I remember sitting across from my teen son at Bob Evans Restaurant on a chilly fall evening. He was grinning… something I hadn’t seen in weeks. We were playing cards, chatting, and enjoying each other’s company — no agenda — and we had amazing conversations. Right then I vowed to find more things he and I could do together.
I started with games because they were easy, and could be played at home and on the road.
Great Games for Teens
We love to play games as a family, and here are some of our teen’s favorites. They might be a great inspiration for your family, too.
Playing Cards:: It’s so easy to keep a deck of cards in your purse or car to pull out during wait times or at the park while the younger kids play. Try old favorites like poker, pinochle, and casino, or find new games to love with a great book like The Ultimate Book of Family Card Games.
Speed Sketch:: This is a super fun pictionary-type math and science game invented by the man behind some of our favorite math challenge books — Ed Zaccaro. You can only get it on his website or at a convention where he’s speaking. Totally worth it.
Pandemic:: Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. Players work together playing to their characters’ strengths and planning how to eliminate the diseases before they take over the world. LOVE that this one is cooperative!
Forbidden Island:: This is another cooperative game — and so fun! Players use strategies to keep the island from sinking, while trying to collect treasures and items. As the water level rises, it gets more difficult- sacrifices must be made.
Scrabble To Go:: Scrabble is a classic and fun for the whole family. We tuck this travel version in the van so we can play with the older kids if we’re at a restaurant or waiting somewhere.
Rory’s Story Cubes:: This fun story-building game is new everytime you play it, and my teen and tween both love it. I keep one in my purse, one in the van, and another at home — plus we have expansion sets.
Codenames:: LOVE this one! From the description: Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their codenames. The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first.
Ticket to Ride:: A classic for good reason, the Ticket To Ride game is a cross-country train adventure that celebrates Fogg’s impetuous and lucrative gamble to travel “Around the World in 80 Days” by proposing a new wager. The stake is a $1 million prize in this winner-takes-all competition.
Catan:: With a new board created every time you play, Catan is a favorite game of strategy around here. In fact, my husband and his cousins STILL get together a few times a year to play, and are bringing the teens along with them.
Carcassonne:: Simple to learn, but super fun to play on a game night — especially if you have ore than two players. You work to build cities and roads, and try to keep your opponents from doing the same.
Rummkikub:: This is an oldie but goodie. Part of the reason I love playing it with my teen so much is that my grandmother played it with me as a teen.
Exploding Kittens:: My kids all love this one — but my teen and tween especially love the absurdity of the cards and the game itself.
Games remain one of my biggest secret weapons when trying to connect with my teen. These suggestions are definitely just the tip of the iceberg. What are some of your favorites? Share below!