Educational Games for Middle School Kids

Michele Meleen
Contributor: Lori Soard
playing board game

Educational games for middle school kids can be as simple as a quick game of Monopoly or as intricate as math drills. Tweens still love to have fun, but so many of the games that entertained them when they were younger are now deemed as "babyish." Fortunately, there are many creative options for middle school educational games to keep students entertained while still allowing them to learn new skills.

Middle School Fun/Game Days

Why not host a game day at your house and invite your middle schooler's friends? Games can involve manual dexterity and hand/eye coordination such as water balloon tosses or Frisbee; or try board games like Apples to Apples which can help students learn new words and expand their vocabulary skills. Here are a few other ideas for game day:

Creative Competitions

Educational games for middle school kids can also include games that boost brain power. Many of these games can be used in a school setting or adapted for family or party use. Use your creativity to come up with additional ideas,

DIY Jeopardy Study Game

Make up your own game of Jeopardy, using topics the kids are studying in school or as a review of topics studied in the last school year. This can be a fun way to study for an upcoming test or serve as a fun game to play in class. You can find free jeopardy-style questions for kids online or make up your own where each question is a statement and players must give an answer in the form of a question.

  • Use a wacky item like a squeaky dog toy as the buzzer to make it funnier.
  • Play with a large group by having contestants stand in three lines. When the person in the front gets a wrong answer, they go to the end of the line.
  • Hide jeopardy questions of different point values around the room to add an active element.

Live Action Clue Game

Create a mystery game and invite over some of your child's friends to play this active middle school game inspired by the board game Clue. Have the kids seek out clues and guess who committed the crime to exercise their critical thinking and memory skills. Gather prizes for the winning team.

  • Assign each kid an educational persona. For example, if you're using a literary theme each person could be a famous author.
  • Provide funky dress-up clothes and have tweens create their own costumes.
  • Get creative with clues by having kids complete a science experiment or math problem to get their next clue.

Historical Would You Rather

Turn the classic talking game of "Would You Rather?" into a fun history game by asking questions related to U.S. or world history topics. For example, you could ask "Would you rather fight the natives and take their land or live with them in peace?" or "Would you rather form a colony or return to England" when talking about U.S. colonization and history. This quick game to play in class or at home takes only a few minutes to plan.

  • Choose a singular topic and require each student to frame their question about a significant event from that era.
  • Take time to discuss the answers after each turn.
  • Sort players into groups based on their answers such as "rebels" for those who choose to do things differently than historical figures did or "true historians" who pick the same path that actually happened.

Two Science Truths and a Lie

group of teens playing a game

"Two Truths and a Lie" is a common icebreaker game for tweens and teens. The object in this game is to use scientific facts and myths to stump your classmates. Assign each student a specific topic such as laws of motion, the human body, or the scientific process. Students must then gather two facts and one myth related to their subject. When the group reconvenes, kids take turns saying their two truths and one lie. The rest of the group must decide which statement is the lie. Anyone with a wrong guess is out of the game and gives their research to someone who is still in the game.

  • Award points for correct answers instead of people getting out for wrong answers.
  • Allow experimentation time after each turn so kids can try to deduce the answer if they don't know it.
  • Offer a fun science prize to the winner like a rocket kit.

Online Educational Games for Middle School Kids

It can be difficult to find books, magazines and online sites appropriate for a middle schooler because they are too old for little kid games and too young for teen games. There are some great online sites that offer games geared at middle school kids.

Scratch Animation

Built for kids ages 8 to 16, Scratch is all about animation.

  • Tweens learn how to code and animate their own creations from brainstorming to sharing with the world.
  • You can play games created by other kids for a unique gaming experience.
  • If your middle schooler loves tech, art, writing, and can't find a game they love, they can use Scratch to build their own game!

Deep Sea Duel

Challenge your friends or Okta the computer octopus in Deep Sea Duel, a game of math skill, speed, and strategy.

  • Made to align with standards for grades 3 to 5 and 6 to 8, you can choose the easier 9-bubble version or the harder 16-bubble version.
  • Two players take turns grabbing a number bubble in an effort to get the desired sum before their opponent can.
  • The game is free and you don't have to register to play.

Prodigy Math

Animated wizards meet math skills practice in Prodigy, an online fantasy game.

  • Kids up to Grade 8 can create their own tiny wizard character then engage classmates, friends, or computer-generated foes in math battles to earn stars and new items for their character.
  • During each math battle, there are instructions and tools tweens can use to help solve the problems.
  • This game is free, can be used in school or at home, and has membership subscription options if desired.

Mission US

Students are challenged to make important decisions throughout U.S. history through five different missions in Mission US.

  • In each mission, you take on the role of a different 14-year-old from a different decade in American history.
  • Players are challenged to weight multiple kinds of evidence and understand different perspectives.
  • The game is free, but you do need to create an account to play.

Past/Present

Take a journey through early American history in Past/Present.

  • Play as the male mill owner or the female mill worker living four days in the early 1900s.
  • This single-player game is free to play and takes a few hours to complete.
  • You'll need to create a free account and install a plugin to get started in this historical drama made for middle school students.

Other Middle School Educational Game Ideas

two girls playing a board game

There are dozens and dozens of educational games for middle school kids which parents and teachers can purchase, such as:

  • Complete sentences by using the 5 W's of who, what, where, when and why in Super Sentence.
  • You are a great world leader trying to assert your power in 7 Wonders, a tabletop strategy card game that features learning about building a successful civilization.
  • In Language Detective for grades 5-12 kids travel around the board looking for spelling, punctuation and capitalization errors.
  • Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? is a family board game teaches children geography, problem-solving and history skills.
  • Kids will have a hard time deciding if the game or the name of the game is more fun when playing Farkle. Players must add numbers quickly in their mind in this dice game of chance, which strengthens math skills.
  • Players travel around the board and through the wilderness as they learn about American history and geography in the board game Lewis & Clark: The Expedition.
  • In Trivial Pursuit Family Edition middle schoolers can test their brain power in various topics such as Geography, Entertainment, History, Sports and Leisure, Arts and Literature, and Science and Nature.

Fun With a Purpose

These are just a few of the options available for middle school educational games. Don't rule out the value of learning about the world around you. Many kids learn the most hands-on, and some of the best educational games for middle school kids include scavenger hunts and nature exploration in their own neighborhood.

Educational Games for Middle School Kids