Nintendo Switch is a console with brilliant software for gamers young and old. Nintendo's wholesome, family-friendly image is well-earned, and with characters like Mario, Luigi and the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom gang, Switch games to cater to the young and the young-at-heart alike. With its excellent parental controls, Switch is the perfect console for kids and parents.
The console's success has led to a wider variety of games across genres than ever before on a Nintendo platform, including many that might not be appropriate for your young ones due to their mature content.
With that in mind, we've rounded up the very best kids games on Switch arranged in a general ascending order of age appropriateness. We've included ESRB and PEGI ratings in addition to our own minimum age recommendations based on the level of coordination and skill needed to have fun with the game. Remember these are only a rough guide based on our personal experience — you are, of course, the best judge of what is appropriate for your child. Generally speaking, the games towards the back half tend to involve more reading and more complex controls. That doesn't mean your ten-year-old won't also love the choices at the beginning, though. 'Minimum' is just that and doesn't exclude older kids (or, indeed, adults). Every single game below is a winner, whatever your age.
Many kids might enjoy simply watching you play a game (something like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, for example). If so, bully for you — the eShop is your oyster! It's also worth noting that there are many more games aimed at kids on Switch; we've concentrated on what we consider to be the very best examples.
So, let’s take a look at the best kids games on Nintendo Switch...
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch)
ESRB: Everyone, PEGI: 3, NL minimum age recommendation: 3
We kick things off with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This kart racer is arguably the most welcoming game on Switch with tons of accessibility options - including auto acceleration and steering aids - to give even the tiniest humans the chance to get involved on the racetrack. The aids are generous to the point where you can turn them on, leave the controller alone and still place 4th. Hardened gamers may balk at that notion, but it's perfect for very young kids who want to move up from spectating and feel included in the fun.
If for some reason you prefer your kart racers with less moustachioed plumber in them, Team Sonic Racing and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled both provide solid, if less remarkable, alternatives. Mario is undoubtedly king of the kart, though.
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New Pokémon Snap (Switch)
ESRB: Everyone, PEGI: 3, NL minimum age recommendation: 4
New Pokémon Snap tasks you with snapping photos of Pokémon (funny, that) as you travel around colourful regions as if you were on safari. It's on-rails, meaning you have no control over where you move — you simply point and aim a camera as Pokémon emerge all around you, as if you were on a sedate ride at a theme park. This safari-style gameplay makes it great for parents to play with their kids, spotting Pokémon together and generally enjoying some of the loveliest visuals on Switch.
Yoshi's Crafted World (Switch)
ESRB: Everyone, PEGI: 3, NL minimum age recommendation: 4
The box art alone should clue you in to the E-for-Everyone nature of Yoshi's Crafted World. Mario's pal occupies a game stuffed to the brim with toilet rolls, cardboard houses and sticky felt, and its breezy charm makes it a great introductory platformer for kids. Two-player co-op play is available if you have more than one offspring, and there are enough collectibles hidden away in these gorgeous crafty worlds to keep them occupied for a good while.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch)
ESRB: Everyone 10+ 'Cartoon Violence', PEGI: 7, NL minimum age recommendation: 4-5
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a great big colourful joyride of an adventure that's extremely forgiving for younger players, especially with the optional Spring-Breeze Mode, which lowers the difficulty even further, plus a co-op mode that lets you play along. This 3D platformer is bursting at the seams with fun and inventiveness, managing to transpose everything we know and love about past Kirby games to this all-new arena whilst adding plenty of delightful new aspects as it goes. Mouthful Mode is just as daftly entertaining as it looked in the trailers, each and every level is packed full of secrets and dripping in wonderful detail, and there are enough side activities, collectibles and co-op fun here to keep you entertained and coming back for more for a good long while.
Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
ESRB: Everyone 10+, PEGI: 7, NL minimum age recommendation: 5
A step up in complexity from Kirby, but when it comes to platform games, your first port of call should probably be Nintendo's mustachioed mascot. Whether in the second or third dimension, Mario's bouncy enthusiasm is a winner whatever your age. Super Mario Odyssey, his latest 3D adventure, is one of his finest ever, and a subtle two-player co-op mode where one player controls the plumber's hat while the other guides Mario himself makes it a perfect game to enjoy with your little one. The huge number of collectable Moons and other goodies also ensures there's plenty to return to as their gaming skills grow.
And if you're having trouble finding, we've got guides to help you find those last few Power Moons.
Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! (Switch)
ESRB: Everyone, PEGI: 7, NL minimum age recommendation: 5
Pokémon might be a worldwide phenomenon, but it arguably wasn't until this Switch remake of the very first Game Boy games that the mainline games could be enjoyed by younger children. Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! combine the traditional turn-based gameplay of the main series with some elements from the mobile game Pokémon GO to form the most accessible version of the full-fat Pokémon experience on console. It serves as a perfect introduction to the series and also provides an incredible nostalgia trip if you played the original games over 20 years ago. Some light co-op gameplay wraps up a compelling PokéPackage.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (Switch)
ESRB: Everyone, PEGI: 3, NL minimum age recommendation: 5
As previously mentioned, Super Mario is equally adept in 2D or 3D, and this colourful return to his side-on platforming roots provides manic 4-player action in addition to a huge single-player adventure. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is stuffed with quality platforming content to keep your whippersnappers occupied for many manic hours.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Switch)
ESRB: Everyone, PEGI: 3, NL minimum age recommendation: 5
A wonderfully sedate puzzle-platformer, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker now benefits from 2-player co-op play throughout making it an excellent choice to play through with your kid(s). There's absolutely zero jumping in this platformer, so you'll be looking around the environment for clues about how to collect every gem and proceed through each of the bite-sized levels.
Captain Toad is primarily a puzzle game, so you might want to bear that in mind if your child is action mad. If you're looking for a gentle, wholesome way to fire up the grey matter with your offspring, though, this is one of the best games on the system.
New Super Lucky's Tale (Switch)
EsRB: Everyone, PEGI: 3, NL minimum age recommendation: 5
Light on difficulty, high on fun, New Super Lucky's Tale is an old school-style 3D platformer polished up for the 21st century. It's not the deepest experience, but it's a heartwarming one with plenty of silly humour and likeable characters. Lucky's antics are perfect fodder for starry-eyed youngsters or jaded old geezers alike, and well worth investigating.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (Switch)
ESRB: Everyone 10+, PEGI: 7, NL minimum age recommendation: 5
With split-screen co-op, and incredibly gentle expectations as far as the gameplay is concerned, Lego Marvel Super Heroes is a fantastic, low-stakes game for parents and kids to play together, but also for adults who are looking for something that pleasantly whiles away the hours without beating you over the head with difficulty. Excelsior!
LEGO DC Super-Villains (Switch)
ESRB: Everyone 10+, PEGI: 7, NL minimum age recommendation: 5
One of our favourite of the Lego games currently on Switch is Lego DC Super-Villains. Offering a sandbox of brick-based mayhem, the tried-and-tested formula of these games has never been better than when DC's comic book crew were put in charge.
This may be our personal favourite, but virtually any of the Lego games provide fun fare for kids. In addition to the previously mentioned Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Lego Harry Potter Collection, The Lego Movie 2 Videogame and Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 are all solid little platformers, so pick your favourite franchise. Not quite everything is quite awesome, but you can't go too far wrong.
Especially this this next one...
My 5 year old LOVES MUA3 (she's always Ms. Marvel). On the lowest skill level, we have no problem advancing through every area as a team. The fact that she can beat bad guys mostly spamming simple attacks makes her feel so proud.
She likes Kirby Clash and LM3 for the same reason. For anyone complaining about simplicity in game mechanics, keep in mind there's a broader audience served by that simplicity.
This has just reminded me I must pick up crafted world
@KBuckley27 not sure what your point is?
@KBuckley27 And what's the problem with kids liking those games? In fact, what's wrong with anyone liking those games at all?
