Yes is the answer, there are actually quite a lot of games available, safe and easy enough for the younger ones. Perhaps you could say that all games are for kids, just for different age ranges.
Games aren’t made only for the hardcore gamer, games are also made for casual and family play. And next to that there is a segment of games available for the younger ones. It could be as simple as games that follow countries’ popular cartoons or children’s TV programmes. These are games that do some sort of storytelling and let the kid choose colourful forms on the screen. The bit more advanced games ask for text input. And the next level comes closer to the hardcore gamer where a child is introduced to platforming, strategic thinking and adventuring. Between all these game types you can also find games that go from no violence to a moderate amount of violence. Violence in kids games isn’t about blood and body parts, but it just means it could provoke more violence from within the child. Perhaps certain things you should wait with until your kid is old enough.
Let’s just try to name a few.
Cartoon and TV series games
Which games to give here as an example is depending very much on where you live and what is popular right now. Also since Game Mistress is based in Norway but in the same time focusing as a European magazine on the global European market; it’s a little difficult to give an exact answer on this. So let’s say globally that games where you learn to write, learn to count, learn to read, learn to recognize colours and forms and they have some sort of storyline from TV and then you are in the right category. These games range from the age of 3 and up. They can be found for all operating systems and devices.
In learning games, kids can learn how to calculate, how to recognize patterns or colours, how to memorize things or how to write and read. And you can of course learn different languages. To name one important game on the Wii and DS for this would be Brain Training. TV series games such as Pippy Longstockings have been very popular.
Party or family games
All family and party games will do, but we could start with Mario Party and the like (Nintendo Wii, WiiU and GameCube). The party games tend to go to the classic board games. You do a game of Monopoly or you are simply throwing dices and moving your avatars around on the board and underway you are enjoying party games. Party games are mini games that make you interact with the game and with each other. It’s about competition and about strategy as well as a bit of platforming sometimes (coordination).
Animal petting games
Animal games work as well for kids. In animal games you have to take care of a virtual animal. You have to feed them, cuddle them, play with them and even punish them when they’ve been bad. These games you can find on Nintendo (Nintendogs, Nintencats) as well as on Xbox360 with the Kinect Kinectimals and you have for example EyePet on the Playstation.
Sport games in which you need to be active yourself are good to do for kids in all ages (and adults!). Take for example Zumba on Xbox360, Wii Fit on Nintendo Wii or
In this category belong as well dancing games, karaoke games and the Mario and Sonic Olympics series. The Olympic series is a sort of party game again in which you have to perform acts of the various games with a character.
Drawn to Life on the DS and Wii are good examples of drawing games. This game lets the player draw objects in the game that can be used to progress. With that said, Drawn to Life is a game for a little older audience, as you’ll need platform skills to get around the stages.
UDraw for Wii is then a better example where the player can just colour and draw away. This is a creative game.
Minecraft is perhaps nowadays the most famous one, but has a little violence in the form of monsters at night and can be rather scary really. So unless you put monsters off or disable most of them, this game isn’t suitable for the minors. But in the Adventure and Sandbox side there are both online and offline games that gives the child to use their imagination to create worlds around them. For example there is Lego and Lego City is the most popular one among them. Of course there are also the adventures of Lego, but they involve more violence once again.
All games that involve pure racing and some form of competition are good for children. For Nintendo’s range of consoles you have for example the all popular Mario Kart series, but many other typical characters have also a racing game (such as for example Sonic).
For the younger ones there are adventure games such as Spiro the Dragon and Skylanders.
And for the older you will find that the Lego series for several famous movies have been created and can be very fun.
Games of the Epic Mickey series are advisable for young children who love the characters from Walt Disney, this category has really many. This is though a category that I wouldn’t advice to the younger player. For one because they tend to require some skill, even for an adult, second because they involve some form of violence. Kirby, Donkey Kong, Mario, Sonic all have platform games. On Playstation you find Ratchet and Clank on Xbox its Trine 1 and 2. However Little Big Planet is fantastic for children, because it lets you explore and create your own content which you can share with others.
There are most likely much more examples to give, or game types to find. I would like to make a new article next week and go a little bit more in detail about games for the younger groups of children. I would like to personally thank Linn Cathrin Pettersen for the idea of this article.
That leaves me to say: Game on!