Ah, the age-old debate of whether or not children should be playing video games. Do they enhance intelligence, or are they too violent? Do kids spend too much time in front of screens? We’ve been through this before, and while there is conflicting research which backs up almost every single argument, it’s all about balance. If you find the right game, set boundaries and encourage them to engage in other hobbies as well as gaming, there is no doubt that a child will benefit and enjoy time spent playing a video game.
So, what are the right games for your children to be playing? Well, here are our favorite, non-violent, mentally stimulating games which promote physical activity and communication, and are a whole load of fun too.
Minecraft is, without a doubt, the greatest video game out there for kids (although there is Roblox too, which is great, and you can read about the pros and cons of these two popular games together, here). It has been a huge success with children, parents, teachers, schools and everyone in between. Users can explore and create their very own worlds, where the only limits are their imagination. They can also interact with players from around the world and build or create worlds together, meaning that Minecraft ticks all of the boxes; educational, social, creative, and always a load of fun.
Every child, at some point in their lives, has wanted to work in the zoo. Zoo Tycoon makes this a reality for players, where they can design, build and manage their own zoo. This is the perfect game for any child who loves animals more than cars or dolls, as they can have face-to-face interactions with the animals, adopt and care for them, and even release them back into the wild if they want!
Child of Light
This has to be one of the most highly acclaimed and beautiful video games out there that is available for kids. The graphics are illustrated stunningly with excellent detail, and the lead female character is a good role model for any child who doesn’t think girls can do what boys can do. This is a game that has a great storyline, and will result in hours of fun.
The Witness is a game for kids who really like a challenge. And not just any sort of challenge, but a hard and in-depth challenge. This game requires some serious brainpower and stamina! By solving puzzle after puzzle, users will travel from one colorful and diverse island to another, all while exercising and developing their problem-solving and cognitive skills. This is one of the most popular and memorable puzzle-solving games in circulation currently, and definitely worth encouraging little people to play.
Mario Kart8 Deluxe
We all remember Mario Kart from being kids, don’t we? Mostly playing it obsessively over and over with friends, or when we got a bit older and it came out on the Wii. Nintendo’s latest addition to the Mario Kart roster, Kart8 Deluxe, is just as breathtaking, and just as addictive. Although this game is made exclusively for their latest console, the Nintendo Switch, it’s a beautiful and breathtaking family game which can have up to four people playing each other at any one time. Great for teaching kids how to compete gracefully and to involve others.
An incredible journey through sight, sound, and movement, Disney Fantasia has been created to immerse children into the stunning world of visual effects and powerful music. Harnessing the power of the Kinect, players need to use natural movement based motion to direct and control their actions on the screen. This means that the game is not only engaging, but it is an active and physical way to spend some time, too.
Just Dance 2017
If you have a star growing up in your family, Just Dance 2017 is the game for them. With a star-studded lineup which could rival the Grammys, this will not only keep them involved, but will get them excited to play, too. Easily one of the most popular games with kids over the past few years, the Just Dance game series encourages your children to get active and perfect their dance moves to songs which have been pre-choreographed. They can compare and compete with their past performances, and can even challenge their friends anywhere in the world to beat their scores.
Farming Simulator 17
This may not sound like a riot of laughs, but Farming Simulator has been a huge hit amongst kids from all walks of life. Not just for kids from the country, this simulator game allows players to grow a working farm by tending to crops, harvesting produce, and selling their goods. This is a surprising game which needs quite a lot of strategy and thought put into it!
Angry Birds: Star Wars
Angry Birds started as an addictive iPhone game, and has progressed and exploded into one of the most popular franchises in the world. Angry Birds: Star Wars, is exactly what it says on the tin. This unlikely partnering of feathers and force is available on pretty much every platform there is, and stays in line with the traditional Angry Birds theme, with a great Star Wars twist.
LEGO has, and probably always will be, the most recommended toy for combining both learning and play. This video game brings the physical world of LEGO creation to the screen, with a huge list of A-list characters living in the block-world. This game is great for bringing together the hands-on and physical aspect of LEGO with the engagement and fun of video games.
Portal 2 has been around for a long time, but it still retains its magic and remains one of the greatest puzzle games available. This futuristic game has players jumping through gateways to progress from level to level, and requires thought and imagination to to crack. A brilliant option if you are looking for something to stretch your child’s mind!