I'd add Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Breath of the Wild to this list personally.
No Kirby Star Allies? Kirby games are designed for entry level in gaming. They are a great place to start.
My 3 year old loves playing Doom and Luigi's Mansion 3
Have you tried playing crafted world with a couple of kids, well good luck.
Some of my favourite Switch games are in that list. As an older gamer, rather than telling me my tastes are juvenile, I think that list is indicating to me I'm generally rubbish at playing video games!
I have 8 kids, and here are their 10 favorites:
2. Human Fall Flat
3. Poi Explorer Edition
4. Luigi's Mansion 3
5. Smash Bros Ultimate
6. Untitled Goose Game
7. Rayman Legends
8. Mario Odyssey
9. Link's Awakening
10. Labo VR
"ERSB: Everyone 10+, PEGI: 7, NL minimum age recommendation: 5"
Sorry.. but going against the PEGI rating would be inadvisable. PEGI 7 means 7 and up, not 5.
My 10 year old hates MUA and was very disappointed at how difficult it was on friendly difficulty. It was somewhat better when he played with us but he never wants to play it alone. He has ps4 Spider-Man and has beaten that a few times now so he’s a capable player.
@sanderev PEGI ratings are ridiculous - to put it in perspective
Cel Damage HD features a character named "Dominique Trix" and a bird who speaks almost entirely in (mostly) bleeped-out swears, yet got rated 7+
Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter ends by having the entire cast die because they live in the dreams of an orphan in a coma, yet got rated 3+
not to mention there's no actual legal consequences for giving a child a game beneath their age rating unless used for bribery.
@Noid "not to mention there's no actual legal consequences for giving a child a game beneath their age rating unless used for bribery."
Actually there is for the 16+ and 18+ rated games. At least here in the Netherlands. 3, 7, 12 is up to the parents. And teaching them to go against the official rating is just wrong. Also rating isn't based on the story or who appears in the game. But are based on what happens on screen.
For instance ARMS has some quite realistic violence (but not blood) and NL puts that at 7. Sorry, but that's just wrong.
Splatoon 2 for 5 years old kids? I'm not sure about that...
Also, I would have put Snipperclips on this list.
I personally want Super Luckys Tail
My 5 year old girl loves Captain Toad, Unraveled 2, Super Lucky’s Tale, and Ring Fit Adventure.
She also likes Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but she really just likes firing arrows at everything until there are no more arrows. Then I’m sad because when I play I have no arrows.
@dartmonkey You've written ERSB every time instead of ESRB. Great list, though!
@Matthew010 No, I don’t believe you 😉 Cheers 😄
My 3 years old son really likes to play "the ambulance game" (The Stretchers). It's perhaps not quite on a three year old's level but maybe 4-5.
My precious 8 y/o plays Bloodborne and Fortnite!
Why isn't DOOM on this list?
Great list, a lot of variety here and plenty of fun to be had.
I looked through this list and expected Kirby Star Allies. I'm disappointed.
Thanks for this. My kids are 6 and 9 and love Odyssey, Wario Kart and Pokemon. Waiting for Minecraft to be on sale. Will give rocket league a go with them
There are also a good few smaller eshop titles - e.g. Puzzle book gave us a good few hours of cheap fun co-op play.
My 3 and 5 year old struggle with Mario Kart still - actually I do, biting my tongue while watching them play badly hurts me in places I didn’t think I could be hurt...
Thanks for this amazing article NL team!!
My kids like Mario Kart and Untitled Goose Game
DOOM is the best kids game
@MrBlacky why not? My 6 yr old loved the original and it's easy to play.
@Kirby_Girl Totally agree with the aspect on the gameplay, nut the themes of the game aren't the most kid friendly. But I don't think it's the biggest problem.
@mrmememan There is nothing in the Kirby games that is beyond a kid playing it. The literal theme of Star Allies is THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP. If that's not the most kid positive than I need to be reborn and experience my childhood again where I watched Sailor Moon endlessly.
