If you have a younger child and a new gaming system, you may be wondering what video games to get. We’ve been reviewing games since my son was 3, so our expertise lies in games for kids under the age of 8. Our preferred gaming system is the Nintendo Switch, but most of these games are available on all platforms.
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10 Best Games for Younger Kids
Ugly Dolls: An Imperfect Adventure
Ugly Dolls by Outright Games was one of the first games my son started playing on his own. There is reading involved, so you’ll have to help the little ones understand what to do, but once they pick it up, it’s easy. You do basic tasks and collect certain objects to advance to the next round. You also collect items then “spend” them on crafting objects that help with your quest. The crafting and item inventory can get a little complicated, but it does help introduce them to concepts they’ll use in other games like Minecraft or Fortnite.
The repetitive game play is where it’s good for the younger kids. Once they get the hang of it, they can run around the board as long as they want, opening baskets and collecting coins. They can then spend the coins on things like phone calls, helpful objects and new crafting skills. Then they just follow the arrow around the screen until the task is complete.
Read the full game review here:
A game list for kids can’t be complete without mentioning Minecraft. My son has been obsessed with it for a couple years. For parents worried about the open communication with other players, you don’t have to have that enabled for them to play. My son plays it on the iPad and on the Switch.
Minecraft offers unlimited potential for being creative and designing your own world, or you can use it like my son and just go around whacking things with your sword. Either way, kids seem to love this one.
CoComelon: Play with JJ
CoComelon: Play with JJ by Outright Games is a good choice for your youngest gamers and CoComelon fans. My son wasn’t very into this one because he’s 7 and past the CoComelon age and not really familiar with the show. But if you do have a little fan, this game gives them a chance to have a playdate at JJ’s house, where they’ll meet his friends and family, play musical minigames and play learning games with shapes and numbers.
There are lots of fun interactive objects to pick up and play with, and you can sing along to CoComelon songs while building your sticker collection along the way. The controls and gameplay are kept simple with little gamers in mind.
Just Dance 2022
Just Dance 2022 by Ubisoft is a game the whole family can get into! It’s easy to follow, and you can also customize how hard it is by choosing different songs and dances. My son had a lot of fun wearing mom out with this one, lol.
Read the full Just Dance game review here:
PAW Patrol The Movie: Adventure City Calls
PAW Patrol The Movie: Adventure City Calls by Outright Games is a very simple “collect-a-thon” type game aimed at younger gamers and PAW Patrol fans. Your 5 and under gamers will probably have the best time with this one, as your main goal is to follow a path and collect dog bones. You also unlock minigames where you drive the pup’s vehicles. That was my son’s favorite part!
Read the full PAW Patrol game review here:
Anything in the World of Mario
I could do a whole blog post on Super Mario games alone, so I’m lumping them in one section. Mario Kart, Mario Odyssey, Luigi’s Mansion…my son loves them all. All of them are family-friendly and fun to play for both kids and adults.
Gigantosaurus: The Game
Gigantosaurus: The Game by Outright Games has just the right mix of dinosaurs, molten lava, problem solving and racing challenges to keep kids interested. The controls are easy to figure out, the game play makes it easy to follow by creating a sparkly trail to keep you going in the right direction, and just when you get bored of running around picking up eggs, you get to do a fun race.
Read the full Gigantosaurus review here:
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is not exactly aimed at younger gamers, but they can still play it with a bit of help. My son started playing this one with me just before he turned 4, and we both played it together almost daily over an entire summer. His favorite part is battling the various monsters and getting new weapons.
There’s reading involved and understanding concepts like buying and selling and crafting recipes. I found the game even helped my son learn a few things with math and reading. I’m including it on this list even though it is better for the older kids because my son really loved it at a young age.
The game has been out for years and it’s always $60! That’s how popular it is. I also recommend getting the DLC’s available after you beat the game. And there is a part two in the works, but it won’t be out until next year.
DC League of Super Pets: The Adventures of Krypto
DC League of Super Pets: The Adventures of Krypto by Outright Games ties in with the cute Super Pets movie and lets you play as either Krypto or Ace to protect the streets of Metropolis from the evil Lex Bots. This one can get a little repetitive and is easy to complete the whole game in a short amount of time. It says for 10 and up, but it will be more fun for the younger gamer who will find it more of a challenge.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
This is a game for ALL ages and is surprisingly addicting and even educational. My son has learned about all kinds of different bugs and fish because he catches them in the game. He even tried eating fish because of it! You can build an island and everyone in the family can have their own house and be a resident. The game follows the seasons, and each season has new things to catch and new DIY projects to create.
Read more about playing Animal Crossing here:
Honorable Mention: Race with Ryan
Race with Ryan by Outright Games is great for little kids that are fans of watching Ryan on YouTube, but if they are older than 4 or don’t know who Ryan is, I’d say go with Mario Kart. This game is very similar, although scaled down to a simpler level and suitable for younger gamers who might not be ready to race with Mario. It’s filled with clips of Ryan and his family, along with cartoon characters and cartoon versions of Ryan in different outfits.
Read our full Race with Ryan game review here:
The games on this list are some of our favorites that we were able to play and test out and truly enjoyed. If you have any questions about games for kids, feel free to leave me a comment!
About the Author
Candy Keane is a digital content creator and long-time cosplayer, most well-known for being on the cover of the Star Wars documentary Jedi Junkies. After making costumes professionally for over a decade, she now writes about about geek culture and mom life, and continues to cosplay for fun, while sharing her love of costumes on Instagram @SewGeekMama. Her first children’s book, I’m Going to My First Comic Convention, was published in 2020 and won a Story Monsters Approved award for Excellence in Literature.