Games for my kid

My 4.5 year old son has been enjoying video games lately. His favorite is 'A Dog’s Life" - a PS 2 game where you explore the world as a dog. There’s minimal reading involved (a couple dialog boxes he can click through), and no time pressure (he can’t handle action games that require reflexes). And of course, the theme is good for a 4 year old.

Animal Crossing, in contrast, involves lots of reading, and lots of complex button interactions, so it’s beyond him, at this point.

Any other recommendations? Could be any of the systems for this generation, or previous generations (I have most systems).

You know, I usually just recommend the Grand Theft Auto Series, for it’s varied gameplay and entertaining themes, but this time I am going to go against type and suggest any game with a prop.

Have you tried the Donkey Konga games? A dance dance pad might be fun for him, if a little tough. (There’s a mario dance game.) In short, whatever you think would be most annoying to have him play all day is what he’d probably like.

Otherwise, Super Mario Allstars for Super Nintendo, Pitfall for Atari 2600, or Custer’s Revenge for same.

Flowers is never babysitting my son. :)

Phil- my son’s almost four and he’s hooked on a bunch of “educational” PC games involving various kid franchises like Arthur, Sesame Street, etc.
I know you’re looking for console stuff and I can’t really help you there, but there’s a metric assload of good PC stuff available.

Maybe I should go pick up a console so I can kick my kid’s ass at Madden.
Flowers’s dance pad idea is tempting, it would wear him out.

At that age my sons all loved the Spyro games on the original Playstation. They are just great platformers and very kid-friendly.

There’s a Wario Ware title for the Gamecube. Grab it.

DDR is also a good one. Get two and wear yourself out alongside him!

Yeah, we’ve got Donkey Konga and dance pads (with Jungle Book dancing). They don’t have much long term play value for my kids though.

I may check out the Wario Ware - do you think it’s too fast for kids without much dexterity (I remember the GBA version required quick reflexes)

I guess it would depend on the kid–but I’ve never thought of the WarioWares as requiring reflexes of the dexterity sort, simply of the recognizing-whats-happening-and-react sort. I.e., there’s really not any fingerwork involved, just seeing X microgame flash and quickly hitting B or whatever.

The GC title Winnie the Pooh’s Rumbly Tumbly adventure is cute although it’s probably not exactly the most in depth or replayable game. My 3 year old sort of likes it although she’s just not good enough with the controller so I have to help her all the time. 4.5 is probably about the right age for this.

My son (3) loves Burnout and the rainbow ATV/motorcross as hell to watch- how he ever learned to drive is beyond me, but he can almost complete some of the races in burnout at this point. In the ATV games we just put in sandbox mode and do stunts.
For kid only games- the tonka series is kind of sim city lite, and he loves it, and there is one with a pit crew that if I let him he would play for hours.

Any game like Midtown Madness with a “drive the city” option is great for young kids. No timer, no “lives” to worry about.

My middle son is bout 1 year older than yours, but he’s been playing the Ratchet & Clank games for at least that long, especially Going Commando. R&C is great, lots of weapon variety & rewarding feedback for blowing things up, infinite retries without worrying about conserving game lives. The Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Botton & movie games are well-enjoyed, too, but the Revenge of the Flying Dutchman is too hard for kids to enjoy.

You might also try Super Monkey Ball Deluxe for PS2 or Xbox, they have the advantage over the GC versions because they have the mini-games unlocked from the outset. The mini-games get played more than the main game with SMB, and it’s a good one to play with your kids.

My five year old daughter absolutely loves LEGO Star Wars. This is a great game to play co-op with your kid. I’ve spent hours with her playing this.

She also likes a lot of the early childhood games on the V-Smile console. (Simba and Winnie the Pooh in particular)

My 3 year old can play nintendogs. Loves it. The stylus makes it really easy to use as he is used to his leap pad.

In addition RailRoad Tycoon 3 is awesome if your son is into thomas etc. Just make tracks and let him “drive” the train using the over shoulder camera view.

I think Phil has RRT3 for some reason.

Toontown is good - albeit, at that age, probably not for long.

My 4 year old daughter played toontown for a few weeks, then quit.

She picked it back up at 6 (now) and enjoys it immensely.


When it came out, my boy was about 2.5. I had to set up a special version of the intro movie that would loop for him. He’d watch it 5 times in a row.

He’s not much into trains for the last 6 months or so. Which is fine, 'cause I was really getting tired of the local train museum.

I second Lego Star Wars. My 4 1/2 year-old son is completely addicted. It’s actually amazing watching him figure out the game.

I second the - my 4 year old loves the Winnie the Pooh game and the fact, that it’s her own console. We like that if we say yes to her playing it, she can turn it on and get going with no adult help.

Apart from that, she likes watching me kill stuff in WoW and really enjoys those exploration/pseudo ducational games on the PC (Teletubbies and a bunch of Scandinavian made games, that are really great but won’t be avaliable in your neck of the woods, because they’re based on popular IP, that is unknown outside the Nordic countries)

LOL some people don’t know how cool Q23 actualy is!

There was a fun Lego game for the PC that was an action-puzzle game, sort of like Lost Vikings, but with more henchman. Not sure if there was ever a console port of it.

I don’t know if these ever made it to the consoles either, but you can get a cheap used PC and let him play the Putt-Putt games and other games from Humongous. My kids always enjoyed those.

A Zelda story. My oldest was maybe 4-5 and played the Zelda game on either Nintendo or SNES. He puttered through Zelda for a long time, but for a week or two he couldn’t find a raft he needed to access new areas in the game. One night we had some relatives over, including my squeamish sister-in-law, and that was the very night Thomas finally found that damn raft while playing Zelda.

“THE RAFT!” he shouted. “THE RAFT!” My sister-in-law was in the kitchen and thought he shouted, “A RAT!” She screamed and jumped up and stood on a chair to avoid the rats she was sure were suddenly on the attack in our house.

I started my boys on simulations at age 4. No bloodshed, and they teach how things work. We never dumbed things down for them, and they enjoy the challenge (and ask to play all the time). This also stems, of course, from my gaming preferences (sims with some depth).

A big part of the fun for the kids crashing things, but they learn about how things work as they learn to make bigger and better crashes. At first I tried to discourage this behaviour, but then I understood it was teaching them (I do still encourge them on less destructive ways to play). They are 6 now, and its amazing what they have learned.

Any driving sim is good, but we use Live for Speed because it uses a good physics model and the cars are not Formula 1 fast. Has helped teach them things like inertia and how cars work (brakes, gearing, etc). We also play MS Flight Sim since it has no combat mode. They know about the various control surfaces of aircraft, how jets v prop v helos fly differently, and even more esoteric stuff like stall speed. Trainz is a great train sim for kids. Finally, we are starting to mess with Rollercoaster Tycoon. I have to help them design the coasters, but they are really enjoying talking about how the physics of the coasters work, and even about some of the basic economics of the park.