You might not want your kids playing video games all day every day. Video games for kids come with lots of pros and cons. On the downside, video games are designed to be addictive, and too much of anything can be harmful—especially if video games are replacing your kids’ face-to-face interactions with friends, or time spent doing physical activity outside.
But video games have surprising benefits, too. They develop STEM skills like problem solving while sparking creativity, too. They help with hand-eye coordination, aid in reading skills, and increase cognitive functioning. Some games even encourage exercise or foster social connection and new friendships.
Your job as a parent is to provide your kids with games that do more good than bad—games that are safe for little eyes and maybe throw some education into the mix, while still providing a whole lot of fun. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the five best PC video games for kids. Take a look at these games your kids will love.
Launched in 2019, Planet Zoo is a relatively new game that offers a lot of fun and a lot of education for kids (especially those who love animals, science, or who have an entrepreneurial spirit). In this zoo simulator, players can build their own zoo full of surprisingly realistic animals animated by artificial intelligence. 74 animal species are available in the base game and 56 more can be accessed through additional content packs.
Once the zoo is built, players have to maintain it by keeping up with the environments and providing behavioral enrichment for the animals. Kids will also be responsible for in-game wildlife conservation and managing zoo guests and staff.
Planet Zoo is free to download on PC and can be fun for parents to play as well as kids.
In the well-known PC video game Stardew Valley, your child can step into this role-playing game where they’ll be tasked with turning an old farm plot into the beautiful valley it used to be.
Stardew Valley is inspired by the video game Harvest Moon. Players can choose to take on quests, or spend their time fishing, crafting, and exploring. The game is populated with non-player characters but also allows multiple players to play online together.
Parent reviews of Stardew Valley say the game is largely appropriate, and teaches kids to plan as well as how to work to earn money. It’s a peaceful and relaxing game. You can install Stardew Valley for free on PC.
You’d likely be hard-pressed to find a list of the best PC video games that doesn’t include Minecraft. This sandbox video game has been around since 2009. Some teachers even use Minecraft to teach subjects like chemistry or computer science!
The game world is filled with 3D objects. Players “mine” these blocks and use them to build structures. Players can select their preferred game mode (survival mode, hardcore mode, creative mode, adventure mode, and spectator mode) and difficulty level when starting a new world.
What should parents know about Minecraft? While the game is rated E10+, making it appropriate for kids 10 years old and up, the game does contain mild fantasy violence. Players can also interact online—as well as purchase items within the game.
With 64 million monthly users, Roblox is one of the most popular video games today. Roblox was created in 2006 and has steadily gained popularity ever since. This video game platform is really endless games in one—users can design their own games in Roblox Studio, and play games created by other users. The game design aspect offers a ripe learning opportunity as kids learn to design their own games.
Roblox also has a social aspect where players can chat with each other and join groups. Because Roblox is wide open, we recommend utilizing the parental controls available, and/or saving this game until your child is at least 12-13 years old. Parental controls are password protected by a password you choose. They allow you to decide whether your child can be contacted and who can message them.
Roblox is available for free PC download, although the game does come with ads unless you purchase “Robux.” Roblox Premium is an optional monthly purchase that opens up extra features and provides a Robux “allowance.”
Kids who enjoy LEGOs or Star Wars will flock to this PC video game where they can play through all nine Star Wars saga films. This brand new game has impressive design with a smattering of humor.
When a player starts gameplay, he or she can choose where to start in the three Skywalker Saga trilogies. The game has 380 playable characters and players will participate in exciting light saber combat. The game is full of planets for players to explore.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is rated PEGI 7 for Fear and Violence (mild violence that could frighten younger children). The game includes weapons such as blaster rifles and light sabers. Keep in mind that the puzzles may be moderately difficult for younger children.
Video games hold a variety of benefits for kids. By paying attention to parental controls, selecting age-appropriate difficulty levels, and finding a game that aligns with your child’s interests, you can help your child experience the benefits and enjoyment of playing video games on their PC.