18 of the best Switch games for kids

From kart racers to block-breaking adventures, these are the best kids games on Switch

The best Switch games for kids

by William Lobley |

It can be easy to look at the world of video games and see nothing but grey futures, terrifying zombies, and bloody battlefields. But in truth, the gaming world is a wide and inclusive place, full of titles to please everyone. What's the Best has rounded up some of our favourite video games into a list of the best Switch games for kids.

One gaming console in particular that demonstrates the full spectrum of gaming is the Nintendo Switch, which boasts an extensive and brilliant game catalogue.

Of course, it has its fair share of content aimed at mature audiences, but the Japanese giant’s bread and butter are bold, colourful and family-friendly. Take for example its mascot, one look at Super Mario and you’ll see what we mean. The chunky-cheeky plumber is about as far from the hellish landscapes seen on PlayStation and Xbox as you can get.

Related: The best Nintendo Switch accessories | Switch Pro Controller review

Is the Nintendo Switch suitable for kids?

It isn’t just Mario that makes the Switch the ideal console for kids. There are tonnes of titles out there that are kid-friendly. There are games from LEGO that are full of charm and adventure, new 3D outings for the cute and pink Kirby, and Marvel superhero games all waiting to keep the kids happy. Minecraft and Fortnite are also available on the system, and no one needs to be told how well these games go down with kids.

There’s so much choice in fact, that you’re going to need some help cutting through to what’s good.

With that in mind, we’ve enlisted our gaming experts to put together a buyer’s guide, listing the best Switch games for kids. We've even included the average playtime of real reviewers so you can see just how long these games will keep the kids occupied.

Switch games for kids tried and tested
©What's The Best

The best Switch games for kids at a glance:

Does one of these stand out as a game your kids will love? Click the link to jump to the details.

Editor’s Choice: Super Mario Odyssey

Gold Award Winner: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Silver Award Winner: Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Bronze Award Winner: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Best adventure game: Pokémon Legends: Arceus

The best Nintendo Switch games in detail:

Super Mario Odyssey is a 3D platform game full of charm and adventure. In this outing, Nintendo's favourite plumber strikes out across the galaxy to save Princess Peach from Bowser…again. What keeps the Mario franchise feeling fresh, however, are the inventive level designs and hidden challenges which give the game extra life, as it can be revisited time and time again.

Specifications
Players 1-2
Suitable ages 7+
Genre Action, Platform
Average playtime 31hrs

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a smash hit across the board, drawing in both male and female players from all age ranges. One of our writers has even racked up 400hrs of playtime since its release in 2020. The reason? It's a joyous and relaxing place to be. This one is for kids with a good attention span and reading age, but ultimately it's a game about various cute critters coming together to build a community. They can get creative designing towns of their own and show them off to friends. It's lovely.

Specifications
Players 1-8
Suitable ages 3+
Genre Simulation
Average playtime 101hrs (endless play)

Related: The best Animal Crossing merchandise

Take control of the powerful pink puffball, Kirby, and move around in 3D stages as you discover a mysterious world. What journey awaits Kirby? Take a deep breath and get ready for an unforgettable adventure. In this title, players travel in a 3D world (an unusual turn for Kirby), hunting down collectable meals and absorbing foes to gain their powers. The game is really quick to pick up, with a difficulty progression which keeps the game continuously engaging. At around 12 to 15 hours long, Kirby and the Forgotten Land offers plenty of entertainment, too - not to mention how replayable it is.

Specifications
Players 1-2
Suitable ages 3+
Genre Platform, Puzzle
Average playtime 12hrs

Mario Kart 8 might just be the best arcade racer out there, boasting over 40 racers, 48 tracks, and a selection of unique game modes, such as Bob-omb Blast and Balloon Battle, which serve as a nice addition to the standard, but still thrilling, track races. Solo, multiplayer, or online, Mario Kart always pleases. This Deluxe edition is preloaded with all the DLC, so there's plenty of bang for your buck here.

Specifications
Players 1-12
Suitable ages 3+
Genre Racing, Multiplayer
Average playtime 24hrs (endless play)

The classic charming comedy-spook franchise's Switch debut has you venture through a rickety hotel as Mario's brother, Luigi. Armed with a vacuum and not much else, the world is a fun and rewarding place to explore full of memorable puzzles and encounters. A must-have for any Mario and Luigi fan.

Specifications
Players 1-8
Suitable ages 7+
Genre Action, Adventure
Average playtime 16hrs

Just Dance captures the hyperactive energy of those old Dance Dance Revolution machines found in arcades of the early-2000s and beams it right into your front room. Using the Switch's Joy-Cons or a smartphone app, players throw some increasingly tough shapes to some of the biggest chart bangers. It's a tonne of fun and a sneaky way of getting in some exercise. The 2022 release features 40 tracks from the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, and Billy Eilish. It even comes with a free one-month Just Dance Unlimited subscription, unlocking over 550 additional songs.

If you're looking for even more Just Dance fun, be sure to check out Just Dance 2020 and Just Dance 2021 for more songs and moves.

Specifications
Players 1-6
Suitable ages 3+
Genre Music/Rhythm
Average playtime 17hrs (endless play)

Related: The best exercise games

Minecraft Dungeons takes the normally open-world, non-linear world of Minecraft and brings it to the action-adventure genre inspired, by dungeon crawler games. The game has the player fight their way through dungeons to defend villagers from evil and is packed with exciting levels brimming with loot and good times. It's also good for multiplayer, with up to four friends being able to quest through the underground together.

