Starlink: Battle for Atlas (Switch)

ESRB: Everyone 10+, PEGI: 7, NL minimum age recommendation: 7-8

Starlink: Battle For Atlas is a planet-hopping, dogfighting, space exploration game that works in conjunction with real-life toys. You strap ships to your controller via a special clamp and attaching/removing various weapons has them appear in the game. The Switch version of this multiplatform title is undoubtedly the best thanks to its exclusive Star Fox content.

For parents who want to minimise the amount of plastic toys in the house, avoid Starlink like the plague. However, you can pick the game and the ships up for next to nothing these days and if your child is intent on accumulating plastic rubbish anyway, you may as well make it quality plastic rubbish that works in conjunction with a cracking video game, no?

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Rocket League (Switch eShop)

ESRB: Everyone, PEGI: 3, NL minimum age recommendation: 7-8

Combining two of many a child's passions, Rocket League essentially involves playing 3-against-3 football except the ball is enormous and instead of controlling a person, you're driving a car. That might sound like a nightmare of 7-point turns and sluggish gameplay, but what can we say - it works!

It might take a while to click — specifically getting used to the camera which follows the ball by default rather than your car — but when it does click, Rocket League is one of the most fun and addictive competitive games on Switch. With tons of customisation options and decorative doohickeys to plaster over your car, it's a blast whatever your age and if your child is into either football (or soccer, if you prefer) and/or RC-style cars, this is an obvious winner.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)

ESRB: Everyone, PEGI: 7, NL minimum age recommendation: 7-8

This remake of the Game Boy original is as cute-looking as they come, and would make an excellent introduction to Nintendo's premier action-RPG series. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening requires a certain amount of reading and patience, but it's a captivating little adventure with big, cartoon-y monsters that you'll be happy to help out with if the kids get stuck. Of course, guide-based help is only a click away if you're really in a bind.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Switch)

ESRB: Everyone 10+, PEGI: 7, NL minimum age recommendation: 7-8

Despite a starring role for the undisputed king of platformers, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a turn-based strategy game. Repeat — THIS IS NOT A PLATFORM GAME, so make sure you don't get it thinking you'll be taking direct control of the plumber and jumping on the heads of Goombas. Throwing together Ubisoft's Rabbids with Nintendo's Mushroom Kingdom gang, this game is bursting with humour and is perfect for kids with a head for light strategy and puzzles.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)

ESRB: Everyone 10+, PEGI: 12, NL minimum age recommendation: 8

Everyone is here. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate includes every single fighter from the previous games in the series in a roster that's still growing thanks to new Downloadable Content. The range of characters to play as will be a massive draw for kids, and there's a huge number of modes whether you're playing along or you've got a room of eight (!) friends. With an adjustable difficulty that makes button-mashing an option, there's plenty of scope for 'growing' with the game, too, finding more depth the longer you spend with it.

The on-screen action can get a little chaotic, so some children (and some adults, to be fair) may find it tough to follow what's happening, especially when eight players are scrapping. Still, this is one of the best fighting games ever, and your kids are gonna love it.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

ESRB: 10+, PEGI: 12, NL minimum age recommendation: 8

The beauty of Breath of the Wild is that it's really whatever game you want it to be. Its vast open world lets you completely avoid combat if you like; simply run away from any monsters you find and you'll have a great time just exploring, catching bugs, cooking and riding around on a horse. Alternatively, you can stealthily infiltrate enemy strongholds and demonstrate your prowess with the bow and blade, and gradually beat all the shrine challenges which test your brains and brawn.

It's entirely up to you — you play at your own pace, which makes it a great game for all ages and abilities; we have personal experience of an 8-year-old and a 66-year-old who have both beaten the game 100%. Aside from some slight darkness around Calamity Ganon (a black cloud of malignancy engulfing the castle in the centre of the world) and some unforgiving (although largely avoidable) enemies, Breath of the Wild is an easy pick for kids looking to expand their horizons in one of the most beautiful, enticing worlds in all video games.

And now there's this game's direct sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, too. They're both phenomenal games worthy of your time.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)

ESRB: Teen, PEGI: 12, NL minimum age recommendation: 8

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity offers the chance to jump into the boots of a load of characters from the game above and whip the behinds of countless monsters. There's still complexity to be enjoyed, but the objective is invariably to give wave upon wave of evil minions a sound thrashing rather than navigate the environmental puzzles and epic adventuring of the main series.

Naturally, this game contains lots of fantasy violence and swordplay. The original Hyrule Warriors offers plenty more hack-and-slash action, and Fire Emblem Warriors is another of the crossover Dynasty Warriors-style games featuring Nintendo characters which might be worth a look if this style of game clicks with your kid.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (Switch)

ESRB: Teen, PEGI: 12, NL minimum age recommendation: 8

If your child is mad about the Marvel movies, you could do a lot worse than Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. Featuring a vast roster of all your favourite characters from the comic books and the movies, this hack-and-slash game will let them assemble the Avengers of their choice and battle Thanos in a classic good-against-evil bout. With a fun multiplayer mode for up to 4 players, it's a no-brainer that this will go down well with fans of Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Captains America and Marvel, Spidey, and the rest of the MCU stars.

