Best kids games for Xbox, PlayStation and Switch to play in 2021

The best kids games are plenty of fun for all the family

The best kids games for Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch are fairly varied. The three consoles all offer plenty of different games and experiences so whether your child enjoys creating masterpieces or, well, destroying stuff in a temper, there’s something here for them.

Honestly, there are dozens of great options but we’ve narrowed things down to nine of the best and broadest options out there. Some are exclusive to one system but we’ve tried to pick out games that are widely available. The important thing here is that these aren’t just the best games for kids, they’re also very good games in their own right. We won’t blame you if you find yourself sneaking a go at all of these while the little (or not-so-little) ones are in bed.

Including games from a variety of different genres, you’ll be impressed by how far kids’ games have come and how much fun both you and your child can have experiencing them. Let’s take a look at the best kids games for Xbox, PlayStation and Switch.

Minecraft

Minecraft
Minecraft. Credit: Mojang

Playable on: Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch

It might feel like Minecraft gets a mention everywhere but it’s for good reason. The game is a phenomenon, bordering on being the title for everyone. Novices can play around with its mechanics and enjoy having a virtual Lego set to manipulate while more experienced players can build huge metropolises over the space of dozens of hours. For kids, it gives them a chance to let their imagination run wild in a safe environment.

For the little ones, they get to simply create something fun in creative mode while the older kids can tackle survival mode and see how long they can last up against various threats. Parents can be reassured that Minecraft is available on pretty much every format imaginable so it’s easy to track down.

Rocket League

Rocket League
Rocket League. Credit: Psyonix

Playable on: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch

Combine football with vehicles and you get Rocket League. Sounds quirky but it’s a lot of fun. Eight players between two teams have to try to score goals by using their vehicles to hit a ball into the net. It’s possible to play in single-player but its strengths lie in multi-player with cross-platform play meaning your kids won’t have to worry if their mates have a different console to them.

It’s possible to build up some impressive skills in Rocket League as practice certainly makes perfect, meaning your child (and possibly you) will keep coming back for more. Matches are only usually five minutes long so it’s ideal for a homework break and new modes and vehicles mean there’s always something to do.

Fortnite

Fortnite
Fortnite. Credit: Epic Games

Playable on: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

If your child somehow hasn’t played Fortnite yet, well, they’re going to at some point. The Battle Royale game to beat all Battle Royale games, players have the choice of last man standing amongst 100 players, the ability to create worlds, or to work together to fend off zombie-like threats. It’s aimed at older kids, of course, and its constant flurry of cosmetic skins probably means you’ll need to keep an eye on your child but there’s no denying that Fortnite is something special.

Simply put, it’s a lot of fun and it can teach people a lot about teamwork skills. A true cultural phenomenon, it’s available on all the major formats and it’s free to play. Just keep an eye out for any microtransactions. Skins can get expensive.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Credit: Nintendo

Playable on: Nintendo Switch

The family game to end all family games, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe may cause some arguments but they’ll be short-lived. Well balanced so that no one ever commands too much of a lead, it’s good for every age group with an easy-to-learn control system that means even the youngest of kids can figure out how to make Mario go faster.

Not that Mario is your only option with plenty of popular characters from Nintendo games featuring and making the experience a lot more fun. It’s easily one of the best Nintendo Switch games out there let alone the best one for kids. Enjoy learning how to drift most effectively and work on your anti-gravity driving too as you negotiate some delightfully quirky landscapes.

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey. Credit: Nintendo

Playable on: Nintendo Switch

A great game to play co-operatively when introducing your child to platformers, Super Mario Odyssey encourages exploration and experimentation thanks to Mario being able to control other characters via the use of Cappy, his sentient hat. It’s wonderfully charming like pretty much all Mario games (and honestly, you can’t really go wrong with any of them) and provokes memories of Super Mario 64 thanks to its open-world approach.

The beauty here is that you can complete the game relatively easily through the usual methods but you can also return to it to collect all the Power Moons extending its lifespan significantly. Highlights include being able to control a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a tank too. You and your kids will love how varied it is.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Credit: Nintendo

Playable on: Nintendo Switch

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a wonderfully calming experience. Simply put, you just live in a world full of friendly animals, piecing together your island however you want it to look, while forming a community with the cute animals around you. There’s a mortgage to pay, annoyingly, but you do this by collecting bugs and fish, amongst other things, so it doesn’t exactly feel like real life.

There’s a lot of creativity to Animal Crossing: New Horizons so it’s great for kids to explore in a safe environment and enjoy some imaginative play on the small screen. Just bear in mind it’s tricky to share an island so you may need a few copies if you have more than one child keen to play and you don’t want any arguments.

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 4. Credit: Microsoft

Playable on: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

Offering a fictional representation of Great Britain, Forza Horizon 4 is a blast for speed freaks. Players can race around Edinburgh, the Lake District, and various other parts of the country, all in glorious style thanks to being able to acquire hundreds of different cars. Cars range from the most basic examples to the Bugatti Veyron or even Lego versions of supercars so kids who love all things with wheels will adore this game.

Regardless of how much you love cars, there’s a real sense of freedom to Forza Horizon 4 as it’s an open-world game. You can simply drive around and take in the world rather than feel restricted to following set race routes. Features like a dynamic weather system and a regular stream of unlocks mean you and your kids will keep coming back for more with a treasure hunting campaign a particular highlight.

Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Sackboy: A Big Adventure
Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Credit: Sony

Playable on: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5

Normally part of the LittleBigPlanet series, Sackboy has his own adventure now in the form of the appropriately titled Sackboy: A Big Adventure. It’s a fun 3D platforming game where Sackboy has plenty of moves at his disposal including the ability to roll around, nose dive, and flutter jump. It’s possible to chain together some of these moves which is immensely satisfying and fun.

New powerups can also be acquired including a grappling hook and the ability to hover in the air. While it’s not quite as beguiling as anything featuring Mario, it’s probably the closest you can get on a PlayStation console.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley. Credit: Chucklefish

Playable on: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch

If your child has an entrepreneurial spirit, they’ll love Stardew Valley. It has players taking over a dilapidated farm with an open-ended approach meaning you can choose which crops to grow, whether to raise livestock and what goods to craft. Spoiler alert: you’ll end up doing a little bit of everything. It’s even possible to socialise with other townspeople and marry them too if you want.

Stardew Valley is a game you can lose hundreds of hours too but it’s also quite educational, giving children a lot of freedom and the chance to learn a bit about business practices in a harmless and non-cynical way. Much like Minecraft, you and your child will end up feeling proud about what you’ve created. It’s a good feeling.

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