With many modern parents having grown up with video games themselves, it's only natural that they might want to share the gift of gaming with their kids. Unfortunately, however, figuring out which games are suitable for young children isn't always easy, particularly with many of the titles that are marketed toward kids offering online access and microtransactions.
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Common Sense Media is a great tool in this regard, as too are video-sharing sites like YouTube and Facebook. Of course, the best way to establish whether or not a game is suitable for one's child is to play it together with them so as to get a better feel for the content they'll be consuming. Many of the best PC games for children include parental controls as well, which parents should be sure to make use of wherever possible.
Updated November 4, 2022, by Tom Bowen: Finding the best computer games for kids can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Obviously, making sure that the themes and ideas addressed by a game are age-appropriate is chief among them, but it's far from the only thing that parents will need to consider. Trying to get a child to play a game that's designed for somebody much younger than them can lead to them becoming disinterested or feeling as though they're being babied, while a game that's too challenging or complicated could make them feel sad or upset. As such, it's important to strike a healthy balance when choosing games for young children, as many of the best PC games for kids tend to do.
A lot of the most popular children's video games feature online connectivity and microtransactions. With this in mind, parents should be sure to monitor who exactly their kids are speaking to and be sure to remove or password-protect payment details so that their children are unable to spend their money, either intentionally or by mistake.
The Best PC Games for Kids Aged 3-7
When it comes to PC games that are suitable for young children, parents need look no further than Minecraft. It's a game that encourages kids to unleash their inner creativity, allowing them to build just about anything they can imagine. The game does feature basic combat, but, thanks to its blocky art style, it's incredibly tame and doesn't feature any blood. If parents are still worried, however, they can set the difficulty to Peaceful mode in order to remove hostile mobs altogether.
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LEGO Worlds offers a similar, albeit more basic experience to Minecraft, though, as one might expect, it does place more of an emphasis on building things than it does combat. Many of the other LEGO games are a bit more action-oriented, however, with LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens being one of the better examples. Kids may not understand the story, but they should still enjoy the gameplay and sound effects and can even play through the game in split-screen co-op mode with a parent or older sibling.
It's worth noting that young children don't always need to be good at a video game to have fun playing it. Ubisoft's Grow Home is a prime example of this. Realistically, most kids will never help the cute little robot B.U.D. to reach the very top of the beanstalk without assistance, but the game's vibrant visuals and excellent sound design should serve to stimulate their senses nonetheless. The same could also be said of Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, which is also fairly educational to boot.
Other Great PC Games that are Suitable for Children Aged 3-7
- Ben 10
- Chicory: A Colorful Tale
- Crayola Scoot
- Farm Together
- Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix
- Paw Patrol: On A Roll
- Tetris Ultimate
- Untitled Goose Game
The Best PC Games for Kids Aged 8-12
Roblox can be highly enjoyable for young children, though it does come with some pretty major caveats that parents should be aware of. For starters, they'll want to ensure that their child's age is set to below 13 so that they're unable to chat with anybody who isn't on their friends list. In addition to this, they should be sure to set a parent pin so that kids can't change the settings or spend money without them knowing.
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Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a great game to introduce young children to competitive gameplay, not to mention a lot of fun. Voice chat isn't needed to enjoy the experience either, so parents don't need to worry too much about who their kids are playing online with. Those looking to ease their kids into the RPG genre early on should instead consider Stardew Valley, an expansive farming simulator with charming and inoffensive visuals. It's full of positive messages and great role models too and is relatively easy to understand.
Those on the lookout for an excellent platformer for kids around ten years old could certainly do a lot worse than A Boy and His Blob. The game is built around a heartwarming tale of friendship and serves as an excellent entry point to the popular genre. Similarly, Forager is a great starting point for anybody looking to dip their toes into the world of open-world games and will also introduce kids to the kind of crafting, cooking, and survival mechanics that can be found in many modern video games.
Other Great PC Games that are Suitable for Children Aged 8-12
- A Hat In Time
- Cat Quest
- Dragons: Dawn of New Riders
- Just Dance 2023
- Minecraft Dungeons
- Octodad: Dadliest Catch
- Planet Coaster
- Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
- Rayman Legends
- Unravel 2
The Best PC Games for Kids Aged 13-17
Fortnite is a battle royale game in which players go head to head until only one is left standing. Thematically, it may seem like a pretty mature game, but it's no more violent than a lot of modern kid's cartoons. Before leaving their kids unsupervised, however, parents should familiarize themselves with the game's monetization system and set up parental controls. For younger kids, it might also be worth disabling voice chat altogether from the settings menu.
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Overcooked! 2 is a co-op game in which players must work together in order to prepare food orders as quickly as possible. It's great for teaching kids about teamwork and an excellent pick for those looking for games to play as a family. Guacamelee! is another fun co-op game thanks to its bright and colorful visuals. The platforming can be a little tricky in places, but it's a great introduction to the action platformer genre nonetheless.
A lot of the video games that are marketed toward teenagers feature combat of some kind, which some parents may not be too thrilled about. For those who don't mind playfighting though, WWE 2K22 provides a pretty decent compromise. Like many of its predecessors, the game does feature blood, though this can be turned off in the settings menu. Anyone who'd prefer to steer clear of violence altogether should instead buy their kids Return to Monkey Island, a point-and-click adventure game that requires a lot of critical thinking.
Other Great PC Games that are Suitable for Children Aged 13-17
- Among Us
- FIFA 23
- Jurassic World Evolution
- Marvel's Avengers
- Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
- Planet Zoo
- Rocket League
- Sonic Mania
- The Sims 4
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