Ring Fit Adventure (Switch)

ESRB: 10+, PEGI: 7, Personal experience minimum age: 9-10

If your kids have energy to spare, why not burn some of it off with one of the best fitness games ever made? While games like Just Dance 2024 might go down well with little extroverts, Ring Fit Adventure ties motion and exercise into RPG-style monster-battling gameplay itself and we have firsthand experience of its success with kids. Obviously, this one works better at the latter end of the age range and you'll need to monitor that they're not going mad with the Pilates ring-style controller included with the game, but this is a great way for them to burn off some of the boundless energy kids store up.

Fortnite (Switch eShop)

ESRB: Teen, PEGI: 12, NL minimum age recommendation: 9-10

Finally, you'll have no doubt heard about Fortnite even if you have zero interest in video games, such is this shooter's popularity. This cartoon-y free-to-play Battle Royale game drops 100 players onto an island and leaves them to find guns and ammo, blasting their way to victory until only one remains. While it's free-to-play, there is plenty of opportunity to spend money on cosmetic items and costumes or get involved with seasonal Battle Passes which offer exclusive gear after completing certain objectives.

As gun-based deathmatch games go, Fortnite is as colourful and carefree as they come, and with constant updates and fresh content, it's no surprise that the game has been such a colossal hit with kids across the world. It's bloodless and comic violence, but bear in mind that Fortnite involves shooting other people with bullets. Being a free game, it's easy enough to download and check out for yourself first if you have concerns.

Fortnite now also contains three more free-to-play games in its download — Rocket Racing, Fortnite Festival, and LEGO Fortnite — which, in their own ways, are all quality offerings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Switch is best for a 5-year-old?

It depends. The Switch Lite is the smallest switch available and is best suited to smaller hands as it doesn't have detachable controllers.

However, the big caveat with Switch Lite is that it doesn't dock to a TV. Not only does this make it more difficult to play games together with your child, but it's also tougher to keep tabs on exactly what they're playing.

Of course, the comprehensive Parental Controls app makes monitoring your child's gaming time easy, but if you want to be able to watch the screen and share their progress, it's probably more comfortable to watch a larger, shared screen. If so, you'll want to opt for a regular Switch or Switch OLED model that can also be played on the TV.

'What games do kids play on Switch?' 'Can a 4-year-old play Switch?' 'Is Nintendo Switch OK for a 5-year-old?' Hopefully, we've answered some of these questions in the article above.

Are there any games not included on this list that have gone down well with your kids? Let us know in the comments below and perhaps we'll add them.

This article is one of our Switch Essentials guides which cover a wide variety of genres, including the Best Switch FPS Games, the Best Switch RPGs, the Best Switch Games For Kids, the Best Switch Couch Co-Op Games and the Best Switch Fitness and Exercise Games. We can also help out hunting down the Best Switch Horror Games, the Best Switch Racing Games, the Best Switch Action-RPGs, the Best Nintendo Switch Roguelikes, Roguelites and Run-Based Games, the Best Free Switch Games, the Best Remakes And Remasters, the Best Switch Music And Rhythm Games, Best Feel-Good Switch Games, Best Switch Open-World Games, Best Switch Soulslike Games, Best LGBTQ+ Switch Games, and even Games to Play After You've Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Whatever your favourite genre, we've got you covered: Strategy Games, Metroidvanias, Puzzle Games, Party Games, Online Multiplayer Games, Local Wireless Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Twin-Stick Shooters, Visual Novels, Kart Racers, Fighting Games, Football Games, Funny Games, Golf Games, 'Walking Sims' And Narrative Games, Switch Games For Lovers And Lonely Hearts, Detective Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Puzzle Platformers, Tabletop Mode Games, Run and Gun Games, LEGO Games, Sports Games, Survival Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Camera Games, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-Builders, and Life Sims And Farming Games.

Still hungry for more? Elsewhere we look at Wholesome Games, TATE Mode Games, Flight Sim and Space Combat, Point and Click Adventure Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game, Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch, plus the Best Switch Ports, Best Wii U-To-Switch Ports, Best Switch Collections And Compilations, Best Cheap Switch Games, Best Switch Demos, Games That Are Better On Switch OLED, Switch Games Under $10, $20, $50, and Switch games with the Best Soundtracks and the Best Graphics. Phew!

If you're looking for the best Switch games regardless of genre, our reader-voted selection of the Best Nintendo Switch Games Ever should help you out, and you can also find the Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best GBC Games, Best GBA Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best NES Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, and Best Wii U Games, as well as Every Available Nintendo Switch Online Retro Game, and ranked lists of Every Nintendo Switch Online NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Game.