Video games and especially video games for kids can be quite a fiery topic. Do they enhance intelligence? Are they too violent? Do kids spend too much time in front of the television? While there is plenty of research to back nearly every conflicting viewpoint, for me it’s all about balance. Find the right game, set sensible boundaries, and there is no doubt that your child will benefit, and thoroughly enjoy their gaming experience.
So, what is the right game for your child and what are the best video games for kids? Well, here are nine of our favorites that are cognitively challenging, are non-violent, encourage physical activity and collaboration, and are a whole heap of fun.
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While we always strive to keep information as up to date as possible, the gaming world moves fast… Crazy fast. So if you are looking for the latest and greatest video games for our kids, check out the Digital Games Deals page on Amazon each month to see what’s hot and what you can get at a bargain price.
Most Popular Video Games for Kids
Minecraft would have to be the ultimate video game for kids! Its success with children, parents, schools, teachers, and everyone in between has been beyond incredible. Kids can create and explore their very own world where the only limit is their imagination. With players around the globe building and creating together, Minecraft ticks every box; it’s educational, social, creative and an endless source of fun.
I used to play Mario Kart as a kid myself… Obsessively. And Nintendo’s latest incarnation of the game, Mario Kart8 Deluxe, is just breathtaking! Developed exclusively for their latest and greatest console, the Nintendo Switch (a very cool concept and especially worth looking into if you want the ultimate console for younger kids) Mario Kart is the flagship game. With the ability to get 4 player multiplayer on a single TV, this is just the best game to get kids playing and competing together.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Roblox is a free-to-play “imagination platform” for kids. This platform seems to be aimed at the 12 and under crowd from my experience. Over 64 million active players go on Roblox to play games made by community members. There are over 29 million games to choose from. One of the great things about this game platform is children can take their love of gaming and become a creator – anyone is allowed to upload their own games.
So what do people play on Roblox? As of the time I’m writing this, Pizza Factory Tycoon, Jailbreak, and Vehicle Simulator are among the most popular. That will change through time of course. It’s free to sign up and play – there are in-game purchases but they aren’t mandatory. My youngest likes this platform more than Minecraft.
Ages: Everyone – though this is great for pre-teens in particular
4. Zoo Tycoon
I think it’s safe to say that we have all wanted to work in a zoo at some stage in our lives (I still do!). Zoo Tycoon makes this a reality for young players who can design, build and manage their very own zoo. The perfect game for all animal lovers, your child can have face to face interactions with their animals, adopt, care, and even release animals into the wild.[Update] Zoo Tycoon 2 is now available for PC!
With a star studded lineup that looks like the guest list for the Grammys, Just Dance 2017 will blow the minds of any music/dance lover. Easily one of the most popular video games for kids over the past few years, Just Dance encourages your child to get active and perfect their dance moves, choreographed to all of their favorite songs. They can compete against their past performances and even challenge friends anywhere in the world to beat their score.
What started as an amusing iPhone app has now exploded into one of the biggest games of all time. Angry Birds: Star Wars is, as you might have expected, the unlikely partnering of feathers and the force. Available on pretty much every platform imaginable, the game keeps the familiar Angry Birds gameplay, bringing it to the big screen in true Star Wars style.
It may sound like an unlikely video game for kids, but Farming Simulator is one of the biggest hits there has been in the simulation genre. Not just for kids from the country, Farming Simulator allows players to grow a giant working farm by tending to crops, harvesting produce, and selling goods. A surprisingly addictive and strategic game!
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
LEGO is far and beyond my most recommended toy for learning and play. LEGO Dimensions brings the physical world of LEGO creation to the digital world of gaming with an amazingly large list of A-list characters to the block-filled world. This is a brilliant game for blending the hands-on creation of LEGO with the engagement and fun of video games for kids.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360
Child of Light is one of the most beautiful and highly acclaimed video games for kids there is. With stunningly detailed and gorgeously illustrated graphics, Aurora the lead female character embarks on a quest to recapture the three sources of light and restore the kingdom of Lemuria. The perfect choice for any child that is absorbed by a fun, visual and playful storyline.
10. Portal 2
Portal 2 has been around for a while but it has not lost even a fraction of what made it such a huge hit. Still one of the best puzzle games ever created, Portal has players jumping through futuristic gateways to progress from level to level. Requiring a thoughtful and imaginative mind, Portal is a great option if you are looking for a fun, brain-stretching puzzle game to entertain and challenge your kids for hours.
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
11. The Witness
The Witness is one for those kids who really like a challenge. And I mean REALLY like a challenge. This game takes some serious brain power. Exploring a beautifully diverse and colorful island, kids will need to use all their logic and cunning to solve puzzle after puzzle. One of the popular puzzle games in recent memory, The Witness is an amazing video game… that requires some real deep thought.
Ages: 12+ (Everyone can play, it’s just very challenging)
Drawing your kids away from the screen can be a tough job sometimes, as can keeping them clean. But, with these unusually shaped soaps, the fun of gaming can be lived on away from the screen. These neat soaps are handmade, and you can specify the color and scent you as you like. The soap comes in a highly moisturizing formula, is animal cruelty-free, Vegan-friendly, detergent free, sulfate free, and vegetable based. These items are not only perfect for jazzing up bath-time but would be a great idea for a putting in your house during a birthday party or as an unusual gift.
So what other video games for kids would you recommend? Share your favorites in the comments below!