The Ultimate Guide to the Best Nintendo Switch Games for Kids

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As both a data analyst and lifelong gaming enthusiast, I‘ve extensively researched the vast library of Nintendo Switch games to uncover the best titles for kids. With my own parental perspective, I want to recommend games that provide fun and age-appropriate experiences that also enrich young minds.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll dive deep into the top Nintendo Switch games for children of all ages and interests. I‘ll share my professional insights why I recommend each game based on gameplay, design, educational value and more. You‘ll also find handy tips from my own parenting knowledge to pick suitable games for your family.

Let‘s level up and explore the wonderful world of Nintendo Switch games for kids!

Why Nintendo Switch is Great for Kids

Before we get into game recommendations, I want to highlight what makes Nintendo Switch such a great family console:

Brilliant Portability

The Switch‘s portable design enables gaming anywhere – at home or on-the-go. The hybrid console means kids can seamlessly transition between playing on the TV and handheld mode. This flexibility is perfect for family trips, waiting rooms or playing in bed.

Intuitive Controllers

The included Joy-Con controllers feature simple button controls, motion sensors and HD Rumble feedback. This allows intuitive control schemes accessible even for younger gamers. The adjustable Joy-Cons allow for multiple grip styles suiting kids‘ hand sizes.

Local Multiplayer Focus

Unlike other consoles, the Switch emphasizes local collaborative and competitive multiplayer gaming. Kids can play exciting games together with siblings and parents using the modular controllers.

Parental Controls

The Switch has robust built-in parental controls to limit play time, restrict mature games, disable communication and more. As a parent, you can customize these settings to match your family‘s needs.

Let‘s now get into the games! I‘ll share my top recommendations for preschoolers, young kids and pre-teens.

Best Games for Preschool Kids (Ages 3 to 5)

At preschool ages between 3 to 5 years, kids benefit most from games focused on creativity, active play and developing basic skills. Here are my top picks for this age group:

1. Nintendo Labo

Nintendo Labo kits are fantastic interactive toys that come to life with the Switch and Joy-Cons. Kids build things like a piano and fishing rod using pre-cut cardboard sheets. Then by attaching Joy-Cons, their creations become working toys!

I highly recommend Labo for preschoolers as it harnesses imagination and teaches fundamental STEM skills. Building Labo kits together fosters bonding and family memories. My kids loved showing me their completed Labo creations and were eager to make more.

2. Mario Party Superstars

The Mario Party series provides energetic digital board games packed with zany mini-games perfect for preschoolers. Up to 4 players roll dice to progress on boards while competing in quick activities.

With 100 included mini-games focusing on simple skills like memorization, rapid inputs and timing, this is an accessible first party game. Its short 5-10 minute mini-game durations work well for young attention spans. Having laughs together as a family is what makes Mario Party Superstars such a hit with preschool kids.

3. Snipperclips

This innovative co-op puzzle game features two charming characters, Snip and Clip, who must cut shapes out of each other to solve challenges. Kids will have a blast exploring what designs they can snip to overcome obstacles.

Snipperclips encourages communication, coordination and spatial reasoning in a playful way. The two-player requirement makes it an engaging experience for preschoolers to cooperate with parents and siblings. Snipperclips is an underrated gem brimming with potential for early conceptual learning.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a couple other great games suitable for preschoolers:

  • Yoshi‘s Crafted World – A friendly platformer with cozy craft visuals.
  • Go Vacation – Over 50 mini-games to play as a family.

Best Games for Ages 6 to 8 Years

In early elementary school ages of 6 to 8 years, Switch games can teach kids reading comprehension, critical thinking and motor skills. These are my top recommendations for this age group:

1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The laidback social simulation Animal Crossing: New Horizons unleashes creativity in kids. Building up your personalized island paradise teaches important lessons about responsibility and resource management.

Daily new discoveries keep kids hooked while relaxing soundtracks prevent overstimulation. Reading dialogue from quirky animal villagers assists with reading development. With no pressure or penalties, Animal Crossing provides a safe space for unstructured play.

2. Kirby and the Forgotten Land

In this new 3D platforming adventure, kids help guide the lovable pink puffball Kirby through a ruined world. The simple mechanics are accessible for younger gamers.

Varied copy abilities Kirby obtains keep gameplay exciting. Co-op mode allows parents to assist kids through trickier platforming sections. Vibrant levels and upbeat music make for immersive worlds to explore.

3. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

This stellar racing game shines with options catered for kids. Smart steering and auto accelerate allow beginners to pick up and play. Vehicles and tracks are themed with classic Mario characters kids will love.

