The best video games for kids that are available today

While you wouldn't want your kid to spend all their waking hours in front of a screen, playing video games with them is a nice way to bond and make memories.


The argument exists that all the best games are great games for kids. If it's good enough for adults, the young ones should have fun with it, right? Well, not exactly. As much as older gamers tend to romanticize the "halcyon" days of gaming when regulatory bodies weren't as strict and gamers could pick up any title that they like, the games that most of us grew up playing weren't exactly what you'd call child-friendly.

Not all great video games are good for kids, but these ones are.

Not that we're against violence and gore here, but such controversial games have a time and place, which isn't in your child's growing brain.

Having said that, for parents who are struggling to find a game that they can feel safe about and their children can enjoy, either together or separately, we've decided to round up some of the best video games for kids that are available today.

Super Mario 3D World

Was it ever a surprise that a Mario game would be a part of a list on child-friendly games?

Platform/s: Nintendo Switch

Super Mario 3D World is, hands down, the most child-friendly game available on the Switch. Period. The open and wide levels encourage creative play. In addition, Nintendo found the perfect balance of simple controls without necessarily dumbing the gameplay experience down to the point of boring more experienced gamers. More importantly, Nintendo designed Super Mario 3D World with co-op play in mind. It's a no-brainer for when you want to spend time playing video games with your kids.

Although most if not all Mario games tend to be child-friendly, if you do have to start it out with one, Super Mario 3D World is our pick. As a bonus, the Nintendo Switch version comes bundled with Bowser's Fury.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

If the goal of each Zelda game is to make you feel a sense of wonder and excitement, Breath of the Wild understood the assignment.

Platform/s: Nintendo Switch

If you felt amazed after seeing the massive open world that Nintendo crafted specifically for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you can imagine what it will do to a child with a still-growing, imaginative mind. Breath of the Wild is a rare example of an RPG that caters to all levels. No matter if your kid just started out playing video games or they're old enough to enjoy the more challenging aspects of gaming, Breath of the Wild has something for everyone. Nintendo took its time designing the core mechanics of its gameplay and exploration to be friendly to all.

Even if your child takes months if not years to finish Breath of the Wild, that's not a problem. They'll have a blast just loitering around the game's highly interactive and detailed world. The best part is that they can play Breath of the Wild on the go!

With a sequel to Breath of the Wild expected to come out later this year, these two will be more than enough to tide your kid over for a while.

Minecraft

Just be careful about letting your children play Minecraft in multiplayer.

Platform/s: all but the kitchen sink

You know that a video game is good when even educational institutions are using it to help children learn more about problem-solving and creativity.

Minecraft is like LEGO but much cheaper and a lot more addictive. It's crazy to think that the best-selling video game of all time is probably just as old as your child and it will most likely end up being played by their grandchildren's children. We can write entire articles about how good Minecraft is, but we won't. Instead, we'll warn you - good luck trying to limit your kid's screen time.

Super Mario Maker 2

Whereas Minecraft is more of sandbox, Super Mario Maker 2 is a carefully curated LEGO set.

Platform/s: Nintendo Switch

Super Mario Maker 2 does a little bit of both Super Mario 3D World and Minecraft. The result is an excellent platformer for creative kids that comes with a full campaign mode, multiplayer, and a more robust building feature. If you thought that your child's Minecraft creations were shocking, wait until you see what they've created in Super Mario Maker 2.

Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts III is kind of like seeing your favorite Disney characters come to video game life.

Platform/s: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows

Say what you will about the convoluted storyline of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, but Square Enix knows what it's doing as far as the Disney crossovers go. Younger children won't be able to relate as much with older games on the account that most of the Disney characters that appear there aren't exactly fit for their age. However, in Kingdom Hearts III, Square Enix brought in a smorgasbord of the past decade's most recognizable figures, from Rapunzel to Baymax, Elsa, as well as classic characters like Hercules and Buzz Lightyear, among others.

Kingdom Hearts III also has a Beginner Mode that's perfect for kids who are not in it for the challenge.

The LEGO Games

Just as Emmet likes to sing all the time, "Everything is awesome" when it comes to LEGO games.

Platform/s: most modern gaming platforms

The LEGO games franchise is as timeless as the toys themselves and it's impossible to single out one. There's a LEGO game for every series that might come to your mind. We're talking about LEGO Batman and LEGO Star-Wars as well as every popular children's series in between. Speaking of, TT Games' LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is set to come out later this year. This is the perfect time to introduce your kid to the cinematic universe that you most likely grew up with.

Untitled Goose Game

Who knew that a game about an angry goose would be so fun?

Platform/s: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC

Children are an agent of chaos and we mean that in the most loving way possible. It's no sense trying to control them because they're hardwired to explore, be curious, and look for fun in the most mundane of tasks. So, what happens if you let them loose on a sandbox game that perfectly captures childhood in a nutshell?

Untitled Goose Game's premise is simple - you take control of a goose terrorizing a small town. It doesn't matter if it's something as simple as honking at someone from across the street, Untitled Goose Game is a pure joy to watch and even more fun to play. Just to prove that it's all in harmless fun, Untitled Goose Game is a BAFTA award recipient for the best family and social game.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Spyro is a little purple dragon off to save the rest of the dragons in the world, what's not to love?

Platform/s: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows

A remaster of the original trio of Spyro games, Spyro Reignited Trilogy updated the titles for today's platforms with a handful of "blink and you'll miss it" changes. For example, certain enemies back then held semi-automatic weapons, which the remaster switched with paintball guns. But, while these children's games are more child-friendly today than ever, the essence and core experience remains the same.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Just in case you need a "valid" excuse to get a PS5, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a game that your child will love sinking dozens of hours into.

Platform/s: PS5

The PS5 might be Sony's most powerful console yet, but it's far from child-friendly. Demon's Souls, Deathloop, and Returnal aren't exactly games you'd let your child play, if they'd even enjoy playing them in the first place. But, while the Sony console suffers from a severe lack of quality children's games, it does have one that should keep your child busy in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

A true showcase of the PS5's ability to do away with loading screens and mesmerize you with next-gen graphics, Rift Apart is a game that even adults would buy for the eye candy alone. Pair this with the heartwarming campaign and you've got yourself a winner in Rift Apart.

Any Pokémon game

Children and Pokémon go together like peas in a pod.

Platform/s: Nintendo Switch

If you had to pick one console and one game to give to your kid that you know they'd enjoy for a couple of months if not maybe even a year, go with any Pokémon game on the Nintendo Switch. Better yet, get your kid Pokémon Legends: Arceus. The latest Pokémon is a new experience even for someone who's spent decades catching these cute little critters.

There's also Pokemon Violet and Scarlet to look forward to later this year, which many are speculating will marry the best qualities of Pokémon Legends: Arceus and the classic Pokémon games.

What are the best games for my kids?

The best part about video games for kids these days is that you'll never run out of child-friendly options on any platform. It doesn't matter if you have an Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, or a PC, you'll find a game that your kid will enjoy just as much as you did when you were younger. So, if you're looking for a video game to get for your kid for whatever reason, take a look at our list and use it as a starting point.

By using these video games for children as a starting point, it will be easier for you to find games that are the best fit for your kid's gaming experience.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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