Best Nintendo Switch Games for Young Kids iMore 2020

If you love video games, chances are you want your kid to love them too. Fortunately, the Nintendo Switch may be the most family-friendly console. It has a wealth of kid-friendly games that you can hand off to children old enough to operate controllers safely without worrying about what they might get into, so long as you pick the right games. If your kids are old enough to manipulate a controller and understand how to operate the Switch, these are the best Nintendo Switch games for them.

Featured Favorite: Pokémon Quest

Pokémon Quest's biggest perk is its price: it's free! You can download it onto the Switch and let your kid enjoy exploring a blocky world full of Pokémon friends. Though the Pokémon do "battle" one another, there's nothing violent about it, and it's a great way to introduce young kids to the world of Pokémon in a simple, repetitive, easy-to-understand manner. An Auto mode is beneficial for those kids who are still a bit young to use more complex controls and just want to feel like they're doing something. And there are no online interactions that will harm their gaming experience making this one of the best Switch games for kids. Be sure you're using Switch Parental Controls, though, as the game does include microtransactions, you don't want your kid to trigger accidentally.

Free at Nintendo

Build a Home Away from Home: Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Nintendo Switch

Staff Pick

Up to four players can work together to build an island paradise together, decorating your space to fit your style. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an adorable game without any combat or particularly challenging puzzles, so kids can take things at their own pace and just enjoy exploring the environment and chatting with their friendly animal neighbors. The game is also constantly updated with new seasonal content, meaning kids will want to check in regularly to see what's new. While there are some online features, it's easy to restrict kids from interacting with players you don't know.

Cutting Through the Clutter: Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together!

Snipperclips is a cute puzzle game that requires you to cut paper shapes into new shapes to accomplish certain tasks, such as fitting within a specific size space or performing a task related to movement and positioning. The game can be played alone or with up to four total people, which makes it a great game to let your kid enjoy and then join them for later on. Though some of the puzzles, later on, might get a bit tricky for very young kids, most will be able to follow what the game wants from them and enjoy finding new ways to snip and clip the paper friends into the right shapes. Plus, Snipperclips is a great game to work on problem-solving skills with your kids!

$10 at Best Buy

Drive into The Sunset: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Nintendo Switch

So many adults have fond memories of bonding with siblings over Mario Kart...though that bonding often took the form of a lot of yelling about spiny shells! You don't need to own a retro console to give that same experience to your kids. Motion steering can be an improved way for younger children to try and drive the karts, and a special steering assist mode can help those who still haven't mastered the controls yet stay on the road with the more experienced players. Plus, though Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has an online mode unless you set them up with the voice chat app, all the interactions are limited to a set of friendly phrases, so there's no chance they'll run into bad content online.

Call it a Draw: Crayola Scoot

Crayola Scoot can be a bit of a drag if you were looking for a more complex, colorful take on something like a Tony Hawk game, but for its intended kid audience, it's perfect. Players can scooter around various tracks and challenges while spraying different Crayola colors of paint on the ground, perform tricks, and customize characters with gear they win by improving their scooting more and more. With limited sets of challenges, clear goals, lots of customizability, and an extremely kid-friendly set of characters and objectives, Crayola Scoot is a perfect way to introduce young kids to skating games in a low-pressure environment.

$20 at Walmart

Save or Destroy Metropolis: LEGO DC Super-Villains (Nintendo Switch)

If you're looking for a solid game for a young kid, any Lego game will probably do the trick. Even the games based on darker properties, such as the Marvel Universe, are transformed into kid-friendly and fun adventures when Lego gets its hands on the game. Lego DC Super Villains is the most recent of these creations, so it's likely the one your kid is eyeballing and the one with the most updated mechanics and content. Players create a custom supervillain and join other famous Marvel faces on an adventure throughout Metropolis. They'll gain new skills, build new Lego creations, and may end up accidentally saving the city!

Ready for Adventure!: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Captain Toad is a charming, sweet, and challenging puzzle game for every age, and young children can enjoy it too. Captain Toad explores clever 3D diorama-like levels, walking around while the player rotates the camera and tries to guide him to the goal, collecting gems and coins along the way. Part of Captain Toad's charm is that it's very easy to reach the end of each level, but challenging to find all the collectibles, so it appeals to a wide range of ages and skillsets. It's also a great game to play with your child by using the co-op mode to point out hidden areas and help guide them through levels!

A Good First Pokémon Adventure: Pokémon Let's Go! Pikachu and Eevee

If you have a young child who likes Pokémon Quest or Pokémon Go and wants to get into the main series of games, Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu or Eevee is a great place to start. These games focus more heavily on catching Pokémon with systems similar to those found in Pokémon Go, makes use of the Joy-Con motion controls for throwing Poke Balls, and has much more forgiving battles and EXP systems. You can also enjoy the game yourself as an adult while having a kid join in as your player 2! You'll have control over where you go and what you do, but kids can help battle and capture Pokémon and put together their own team of monster friends.

$57 at Amazon

Arts, Adventures, and Crafts: Yoshi's Crafted World

You play as a soft, felt Yoshi in a crafted kingdom, working your way through levels, finding collectibles, and dressing up in adorable cardboard costumes to avoid getting hurt by enemies. In addition to the ease with which you can avoid taking hits, you can also turn the game on Mellow Mode at any time to give Yoshi wings and show where hidden secrets are, so you don't have to worry about falling off cliffs or missing Smiley Flowers! And, like some of Nintendo's other platformers, a second player can join in at any time, allowing either two kids to play together or a parent to guide a child through the game easily.

Gaming not just for kids, but with kids

It's hard to go wrong with finding games for kids on the Nintendo Switch, as long as you pay attention to the ESRB ratings (E for Everyone, E10+ for Everyone 10 and up, and so forth) and make sure that you keep an open dialogue with your children about what they are playing. Staying actively engaged with what interests them and asking them questions about what they play and how it makes them feel are vital to ensuring their gaming time is safe. It can also help to download the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls mobile app to monitor their gaming time better and ensure their online interactions are secure.

Depending on the age of the child, different games will be appropriate, but Pokémon Quest is a good start for most ages. It's free, cute, simple, and engaging over time, and it's a good gateway to games like Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee later on. It's also worth taking a look at the differences between the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite if you haven't purchased the hardware yet, to see if the Lite version is more appropriate for your children.

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