My favourite kids game is Saints Row 3
@Kirby_Girl I'm talking about the theming of cults and stuff I know at least a few more would be creeped out by Hyness and Void Termina
@mrmememan Non of that is a big deal. The game is 100% kid friendly and is the target audience.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 was honestly a huge disappointment for me. I personally wasn't a fan of how they ditched the realistic aesthetics and the darker storylines that derived from several Marvel comic arcs like Civil War in the second one, and the gameplay felt way too much like a Warriors game rather than the Ultimate Alliance's approach to being a Diablo-like Action RPG
It's fine for kids but honestly I'd recommend the other two games in a heartbeat over this one
Mario Tennis Aces is a must for playing local with friends and family, and it's pretty much for everyone! No matter the age, gender, or kind of person. It should be included in this list imo.
I do have that. Haven’t let her play it yet. Good recommendation 👍🏼
Some eshop ones my kids (5&9) have had a lot of fun with:
Untitled Goose Game
Needs more Kirby! Also f2p Kirby now too
Ugh...where is BotW? My kids were 6 & 8 when it came out and it’s probably their favorite Switch game. There’s nothing about it that I would say makes it unfriendly to kids. Spyro Trilogy is another game that should be on this list.
@Kirby_Girl I know they're kid friendly and very accessible. It's like Kirby's Dreamland 3 and Kirby 64, both are kid friendly and accessible, but have darker and more big kid themes
These are some awesome switch games! But I'm surprised breath of the wild isn't on here.
@mrmememan There's nothing big kid in them. I'm aware of bosses like Zero and Terminal Void etc. I'm aware of the implied lore and even with all that, nothing in the game is Dark enough that a child would notice or somehow give up on the game. If kids can survive that piano scare in mario 64 than any post game stuff in Kirby won't kill them.
I would say any of the LEGO series or Mario games would fit the bill here and Pokemon games. And I own all those as well-as well as having too many backlogs to get back to.
@Kirby_Girl Ok valid argument you win we let this go on far longer than it should've
My boy is 5 and we've just completed Yoshi's Crafted World in co-op. The last world is surprisingly dark but otherwise it was perfect for us as the mechanics meant that as long as I stayed alive he'd pop straight back in if he fell or took too many hits.
Mario Bros Deluxe is a significant step up in difficulty from the Wii version in our experience and even with Nabbit or Toadette is too frustrating for a 5 year old after the first few worlds.
My 6 year olds collection consists of Crafted World, Captain Toad, Super Kirby Clash, Yoku's Island Express and The Big Journey.
Always on the lookout for games which don't require a ton of reading to be able to progress and not story driven. If anyone has any recommendations throw them my way.
My 4-year-old and I just finished Luigi's Mansion 3 together. Perfect considering that Gooigi can't die.
Kirby Star Allies also offers a lot of co-op fun.
I feel like you're missing one of the best 'kids' games here, and one that kids who doesn't speak/read english, french or German can enjoy:
Super Mario Party
I have a 5 and a 9 year old and besides MK8 Deluxe it's their go to choice
I’m 36 years old, I’ve been gaming for about 30, I’d say I’m pretty darn good at games...and man, I am horrible at Starlink. I die constantly. On easy. I can’t imagine having a kid play.
Of course, maybe I’m just playing it wrong.
My 10 year old has loved Mario Kart 8, Kirby Star Allies (surprised this didn't make the list), Splatoon 2, Rocket League, and Smash. He has tried out Pokemon Sword, but didn't like it as much as others. Same for Mario Tennis Aces. Right now, he's recently discovered Fortnite.
No Kirby and no Mario Party in a list with games for kids?
@sketchturner oh my sweet lord, that poor woman
@sketchturner 10 KIDS!?!?!?!?! Jeez that's a lot of kids
@Dark_Magician Only 8 kids, not 10. 4 are adopted.
@sketchturner Oh sorry! That's still a lot of kids! How do you stay sane every day?
