Gaming For Little Kids


This thread reminded me that I have a Wii that I haven’t hooked up in years. I think Mario Kart should be amazing with my boy. We’ll see how it goes this weekend.


Have 4 year old, can confirm.

He had trouble remembering to hold the accelerator at the same time as steer, but enjoyed it still.


I’m old, so I’m going to recommend bicycle + dirt mound with no supervision or safety equipment.


Good timing, I was just thinking about making this thread.

I’m trying to think about how to introduce my daughter (4) to gaming. She hasn’t shown all that much interest, but she also didn’t show much interest in TV until fairly recently. She’s hates sitting still and would much rather be interacting with us on the couch than watching TV, even if it’s on. It’s only really in the last year or so that she’s even wanted to watch TV. So, while I know that there are kids that can handle a controller at that age, I think she’s going to just be a little slower to engage with video games.

She’s also extremely conflict-averse. I’ve played a little bit of Zelda with her, and she wanted me to cut grass and catch bugs, but really didn’t like it when I got into fights. She watched me play Mario Odyssey for a bit, mostly long enough for me to run around as a T-rex, but sort of wandered away shortly after that.

The Toca Boca games look great! I was just starting to look for some games for our Xmas travels (she has a kids Kindle Fire that she mostly just watches Disney movies on). She loves dress-up stickers and colorforms and things like that, so I imagine she’ll like digital versions of the same.

Bit trip runner, mentioned above, sounds interesting, because it’s basically just a one-button experience, and I think that might be a nice gentle intro. She loves music as well.

Some of the switch e-shop kiddie stuff looks adorable (e.g. Yono And The Celestial Elephants), but those seem mechanically complex for her.


Anyone have any good game recommendations for a 10 year old with a Kindle Fire? He doesn’t really like Minecraft. He has enjoyed some restaurant type games. He also likes Rayman Jungle Run. I think he also likes Snail Bob which is pretty easy. It doesn’t need to be a free app or anything - just something worth while.


There is really zero reason to expose any 4 year old to any other gaming platform than an iPad IMO. It’s so damn good at that, pretty much the platonic ideal of a small kid game device.

(Also I recommend the big grips case, should fit the standard 2017 iPad fine, I’d think, but not the pro. Obviously don’t get your 4 year old a pro. I made that mistake one and never again.)

As an older kid, sure, begin to widen the exposure…


I sort of feel the exact opposite. Keep the phones and tablets away from them as long as you can and try to get them to think of technology as being more social than most touch-screen devices allow.

To each his own, I guess.


I meant digital gaming platforms. Sorry if my language wasn’t precise enough. If we’re in luddite mode, sure, no exposure to any electricity. Boardgames and cards are fine.


Ultimately, everybody has to deal with their kids’ behavior in context of their own family, etc. I used to let my kids play with the iPad(s) we have. They frequently fought about it, were cranky, etc… So we completely cut out the iPads. They play a lot of card and board games, but also play a lot of PS4 and Switch game, primary co-op ones. I guess the forced turn-taking with the single player games (Mario Odyssey, for example) and the co-op in Minecraft, Rayman, etc… got them used to gaming as an experience they share with each other and with their parents. We try to play as many 4-player co-op games together as we can. Anyhow, for my kids, it’s dramatically improved their behavior around gaming and electronic devices.

I’m not trying to suggest, in any way, that it’s the right approach for everybody. Cutting iPads out of the routine really improved the mood around my house, though.


Hmm, true, most iPad games aren’t super social in terms of in-person sharing. One exception is Toca Store, where you flip the iPad and one person becomes the buyer and the other person the seller. Toca Tea Party is also fun for more than one person because you serve the tea, cakes, and let everyone drink and eat them. Even clean up spills!

errrmm I might know too much about this


Anyone have suggestions for the Switch that aren’t fighting/shooting/death games? My wife has strong opinions about such things but I want to play games with my kids, so co-op, non-violent games are pretty much our only options to preserve a happy home.

On the Wii, we all enjoyed the ‘build a zoo’ type of games, but not sure what’s out there for switch that’s got that same vibe. Certainly can’t play xenoblade or zelda, but maybe the latest mario. Snipperclips should work. Probably not mariocart. You can see why I’m asking for help…


The Switch has Minecraft, if that’s not too far down the violence slope. You could set up a creative world without monster spawns to be completely violence-free. If Mario passes muster, that’d be a good choice as well – the second player can take control of the cap. There’s a Picross game. Maybe Puyo Puyo Tetris? World of Goo?

It’s true that the Switch’s library isn’t very well-developed in this specific area. Also, I don’t have kids yet, so I might be way off!


Stardew Valley!


Ahhh, I knew I was missing an obvious one! Stardew Valley is basically as inoffensive as it gets.


Maybe Mario Kart would work if you included your wife in the game with the kids? It has “weapons” but they are the Mario variety and many item boxes have other power ups that aren’t weapons at all. Deluxe on Switch even has an easy play mode where steering is basically optional.


I just started up Stardew Valley with my 4 year-old, and he loves it.


As an iPad gaming update, the Toca Boca games were a success, but surprisingly, my daughter liked the mini-games ones (Pet Doctor) more than the free form sticker (Toca Life) ones.

The surprise hits were the Sago Mini games, which are objectively less value (3-5 activities, half as many as in Pet Doctor), but which my daughter positively adores thus far. They have some recurring animal characters, which may be why. Similar to Toca Boca, they’re clean in presentation, have no in app purchases or ads, and are fully functional offline.

Apparently, all 4 year olds want with a video game is the ability to make a gross smoothie and watch somebody drink it and make a funny face. Who knew?


Oh yeah and you can combine colors in the smoothie by pressing multiple buttons at once.

Like I said, I know way too much about this stuff. I’m sorry.


We’ve been playing Passpartout lately. She already liked using MS Paint, so having the computer tell her she did a good job is somehow even better.


You may want to check out this on the iPad. It’s free to try and cheap to unlock everything.