The 12 Best Video Game Consoles for Kids of 2022

The PlayStation 5 is very user-friendly and has a large game library

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Game systems are fairly involved pieces of tech, so there’s a lot to consider when deciding which one best suits your needs. Some features that make a good video game console for kids include easy-to-access parental controls, a large and varied library of compatible games, durable construction, and an easy-to-use interface.

Reviewed and Approved

The PlayStation 5 is our top pick thanks to its great gaming library and fast operation. For families, we recommend the Nintendo Switch - OLED Model since it has user-friendly controls and a game library packed with a wide range of single-player and multiplayer games.

In order to select the best video game consoles for kids, we researched and analyzed dozens of gaming systems on the market. We also relied on our personal experience with the consoles and sought expert insights from Margaret Moser, game designer and assistant professor of the practice of cinematic arts at the University of Southern California, and Anthony Bean, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist with video game expertise.

Here are the best video game systems for kids.

Best Overall: Sony PlayStation 5

4.3
Sony PlayStation 5

Courtesy of Best Buy

Pros
  • Powerful and fast

  • User-friendly interface

  • Great exclusive games and controllers

  • Backwards compatible

Cons
  • Frequently sold out

  • Large

The Playstation 5 (PS5) is feature-packed and offers one of the highest quality gaming experiences you’ll find thanks to its incredibly fast load times, clean and easy-to-use interface, beautiful visuals (courtesy of its 4K support and frame rate of up to 120 fps), and immersive 3D audio. Plus, the innovative PS5 DualSense controllers are super comfortable and easy to grip, and they have improved haptics that allow you to better feel what’s happening in the game in your hands—ultimately creating a more engaging gaming experience. The system also supports VR gaming and Blu-ray movies, and it has substantial parental control options.  

Games for the PS5 can be purchased digitally or as hard copies. There are many well-loved PS5-exclusive games, adding to the allure of the system. Many of those exclusive games are better suited for older players, but part of what makes the PS5 so great is that its extensive library means your child can easily adjust the games they play as they age, making it a good long-term investment. Some games available for younger players include Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Overcooked! All You Can Eat, and Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. The PS5 is backwards compatible with Playstation 4 (PS4) games, too. That means if your child previously owned a PS4, many of the games they played on their PS4 will also run on the PS5.

The biggest issue with the PS5 is that it’s typically difficult to find in stock, even nearly two years after its release—which, while unfortunate, speaks to its enduring popularity. You should also keep in mind that this is quite a large system, measuring 15.35 inches by 4.09 inches by 10.23 inches.

Price at time of publication: $696

Controllers: 1 DualSense controller | Battery life: Plug-in | Storage: 825GB | Age recommendation: 9 and up

Best Overall Runner-up: Microsoft Xbox Series X

4
Xbox Series X

Walmart

Pros
  • Great power and speed

  • Easy-to-use parental control app

  • Backwards compatible

  • Xbox Game Pass

Cons
  • Not as many exclusive games as the PS5

  • User interface could be better

The Xbox Series X loads games impressively fast. It also has 4K gaming resolution, a frame rate of up to 120 fps, and comfortable-to-grip controllers, which allow for an overall smooth gaming experience. Its 3D spatial audio and support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos can make your game sessions more immersive as well. This Xbox is backwards compatible with the previous models. So if your child previously owned an original Xbox, Xbox 360, or Xbox One, many of the games they played on those systems will also run on the Microsoft Xbox Series X. The Xbox’s interface isn’t as neat as the PS5’s, but the system has an overall sleek, inconspicuous design, as well as a sizable 1TB of storage. 

Parental controls can be easily set up and accessed through the Xbox Family Settings app, and games for the Xbox Series X can be purchased digitally or as hard copies. The Xbox Series X's main downfall is that it lacks as many system-exclusive titles as the PS5. However, it still has great game options for kids, such as sports games like Rocket League, classic platformer games like Sonic Mania Plus, and simulation strategy games like Overcooked! All You Can Eat. You will also have the convenient option of subscribing to Xbox Game Pass, which grants you access to a large library of games. There is a subscription fee, but it allows your child to try out a bunch of different titles under that one monthly fee, rather than requiring you to buy each title individually. This is especially handy for gamers who are new and trying to discover what types of games they like. 

Price at time of publication: $499

Controllers: 1 Xbox controller | Battery life: Plug-in | Storage: 1TB | Age recommendation: 9 and up

Best Budget: Microsoft Xbox Series S

4
Microsoft Xbox Series S

Courtesy of Xbox

Pros
  • Backwards compatible

  • Xbox Game Pass

  • Compact and lightweight

  • Handy parental control app

Cons
  • Lower specs than the Xbox Series X

  • Digital games only

The Xbox Series S launched alongside the Series X and is less expensive—but you get less advanced hardware and features. The Xbox Series S has 1440P gaming resolution and 512 GB of storage; despite these lower specs, it still loads games fast and can offer you a seamless gaming experience. It's great for more casual gamers or those who want to get their foot in the door of gaming without investing in a higher-priced, more feature-packed system. The same game titles are available on both the Series X and S, but you’ll only be able to play digital copies of games on the Series S, as it does not have a disc drive—which means this is definitely not the system for staunch advocates for owning hard copies of games. 