There are T-rated games, which aren't for kids at all.
MUA3 and Fortnight shouldn't be on this list. Kind of on the fence regarding Splatoon as well...
What should be added:
Pikmin 3 should be included though, as it is a very good introduction to strategic thinking.
Also Portal Knights should be included, as it's creative mode is similar to Minecraft, but with somewhat kid friendlier graphic.
Abzu was also a big hit with the kids, as the space/underwater and chill gameplay was a good fit.
Last but not least the two Dragon Quest Builder games, which combine classic Zelda gameplay and Minecraft creativity and crafting.
Grow: Song of the Evertree also looks very fitting, haven't had the chance to look further into it though.
if i have a son/daughter i would buy for him/her, Super Mario Odyssey, Luigi Mansion 3, Kirby and the Forgotten Land and Animal Crossing New Horizon.
❗️I like 'Marvel: UA3-TBO' but much-preferred the first two Games.
Anybody else play New Super Lucky's Tale? Grabbed a demo and thought it was just a very generic spyro style game. Not sure if my 11-yo would dig it.
Kid's won't understand how to play Fortnite, Breath of the Wild, maybe Sword & Shield, and I would even go as far as Link's Awakening due to the difficulty of puzzles. Age of Calamity? That Teen rating from the ESRB was not a joke - This game doesn't hold the same level of subtleties as Breath of the Wild, especially looking at Astor's death.
That's a really good list. Of all those, Smash should be #1, it's a gateway to so many other characters and franchises.
Me and my 5-year old love to play JUICED! in co-op mode. He just loves the story and charming characters.
My little girls were starting to get into video games by the age of 4 and 3. My oldest in particular. She was starting to really love Mario and understand it, and I created her some simple courses in Mario Maker to learn skills on.
Then my wife took them away to another country, and they learnt a different language and I haven't been with them in two years.
They're six and five now and haven't played a video game (apart from the silly Facebook games) since they left.
Kirby is not a "kids" videogame series. The games are about MURDERING innocent creatures!
My 4 year old is obsessed with Pikuniku and Untitled Goose Game. I'm kind of really sick of playing through the same levels with him over and over, but I'm also not entirely interested in adding any new games to my backlog. He loves Yoshi, though (I made him a beautiful Yoshi birfday cake!), so I might have to consider that one...
Why are there several TEEN rated games on this "kid friendly" list? And the NL recommended ages? Ridiculous in some cases. Was this list even created by actual parents?
WarioWare: Get it Together!
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Mario Party Superstars
JUST DANCE, JUST DANCE, JUST DANCE
Here we have a 9 years old daughter.
And the best games to play with her are (in this order):
1. Just Dance
2. Animal Crossing
3. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
4. Big Brain Academy
She did not like Toad, and other 2d/3d platform/adventure games...and she has difficulty with the most of Warioware game modes, unfortunatly (cause it is one of the best games).
90% of her time playing is with Just Dance. It´s the absolutely NUMBER ONE here....by far.
When she is among friends it´s only Just Dance.
Best value for our money here.
If you have a daughter, buy JUST DANCE NOW (and goodbye Nintendo Switch...you´ll need to buy another one)
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is one of the best kids' games I've ever played. My 4 & 9 year olds loved it. It's an open-world wildlife-identification adventure, and it's heart-warming and endearing. No violence at all. Highly recommended to anyone with young kids.
Looks like you forgot Hoa. I bought it (for my 5-year-old girl) as per your review, which says it's a platformer for beginners.
I would NOT let a 9 year old play Fortnite.
With due respect, this list seems to have a lot of input from people without young kids, who just leaned into ‘kids’ sounding titles (ahem, Lego).
Mario Party is a good go to, and Mario kart makes sense for young kids (sub 6yrs old), because you can turn on auto steer and gas… but otherwise, most of these recommendations are for platformer, action, and adventure titles that require a lot of hand eye coordination and multiple buttons/triggers to learn … I find my kids (both under 6) like to watch those types of games get played by me, but much prefer to play stuff like Mario kart or otherwise pinball and one and two button arcade titles with infinite quarters/continues (cute-em-ups are very popular in this house for example).