Specifications
Players 1-4
Suitable ages 7+
Genre Action, Adventure, Role-Playing
Average playtime 9hrs

LEGO City Undercover is a family-friendly take on the crime and heist game genre. Players take on the role of Chase McCain, an undercover cop looking to take down the criminal mastermind Rex Fury. It's a game with a huge LEGO city, plenty of cars, and loads of fun missions. Plus, it can be played two-player for twice the blocky carnage! The adults in the house might be sneaking this one on after the kids are in bed.

Specifications
Players 1-2
Suitable ages 7+
Genre Action, Adventure, Open World
Average playtime 28hrs

This is a great way of tricking the gamers young and old into doing some light exercise. Arms is a boxing-style game where punches are thrown at the player's opponent across rings on stretchy, slinky-like arms. This distance fighting makes for a game that requires timing and skill – you won't find an experience like this anywhere else.

Specifications
Players 1-4
Suitable ages 12+
Genre Action, Fighting, Multiplayer
Average playtime 11hrs (endless play)

In Overcooked 2, two players are set to running a restaurant's kitchen, ensuring that everything runs smoothly. This isn't just to keep a decent TripAdvisor ranking, but to beat the evil army of The Unbread. It's a game made up of mayhem, with the kitchen being set on a storm-battered hot air balloon, over a ravine, or in a gold mine. The game's silly, surprisingly tough, and endlessly rewarding. Certainly one of the best party games around.

Specifications
Players 1-4
Suitable ages 3+
Genre Cooking Simulation, Strategy, Party
Average playtime 10hrs

Who knew that smashing blocks could be so much fun? Minecraft is a worldwide phenomenon, drawing in gamers of every ilk with its charming 8-bit textures and make-your-own-adventure sandbox worlds. While there's no goal or 'point' to Minecraft, its spirit is pure adventure, creativity, and imagination. A wonderful title for newcomers to gaming, and a breath of fresh air for experienced players.

Specifications
Players 1-8
Suitable ages 7+
Genre Adventure, Simulation, Action, Strategy
Average playtime 162hrs (endless play)

Any fan of the Marvel comics and films will be thrilled with this game. The player takes control of a superhero party to fight their way to Thanos and the Infinity Stones. The clean art style is a pleasure to behold, and the narrative feels like a genuine Marvel romp.

Specifications
Players 1-4
Suitable ages 12+
Genre Action, Role-Playing
Average playtime 25hrs

The success of Epic Games' Fortnite is…well, epic. Over 75-million players log in to try their hand at the battle royale matches. Its cartoonish design is a smash with kids of all ages, and the popularity of the game shows no real sign of abating soon. The real bonus here is that while the game is free to download, physical copies like this special edition version give players a special in-game skin.

Specifications
Players Up to 99
Suitable ages 12+
Genre Action, Strategy
Average playtime 110hrs (endless play)

In Pokémon Legends Arceus, players are taken back in time to the Hisui Region - the land which we now know as the Sinnoh Region. In this outing, players will be recruited by the Galaxy Expedition Team and tasked to "seek out all Pokémon". Your goal will be to meet every species of Pokémon from the Hisui region as you work to complete the land's first-ever Pokédex. You're never too young or too old to indulge in a Pokémon game.

Specifications
Players 1-4
Suitable ages 7+
Genre Adventure, Role-Playing
Average playtime 44hrs

By mixing side-scrolling platform action with creative freedom, Super Mario Maker 2 provides hours of creatively charged entertainment. Kids can build and play custom levels, upload the creations to the cloud for others to enjoy, and download and play other player-made maps.

Specifications
Players 1-4
Suitable ages 3+
Genre Platform, Action
Average playtime 11hrs (endless play)

Related: The best Super Mario merchandise

Looking for something to keep a group of kids happy? Then look no further than Super Smash Bros. The premise is simple – players pick a loveable character and go toe-to-toe with friends on a floating platform in an all-out, chaotic, physics-defying mega-brawl. It's not clever, but it sure is brilliant. Just make sure that you've got enough controllers!

Specifications
Players 1-8
Suitable ages 12+
Genre Action, Fighting, Multiplayer
Average playtime 43hrs (endless play)

Cat lovers rejoice, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury lets you turn Mario and friends into felines in their latest adventure. The story follows the Sprixie Princess being kidnapped and features enhanced gameplay mechanics to make the game more fun. It also offers co-op play for up to three players as well as online multiplayer.

Specifications
Players 1-4
Suitable ages 7+
Genre Action, Platform
Average playtime 16hrs

Enjoy some of the best multiplayer games on a Nintendo Switch with this simple but fun game. 51 Worldwide Games features a wide variety of games, including bowling, poker, and draughts. It also features a cracking mosaic mode that allows for four devices to be used to make a larger screen.

Specifications
Players 1-4
Suitable ages 12+
Genre Multiplayer, Party
Average playtime 15hrs (endless play)

Want to know all the games you're getting? Nintendo break down all 51 right here:

William Lobley is a Senior Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

Subscribe to the What’s The Best Newsletter to keep up to date with more of the latest reviews and recommendations from Will and the rest of the What’s The Best team.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us