What I’m trying to say is that GUBS was not the BOB Book of the game world. It was tricky! It was way above his reading level.
My little guy was head over heels with this game. He’s a pretty imaginative little fella and he was completely lost in the land of GUBS. He talked about the world, its characters, and its obstacles morning, noon, and night.
He was determined to play GUBS independently. As much as he loved to play with us, he was tired of being on my team. And do you know what? In a matter of a month or two, he accomplished his goal. He could play GUBS without assistance. He could read all the cards.
And then, he read Fantastic Mr. Fox all by himself! He was a reader and to this day I give full credit to his determination and that quirky little card game.
I know your kids are older than this right now, but I want you to consider this…
Is GUBS one of those “educational” games that you see on Pinterest? Nope.
Did the box say that it was for 4-year-olds? No.
Does it explicitly teach reading? Not even a little.
Here’s the thing that we tend to forget: Play is crucial for development and all children learn through play. And yes, play is important for teens and tweens, too!
Gameschooling offers kids a chance to learn new skills, to practice old ones, to fail, to succeed, and to try again. Games don’t judge. They aren’t threatening. Games don’t assign homework. They don’t correct. Games offer a safe space for learning.
Today, I am going to share a few favorite gameschooling resources for tweens and teens, at your request, but I want you to remember GUBS.
Don’t get caught up in the ages listed on the box, or the skills you feel your child “should” be learning right now, just follow their interest and they will learn oodles and bunches. Because that’s what kids are born to do!
Teens and tweens need to play, too. You need to play. Don’t believe me? Watch some of the TED talks or read some of the articles and books listed here. Play has been scientifically proven to be good for all of us, not just our kiddos!
Gameschooling Teens & Tweens: How to Boost Learning and Connection
Want to save time and download the whole list right now? Grab your FREE Teens and Tweens Gameschool Resource List here:
Gameschooling teens and tweens can help to fuel learning and boost connection.
When I started this blog, I had a kindergartener. I now have a tween. Where is the pause button, you guys?!
When I worked as a school psychologist, I used games to connect with students. This worked especially well with tweens and teens. They could chat with me but avoid eye contact and they had something to do with their hands. Before they knew it, we were having fun and growing an important connection.
This strategy works for our tweens and teens, too! Do you know how our tweens and teens get moody and broody? They withdraw a bit and it can be tough to know what they are thinking.
Gameschooling helps. In our world, games can be magical. Sure, it might start with him bellyaching that he doesn’t want to play with me, but if I add some hot cocoa and popcorn and a dollop of patience, he’s soon chatting and enjoying our time together.
Gameschooling Teens and Tweens: Art and Music
Here are some art and music resources that your teen might enjoy:
Gameschooling Teens and Tweens: Geography
Check out these resources for gameschooling geography:
Gameschooling Teens and Tweens: History
Here are some excellent resources to add to your homeschool history routine:
Gameschooling Teens and Tweens: Language Arts
Here are resources for gameschooling language arts:
Gameschooling Teens and Tweens: Math
Here are some great math resources for your gameschool routine:
Gameschooling Teens and Tweens: Science, STEM, Nature
Here are some great resources for gameschooling teens and tweens:
Read the other articles in the Gameschooling By Age series:
Looking for more resources? You might like these articles:
- Gameschooling: A Resource Page
- How to Play More without Breaking the Bank: Gameschooling on a Budget
- Gameschooling by Subject: The Best Games for Your Homeschool
Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: What are your family’s favorite tips for gameschooling teens and tweens? Do you have a story to share about how a game helped your middle or high school student to learn a skill or overcome an obstacle? Share here!
- The Best Early Math Games for Your Homeschool - January 24, 2021
- Homeschooling Reflection: Loss of the Big Yellow Bus - January 21, 2021
- How to Make Read-Alouds Memorable in Your Homeschool - January 17, 2021