Racing against family and friends is a blast, especially for sore winning or losing sports! With deeper controls to master, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe grows well alongside new gamers. It remains one of the best local multiplayer Switch experiences.

Honorable Mentions

Other solid game choices for ages 6 to 8 include:

  • Pokemon Let‘s Go Pikachu / Eevee – Friendly intro to Pokemon RPGs.
  • Super Mario 3D World + Bowser‘s Fury – Colorful 3D platforming.
  • Luigi‘s Mansion 3 – Kid-friendly ghostbusting adventure.

Best Games for Ages 8 to 12 Years

In later elementary school ages between 8 to 12 years, Switch games can teach valuable skills like strategic thinking, independence and sportsmanship. Here are the games I highly recommend for this demographic:

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This open-world action-adventure game deserves its widespread acclaim. Kids are free to creatively approach objectives how they want in the vast map of Hyrule. Intuitive physics and environmental interactions encourage experimentation.

Breath of the Wild‘s sense of wonder andMany rewards for curiosity teaches independent problem-solving. With limited hand-holding, overcoming challenges builds self-confidence. Shrine puzzles stretch developing intellects through logic and spatial reasoning tests.

2. Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2’s inventive take on online shooters makes it a standout choice for kids. Instead of violence, players shoot colored ink to cover territory and defeat opponents. Matches are fast-paced run-and-gun action focusing on movement abilities.

Kids will be motivated to keep improving their skills against others online. The funky squid kid characters and overall style create accessible gameplay parents can approve of.

3. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

This turn-based tactical game blends Mario characters with Ubisoft‘s Rabbids series. Kids maneuver a team in grid-based environments using cover and strategy to defeat foes.

Each hero character has unique abilities to consider for best synergy. Managing team health/resources teaches important planning ahead. Funny animations and design ease new players into a typically complex genre. Parents can assist through co-op mode when kids get stuck.

Honorable Mentions

Some other excellent games for ages 8 to 12 include:

  • New Pokemon Snap – Relaxing on-rails photography game.
  • Minecraft – Endless creativity.
  • Super Smash Bros Ultimate – Friendly multiplayer brawler.

Finding the Right Games for Your Kids

Beyond just age, here are some key considerations when selecting the best Nintendo Switch games for your children:

Match Their Interests

Firstly, choose games that align with your kid‘s personal interests and passions. Maybe they love animals, superheroes, racing, puzzles or sports. Every child has their own preferences.

Consider Attention Span

Younger kids around preschool ages may struggle with long story-based games. Opt for experiences with shorter session times like party games. Older kids can better sustain focus for lengthier adventures.

Discuss Content With Them

I recommend playing story trailers of games together with your child and discussing if the themes and content seem appropriate. This gives them transparency.

Read Reviews

Game reviews from reputable parenting websites detail objectionable content not suitable for kids like violence, language and more. They‘ll note if games have educational value too.

Play Together First

For new games, initially play together with your child to get a feel for gameplay and themes. Co-op modes allow guiding them through challenges they find tough.

Balance Game Types

Ensure your kids don‘t just play one game type like sports games. Vary genres to provide different benefits from adventure problem-solving to creative sandbox games.

Monitor Online Interactions

If your child plays games online, make use of parental controls to limit interactions with unknown players for safety. Disable voice chat for younger kids.

By picking suitable games that align with your family values while bringing your child joy and growth, gaming can become an amazing tool.

Setting Up Nintendo Switch Parental Controls

The Nintendo Switch has excellent built-in parental controls to protect kids. Here‘s a quick guide to setting up restrictions:

  1. Open System Settings > Parental Controls and link your Nintendo account to create a PIN.

  2. Select your child‘s user profile to enable restrictions.

  3. Adjust settings for play time limits, content filtering, communication and purchase blocking.

  4. Check "Restrict Software Played" to manually whitelist allowed games per age.

  5. Adjust as your child matures. Discuss restrictions so they understand the rules.

Parental controls provide essential protection for younger gamers. Make sure to have open conversations with your child about balanced gaming habits too.

Final Thoughts

Kids gain so much from suitable Nintendo Switch games. They can grow problem-solving abilities, strategizing, reading comprehension and motor control in exciting interactive worlds. Following this guide‘s recommendations, you‘re sure to find enjoyable games that enrich your child‘s development.

I encourage playing Switch games together as a family. Laughing together over rounds of Mario Kart are memories kids will cherish. With mindful game selections and active parental involvement, gaming can become a beloved hobby.

If you have any other great Switch game recommendations for kids, I‘d love to hear them! Please share your own thoughts and experiences below. Let‘s keep discovering the most engaging, educational Switch games to inspire the next generation. Game on!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.