Games to Keep Your Tween’s Mind Active and Off a Screen


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Teach a kid to play the game of chess.Keeping your tween off screen devices is no easy task. They have reached the age that toys won’t keep them occupied, much less interested. For our house, dolls are no longer a constant source of entertainment with outfit changes and made-up stories. Now it’s television shows, tablet time, and texting with friends.

How can you keep your child engaged in activities other than on a screen? 

Board games can be a way to go. It’s a pseudo-grownup activity that keeps your young adult and friends active and actually talking to each other. Here are some of the top favorites in our house when we need to divert from devices. These are great for both your young adult and adults in the family. 

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Sequence is a game of strategy. It uses chips and cards to create a sequence, but in order to win you have to block and even learn how to reduce your opponents chips. This game is great for ages seven and up and can be played with two to 12 players. It’s easy to learn, too. The cost of purchasing the game is around $18.

stacked colorful diceTenzi

The first time I played Tenzi was with my adult friends, but it has now become a staple in our family and on family trips where we have a variety of ages playing. This is a dice game that encourages fast reaction and decision-making skills. The pace of this game makes it fun and very competitive since the pace at which you roll the dice assists in your ability to rule the game. There are a variety of ways to play the game so it never gets boring or monotonous. This game is good for ages seven and up and can be played with two to four players. It can be found for around $15.

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My daughter played Pente at her friend’s house for hours one day. She begged me to buy it so we could play at home. Again, this is another strategy game that gets kids thinking. It’s easy to learn, so kids stay engaged from the start. It’s a game of capture and uses a board with playing pieces. This game is for two to four players and could be played in as little as five minutes or up to 30 minutes. It has been around since 1970, and you can buy it for only around $16. It is good for ages eight and up.


Chess is a classic game, but thanks to rising interest from prominence in television shows, such as the adult miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, it remains popular today. It is a great way to keep your child’s mind moving. Although it’s only for two players, it is always a challenge and can play a quick game or take some time. In case you need to learn chess alongside your child, you can also visit for some tutorials. A basic chess set can start as low as $9.


Another classic I have played since my youth is Yahtzee. It involves math and strategy. This dice game involves knowing basic poker game knowledge of a full house, small straight, and more. We typically play with the Yahtzee game sheets and dice, but my youngest also has an electronic version. I know this means a screen, but it’s simply the game with no additional features and it allows her to play in the car or on the couch. This game is good for two or more players and the good news is that the basic game can cost as little as $6. This makes it fun and affordable.

Diverting from screen time can be a struggle, but once you get your child engaged in a game with family or friends, they just might see a world beyond their phones, computers, and television. Happy board gaming!


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