If you were to go into any video game store, you would most likely be hard pressed to find a video game that was age appropriate for your preschooler. The fact of the matter is, their hand eye coordination just isn’t there yet and the mechanics and stories will be over their head. Instead of trying to find a game for them, you can find a game for yourself that will also double as a suitable introduction to video games for your little one. This is what I did with my son, and I wanted to share some of the choices I made. All of these games I already owned (or at least, wanted to own and now had an excuse to buy) so if you don’t have any interest in a game, move on to the next. These are games that you will enjoy, but your little one will also have fun just messing around in the game world just running around. Some of these games will have cartoony violence in them, so you need to use your best judgement and decide whether it’s something that is right for your family. These video games are merely suggestions and won’t work for all kids, but if you have them in your library already, why not give it a shot?
Mario Kart is a game that many of us can track back to our early childhood. I remember playing Super Mario Kart on the SNES with my childhood friend as we mastered each racer and their unique style. While you won’t be seeing your little one finishing any races in the top spots, you will see them begin to master the controls as they learn how to accelerate, turn, and shoot the items they pick up. It took my son a while, but something crazy happened as he played with this game – he started finishing the races. I was shocked to watch him go from just running into walls to actually making turns (albeit, very poorly) but he was learning. It was fascinating to watch and Mario Kart on the Wii U is one of his go to games when we give him game time.
Disney Infinity is a great game for older kids, but if you were like me and wanted to get in on the Star Wars portion of 3.0, why wait? The game is actually pretty solid with a lot of creation tools and unique environments for you to explore. It’s for younger kids so you won’t find anything truly riveting, but there is a good time to be had here for all ages. My son likes to take all of the characters I purchased (most of the Star Wars ones with a special Mickey and Olaf that are his own) and just run around the “Toy Box Hub” with them. He’ll pick up the little followers and throw them around, hop into cars and drive off the edge of the world, and just do whatever he fancies. There is no goal in the hub and that’s the way he likes it. When he gets older, the story missions are there and we already have a solid set of toys for him to play with – just be forewarned, this is an expensive hobby.
Bonus: the toys are actually really fun for your little ones to play with.
Grow Home is a lesser known title from 2015 that came from Ubisoft. You probably haven’t heard of it and that’s ok, really any platformer that has cartoony graphics could double for this game. My son saw me playing Grow Home one day and instantly wanted to play “the robot.” Grow Home is a solid game for adults to enjoy, but my son really just likes running around with him and hearing the robotic sounds. There are no enemies except for gravity, so feel free to let them play until their hearts content (or dinner time).
Super Mario Maker and/or Mario Games
We have covered the impressive capabilities of Mario Maker for little ones before, so I won’t go too in depth with this, but know that this game is perfect for kids. You can create levels specifically tailored for them with no enemies and just simple jumps to help them learn from the same game that most of us mastered our skills with. This game thrives on user intervention, so the more you put into learning the game’s mechanics and level creation tools, the better time you will have. This topped a lot of people’s Game of the Year awards last year and for good reason – it’s a classic. If you don’t have Mario Maker though – any Mario game will work just fine. These games are perfectly suited for experimental hands as they learn jumps and time enemy jumps.
There are a slew of Lego games out there right now, with the most recent being their “toys to life” game, Lego Dimensions. I don’t recommend that game for little ones because of the small pieces and prerequisite to build Lego characters before you play with them in game. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. Instead, go for the non toys to life games like their Marvel or Batman games. They have some Star Wars games from last generation as well that will work nicely as well. Your child will be able to run around, smash up some enemies, and just have a blast doing it. Their is no blood, but there is violence (punching usually, with some lightsabers in Star Wars) but it’s mild.
Super Smash Bros
Super Smash Bros is a game that many are probably already familiar with. Countless hours have been spent in college dorms with Mario taking on the likes of Pikachu and Fox McCloud. I was hesitant to give this to my son at first because of the fighting, but it’s really no different than the Lego games level of violence. There is no blood and it’s just cartoon characters jumping around swinging outrageously large objects to knock others off the stage. My son has no idea what he is doing, but he likes jumping around and moving the characters. Plus, I think he likes the music judging by how he’ll just sit at the menus for minutes at a time jamming.
Little Big Planet
Little Big Planet has always been a classic with kids. The charismatic Sackboy is a mainstay on Playstation consoles and the latest, Little Big Planet 3, combines the culmination of all of the other games into one masterpiece of creativity. My son enjoyed moving Sackboy around the world and just jumping from obstacle to obstacle. If you’re creative, you can build your own levels, but the creation tools are pretty complex, especially compared to a game like Mario Maker which has simplified to perfection. But, there really is something unique to LBP’s design and my son had a blast playing in it’s world with the fun music and visually pleasing sights.
Peggle is more on here for the parents, but my son also enjoyed shooting the balls down into the level and watching them go. I can almost guarantee they won’t finish a level, instead shooting off their total collection of balls within the first couple seconds, but it is fun watching them laugh with glee as the lights go off and the cartoon characters react to their actions.
These are just a few of the many games my son enjoyed that I already owned. Do you have others that you let your kids play? Let us know in the comments or head on over to our Facebook page and discuss with us there!