The best video games for kids, sorted by age group, for April 2019

The video game industry has grown exponentially over the years to become the most popular entertainment medium in the world. Games can be enjoyed by people of all ages. They both entertain and stimulate our minds, and playing games with others can create lasting memories. Gaming can be a rewarding experience for families as well. It provides a good opportunity for parents to bond with their kids while taking part in an activity both can enjoy. We’ve put together a list of games that are fun for both parents and kids. We’ve separated the games into sections by age suggestions, but you know your kids better than us of course.

Ages 3+

Super Mario Odyssey

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Super Mario Odyssey is one of the best 3D platformers ever made. While Mario games have always leaned on the accessible side, Super Mario Odyssey has a really great feature for kids: Assist mode. With Assist mode activated, Mario’s health doubles, falling off the map doesn’t lead to instant death, and a marker always guides you to your objective. Since Odyssey‘s planets are rather large and densely populated with stuff to look at and do, Assist mode removes some of the challenges and distractions for young players.

You can also have one player control Mario while the other takes hold of Cappy, Mario’s sentient hat. Playing as Cappy is ideal for players five and younger who have little to no experience with controller-based video games. Or you could always swap the controller each time someone finds a moon. No matter how you play Super Mario Odyssey, it’s a pure delight for both young kids and parents.

Read our full Super Mario Odyssey review

Yoshi’s Crafted World

Yoshi's Crafted World review

Yoshi’s Crafted World is arguably the cutest game on Switch. Yoshi’s Island has been transformed into a land made of cardboard and construction paper. Yoshi still has his egg tossing abilities, but this time he can sling eggs into the backdrop of stages. Yoshi’s Crafted World is a 2D platformer with depth, allowing you to explore the background of stages.

It’s an excellent choice for kids just starting out with video games. Yoshi’s Crafted World encourages a slow pace, with no time limits and little risk of death (even easier if playing on Mellow difficulty). Exploration is key in Yoshi’s Crafted World and two players can enjoy local co-op. In local co-op, one player can hop on the other’s back at any time, which comes in handy during tricky platforming sections. Adorable, superbly designed, and full of whimsy, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a great choice for parents of young kids.

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

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New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe uses the classic sidescrolling orientation for its Mario platforming. A collection of two Wii U games — New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi UDeluxe is one of the best Nintendo Switch games around. The worlds are exceedingly colorful and vibrant,  the platforming is excellent, and the Nintendo charm exudes with every jump.

Deluxe introduces two new playable characters, Toadette and Nabbit, each of whom make the levels more approachable for young kids. Nabbit cannot take damage from enemies, and Toadette can pick up a crown that turns her into Peachette, who can practically fly. Additionally, Deluxe supports co-op for up to four players so the whole family can partake in the Super Mario goodness together.

Read our full New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe review

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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As far as racing games go, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is both one of the easiest to play and the most fun. Featuring colorful, vibrant visuals, a simple control scheme, and all the Nintendo characters you could want in a game, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is one of the best multiplayer games on Switch.

Its wide selection of themed tracks in combination with battle modes that make use of the game’s awesome items give it immense legs. This is the sort of game you and your family will come back to for years to come. It’s that good.

Read our full Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review

LEGO games

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Since 2005, officially licensed LEGO games have given kids and parents awesome ways to experience hugely popular intellectual properties such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and a slew of superhero franchises. Almost all of these lovingly-crafted experiences have been worth playing cooperatively with kids both young and young at heart.

LEGO The Incredibles came out just in time for The Incredibles 2, and LEGO DC Super-Villains arrived late last year. With simple action gameplay, cooperative puzzles, and storylines often mirroring the movies at hand, the LEGO games are a great jumping off point for young kids looking to get into games. The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame is just around the corner, too.

Rayman Legends

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No arms, no legs, no problem. Ubisoft’s limb-impoverished hero, Rayman, has starred in a series of great platforming games, both 2D and 3D, but Rayman Legends is the hero’s absolute best outing. This 2D sidescroller is colorful, inventive, expertly-designed, and brimming with excellent content.

It’s perfect for fans of Mario. Rayman Legends is especially good for a family game night, as it features drop-in, drop-out cooperative play for up to four players. This is the type of multiplayer experience that can be enjoyed by young kids, teenagers, and parents all at the same time. It’s available on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Read our full Rayman Legends review

LittleBigPlanet 3

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For platforming fans with creative minds, LittleBigPlanet 3 is an absolute can’t miss a game. The main adventure, starring Sackboy, features great levels with puzzles easy enough for small kids to solve. But where you will have the most fun with your kids is in the level creator.

LittleBigPlanet 3, like its predecessors, features a Create mode that lets you design and play your own side-scrolling levels. Not only does it add immense replay value to LittleBigPlanet 3, but it could spark an interest in game design for young players. You can play LittleBigPlanet 3 cooperatively as well, so it feels like a great choice for parents who are looking to get their children interested in games. LittleBigPlanet 3 is available on PS4.

Read our full LittleBigPlanet 3 review

Super Mario Run

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As this first Mario game for mobile devices, Super Mario Run takes a fitting approach. It’s an automatic runner with one-button touchscreen controls. Mario runs all by himself, so the only thing you have to do is jump over gaps, to hit power-ups, collect coins, and eliminate enemies. As such, Super Mario Run is a really good avenue for introducing kids to the iconic franchise.

It removes the need for controller fluency, while still letting kids experience the magic of the Mushroom Kingdom. Securing the game’s collectible gold coins is more of a challenge, though, one that will appeal to more seasoned gamers and parents alike. It’s the best of both worlds. Super Mario Run is available on iOS and Android.

Peggle 2

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One of the simplest and most satisfying games ever made, Peggle 2 is a puzzle game masterpiece from PopCap Games. You simply aim your shot, press a button, and watch as the metal ball pings around blue, green, and orange pegs. The objective is to clear all of the orange pegs within ten turns. You could call some of it luck, but aiming properly is really the name of the game.

We know this premise may sound boring, but it truly is one of the most addicting puzzle games around. Bright, colorful visuals, awesome sounds, and local multiplayer make this a great game to play with your kids — no matter how young they are. It’s simple to pick up, and incredibly hard to put down. Peggle 2 is available to download on Xbox One and PS4.

Read our Peggle 2 hands on

Yooka-Laylee

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Yooka-Laylee nods back to late-90s platformers, mainly Banjo Kazooie. As such, this colorful adventure starring a cute chameleon and lovable bat is a great piece of nostalgia to play with your kids. It features cooperative multiplayer, where one person controls Yooka and the other controls Laylee.

It’s all about securing collectibles, mastering jumps, defeating baddies, and solving puzzles. After the adventure is over, you can play a collection of competitive mini-games with up to four players. Yooka-Laylee is available on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

Read our full Yooka-Laylee review

A Hat in Time

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A Hat in Time is a joyous 3D platformer that follows a young alien girl, simply known as Hat Kid, trying to find her way back home. It compares favorably to early 3D platformers like Spyro and Super Mario 64.

Across the game’s four open-world levels, you solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and collect items that let you unlock new hats for new abilities. A Hat in Time supports local and online co-op for two players. It’s available on Xbox One, PS4, Switch, and PC.

Sonic Mania Plus

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Sonic Mania is the reincarnation of old-school Sonic, complete with retro visuals and, of course, lightning fast platforming gameplay. It gives parents a chance to relive their childhood and lets them introduce a game they played when they were young to their children of all ages.

It even features remixed versions of classic Sonic levels. Even better, you can play split-screen couch co-op, so there’s no need to pass the controller. Sonic Mania Plus is available on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

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