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Best learning gifts for middle schoolers

Smarts and fun all in one with 6 perfect presents for tweens.

By GreatSchools Staff

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Ages: 12 and up

A combination of a word search and puzzle game, Pathwords gets increasingly challenging as you move along. The goal? To fit the colored pieces over the words in each puzzle so that all of the letters are covered. Sound easy? Not so fast — sometimes the words are backwards, which can be tricky: "equip" didn't look like a word when spelled "piuqe." This is a single-player game and it can be quite addictive. Of course kids who want to play together can swap games or help each other out with each puzzle. There are a total of 40 games, from beginner to expert.

Bottom line: An addictive word game that also requires visual spatial skills.


Comments from readers

"With so many portable devices linked to the web, what kind of protections are available for our children? We have a housefull of teens and our home computer is in the family room where everyone gathers. We have parental controls so that our children and their visiting friends are blocked from content that is offensive &/or dangerous. Are the same kind of controls there for smart phones, iPhones, iPods & tablets? I cannot feel comfortable putting links to X-rated adult content in the pocket or backpack of my young high schoolers. Many thanks for any tips you may have! "