Finding great games for kids used to be like stepping through a minefield of poor-quality licensed games, dull educational programs masquerading as video games and condescending hand-holding through incredibly easy levels. Thankfully, those days have long passed and developers understand that most children are actually incredibly capable when it comes to understanding and playing video games.
The best kids' PC games are educational while also being enjoyable, subtly teaching problem-solving skills, spatial coordination and decision-making while offering a higher amount of creative freedom than ever before. We'll help guide you towards those which have suitable content and introduce the best options for 4-year-olds, 6-year-olds and 12-year-olds alike available on Amazon, Argos, Steam and the Microsoft Store.
There are a few things to consider when choosing which PC games are best to buy for a child, and our buying guide is here to help you make the best decision. You'll want to make sure that the content is suitable and that the game is the right difficulty for them, as well as making sure they'll have fun playing it!
While it goes without saying that none of the games featured on our list will include content that is not suitable for children, some games that are appropriate for a fourteen-year-old may not be a good fit for a five-year-old. Something that a teenager may find amusing, for example, could frighten or upset a younger child.
PEGI ratings are the game content rating system for Europe and the UK and are the video game equivalent of the film certification board. If a game contains violence, drugs or explicitly sexual imagery, it will have a PEGI 18 rating to indicate that it isn't suitable for children under the age of 18.
Aside from PEGI 18, there are four other ratings that are worth noting: PEGI 16, PEGI 12, PEGI 7 and PEGI 3. However, a PEGI rating doesn't indicate that a game is only suitable for children around that age, as it is purely a content warning. The FIFA games, for example, are all rated PEGI 3 but are enjoyed by all age ranges.
It's much easier to determine whether certain content is suitable for kids than whether a game is going to be too difficult for them because children develop at different rates and have different sets of skills.
You may be surprised to hear it, but there are a lot of very young children out there who aren't just playing games at the ages of 10-12, but they're actually developing their own creations within platforms like Minecraft, Fortnite and Roblox.
Just like with adults, having difficulty settings within a game is a useful way to avoid frustration if the default options are just a bit too challenging. Apart from a handful of truly difficult games out there which tend to feature more adult content, most children these days won't have much trouble with the majority on the market.
That being said, if you're buying a game for a child, the odds are that you know them much better than we do. If you know they get frustrated easily and enjoy stories more than being challenged, certain genres of games offer more or less of a challenge than others.
As former CEO of Nintendo America, Reggie Fils-Aime, famously said: "If it's not fun, why bother?" and if your child isn't having fun, there's no point in them playing, whatever the educational benefits may be. Pick a genre of game that your child enjoys to make sure they're happy as they play.
There are way too many genres to list when it comes to which are best for children, and anything outside of horror games will have some child-friendly titles. Even some first and third-person shooters are suitable for children thanks to cartoonish and over-exaggerated presentation.
We will take a moment to specially mention that sandbox games are particularly good at encouraging creative freedom. Similarly, there are some great games out there that foster a sense of adventure and wonder, while others focus on playing with others either cooperatively or competitively.
Playing online is an unavoidable reality of modern life, but there is very little to worry about when your child is online as there are plenty of safeguards and parental locks in almost every game these days. Rather than being worried, be encouraged by the fact that playing online is a great way to make new friends and get an insight into other cultures and countries.
Online multiplayer games fall into two categories, competitive or cooperative, and are sometimes a mix of the two when it comes to team games. Both types offer great learning experiences – co-op games teach the importance of teamwork and interacting with others, while competitive games foster healthy competition and help master skills in order to be the best you can be.
Now that you've had a chance to look over all the things you need to consider when buying games for children, it's time to look at our top ten. We've rounded up the best PC games for all ages and tastes, so whether they're a fan of action-adventure or creative sandboxes, there's something for everyone.
|Difficulty Options||Multiple togglable options|
|Difficulty Options||Easy, medium, hard|
|Genre||Gameshow, battle royale|
|Online Multiplayer||Online Only|
|Difficulty Options||Default, adventure, apocalypse|
|Difficulty Options||Peaceful, easy, normal, hard|
Warner Bros. Interactive
The Sims 4
Spyro™ Reignited Trilogy
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Bloons TD 6
LEGO® Marvel Super Heroes 2
Forza Horizon 5
A Building Game That Encourages Creative Expression
Create Your Own Sims and Build the Perfect Home
A Dungeon-Diving Adventure for Minecraft Fans
Three for the Price of One in This Fantastic Trilogy
A Relaxing Game That Teaches the Importance of Nature and Relationships
Slapstick Fun Inspired by Obstacle Course Gameshows
A Bargain That Offers Hours of Energetic Play
Enter Psychedelic Worlds Inside People’s Imaginations
Two Popular Franchises Collide in a Hilarious Action-Adventure
The Ultimate Racing Series Is Back for One More Ride
|Difficulty Options||Peaceful, easy, normal, hard||-||Default, adventure, apocalypse||-||-||-||Easy, medium, hard||Multiple togglable options||-||Extensive|
|Genre||Sandbox||Simulation||Dungeon crawler||Platformer, adventure||Farming simulation||Gameshow, battle royale||Tower defense||Platformer||Action adventure||Racing|
|Online Multiplayer||Yes||-||Yes||-||Yes||Online Only||Yes||-||-||Yes|
Does your child have a sizeable collection of consoles, or are you considering getting them a Switch or a tablet? You can never be too prepared when buying for younger gamers, so have a read of our other kid-friendly articles to see what's out there.
There you have it, our top 10 list of the best PC games for kids in the UK. Whether you were looking for your own child or a relative, we hope you were able to find something suitable for whoever you had in mind. Games can be a great way of teaching children in a fun and engaging way, so don't be afraid to encourage them to try different things!
Author: David Sexton
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