Co-op mode in Human Fall Flat has been a big hit with my son (8). I thought the controls might be too fiddly but he actually picked them up really quickly. He also loves all the Sonic games, 2D and 3D (yes, even Forces...).
My daughter (11) likes a lot of puzzle games like Puyo Puyo Tetris, Sushi Striker, Lumines and Picross.
Other ones both have enjoyed and gone back to a lot:
Untitled Goose Game
Toree 3D / Toree 2
There is no Game (after watching a playthrough)
I know Kirby is easy and mostly kid friendly… but you have seen how 4/5 of those games end, right?
Might be a bit of a shock to the kiddies…
@thiob Hoa is sad and depressing.
My 5 year old loves Goose Game, Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Yoshi, and Stardew Valley. I think those have been some of the better games for them to play on their own.
We also play Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, Labo, Ring Fit, Splatoon, Cruisin Blast, Minecraft, A Short Hike, Pokemon Snap, Luigi’s Mansion, and Kirby. Many of those require more supervision and support.
My only problem is that I was hoping to find less popular games, so I can get a game as a gift to a kid of relatives. I don't know what games they have already, and this list is mostly popular stuff that they have a good chance of having.
Apparently the person who wrote this article has zero kids, because my little niece who is 5 cannot play Mario kart, because it is way to hard for her, she is new to gaming and she never can finish first, she gets mad and quits. Just because a bunch of 40 year old men think a game is easy does not mean all little kids will just master these games the second they pick up a controller , my niece tried Mario bros deluxe, she could not play the mini castle in the first world, could not move on , she kept trying and just gave up. Kids are not adults, kids who are new to games need games that are and I know this is a vulgar word , but easy for a child, not an adult, but a child that has never played games before. I know there are going to be people who say my 3 yr old brother can beat every level in Mario odyssey, WHOOPEE! EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. there need to be ACTUAL REAL EASY GAMES FOR KIDS, who are new to gaming. So they can learn the game , beat the game, and then work their way up to more challenging games. 40 year old men have no clue what games are actually good for kids, just because you think they are easy does not mean every child who has never played a game, is going to automatically Ace right through it just because you did.
I’m surprised that a game is not in the list and neither in the comments: Game Builder Garage.
My 7yo LOVES it, and it’s a great way to introduce kids on the programming world.
My six year old daughter loves Overcooked All You Can Eat, and Lego Harry Potter; both in co-op. She also likes the SNES Super Mario games (no idea which one/s). Mario Kart gets the odd go too. (And Little Big Planet on PS4 in co-op was hilariously fun!)
2 that have been huge favs among my kids have been gunman Clive and mechextermination force. 5 and 3 year old both love them. I guess 3 games.
CAPTAIN TOAD is absolutely brilliant and charming for everyone! Kirby too is truly superb
P.S don't forget to try out the Captain Toad VR levels if you have a headset...so cute
I would add Game Builder Garage.
It can be as complex as you like but the tutorials are satisfying, and the characterisation is fun. Quite a lot of reading though, which may be good in itself.
Oh and Hellblade. Can't believe that has been missed off.
It seems 'kids' is a bit too broad description to make this list actually worthwile.
maybe every mini review here should list some criteria
Otherwise, i expect many kidsto be dissapointed...and some parents shocked
Pretty solid Lust except for Minecraft (yes it creative) and Fortnite. Thanks to their business politics.
This is a great list but I am shocked that you overlooked "Lego City: Undercover" among the other Lego games which I think are more complex for younger kids.
I bought Lego City: Undercover on a whim but it was a brilliant success. My son loves to drive around in the cars and unlock all of the super builds and find the disguises and do the individual character challenges etc., so there's a LOT of game here. He's only 3.5 so is a bit young for some of the other Lego games but I've found that the barrier to entry and skill requirement is spot on in Lego City: Undercover.
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