Just like the Series X, the Series S is backwards compatible with original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games. You still have the option to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass and gain access to a bunch of different titles. You also still have easy access to parental controls through the Xbox Family Settings app, through which you can easily do things like restrict your child’s spending and monitor their online friends' list. In terms of design, this is a wonderfully compact and lightweight system, measuring only 2.6 inches by 5.94 inches by 10.82 inches and weighing 4.25 pounds. So while this is not designed to be portable in the same way as a handheld device, it’s still manageable to pack this system up and bring it elsewhere if your family goes on a trip or your child wants to take the console to a friend’s house. 

Price at time of publication: $289

Controllers: 1 Xbox controller | Battery life: Plug-in | Storage: 512 GB | Age recommendation: 9 and up

Best for Families: Nintendo Switch OLED Model

 Nintendo Switch OLED Model

Amazon

Pros
  • User-friendly design and interface

  • OLED display

  • Great parental controls

  • Multiple ways to play

Cons
  • Lacks 4K compatibility

  • Not too many upgrades from previous model

The Nintendo Switch OLED Model trades in the LCD display of the previous version for an OLED display, which brings you a brighter picture with deeper contrast for a more visually pleasing experience. It also offers better audio and a larger screen, but it has the same 720p resolution when used as a handheld device. The Switch is still straightforward to use in every way, with user-friendly controllers and a simple interface that makes accessing your games easy. Plus, the Nintendo library is packed with games of different genres and difficulty levels—you should have no problem finding games, either single-player or multiplayer, to entertain a child, teen, young adult, or grandparent. The Switch’s parental controls are also extensive and easy to manage through the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app, and the option to play it as a handheld system or on your TV is convenient as well. 

Games for the Switch are available as downloads and game cards, and the library includes options designed to teach young kids how to code and design games, such as Game Builder Garage and Super Mario Maker 2, role-playing games like Pokemon Diamond and Shining Pearl and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and strategy-based games like Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Overall, the system's user-friendly design, upgraded screen, and expansive library that can cater to different age ranges and gaming skill levels makes the Nintendo Switch OLED Model our favorite system for families to share and use together.

Price at time of publication: $350

Controllers: 1 pair of Joy-Cons | Battery life: 4.5-9 hours in handheld mode | Storage: 64 GB | Age recommendation: 3 and up

What the Experts Say

"The Nintendo Switch OLED is the most kid-friendly gaming option because of the nature of the system, the games on it, the choices and parental controls are easiest to use, and most of the games are geared toward more child-friendly minds.” Anthony Bean, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist with video game expertise

Best for Young Kids: LeapFrog LeapPad Educational Tablets

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra XDi
LeapFrog
Pros
  • 20 different educational apps

  • Straightforward parent controls

  • Sturdy design

  • Extra downloadable content

Cons
  • Screen resolution could be better

  • Screen on smaller side

The LeapPad Academy Educational Tablet has 20 different apps pre-downloaded onto it, all of which are geared towards learning different skills and subjects, such as reading, art, math, coding, environmental science, and more. You can also head over to the LeapFrog App Center to purchase and download additional game apps, such as PAW Patrol: Ready for Action!, Disney Pixar Finding Dory: Mathematical Memories, or Disney Pixar Monsters University. There are plenty of easy-to-set-up parental controls on the tablet that allow you to do things like limit screen time and block certain content. 

On the more technical side of things, the tablet has a 7-inch screen and a 1024x600 screen resolution. The tablet is sturdily built, with a protective bumper and shatter-proof screen, so you don’t have to worry about minor drops and accidents. The tablet has a built-in kickstand that lets it sit stably on a surface as your child plays, and it comes with a stylus to play and practice writing skills. With this tablet, you also get a three-month free trial of LeapFrog Academy, which is LeapFrog’s interactive game program designed for children who are 3 to 6 years old. As a bonus, the tablet is available in green or pink, and its home screen is customizable, so your child can add things like stickers and animations to it to make the tablet really feel like it’s their own device.

Price at time of publication: $140

Controllers: Stylus and touch screen | Battery life: 9 hours | Storage: 16GB | Age recommendation: 3-8

Best for Tweens: Razer Kishi V2

Razer Kishi V2

Amazon

Pros
  • Ergonomic design

  • Cloud gaming compatible

  • Pass-through charging

  • Responsive

Cons
  • Smartphone required

  • No headphone jack

Tweens who own smartphones may want to opt for a mobile game controller over a handheld system since it’s easier to tote around and more inconspicuous. The Razer Kishi V comes with two pieces that make up each end of a typical gaming controller. Each piece easily slides and grips onto each end of your phone, effectively turning it into a traditional handheld gaming device. The controller has clickable analog thumbsticks, function buttons, an 8-Way D-pad, and face buttons to bring you more intuitive control as you play. The controller is responsive, too, and brings you a low-latency, smooth gaming experience. Please note that there is a model of Razer Kishi V2 for Androids and a version for iPhones, so be sure to add the right one to your cart if you decide to buy it. Also, parental controls will have to be handled through your child’s phone rather than through the device itself. 

The controller’s ergonomic design makes it comfortable and easy to hold, even over a long period of time. One end of the controller connects to your phone’s charging port, but don’t worry—you won’t lose your ability to charge your phone as you play since the device allows for pass-through charging. Unfortunately, there is no headphone jack, which means you will have to rely on the device's speaker ports or Bluetooth headphones, which can sometimes lead to audio lag while gaming. You can use the Razer Kishi V2 to play certain games from the app store, but it's also cloud gaming-compatible. Cloud gaming refers to games that are streamed rather than downloaded or purchased as hard copies. For instance, this means the Razer Kishi V2 can work with PC and Xbox games your child streams to their phone.

Price at time of publication: $99

Controllers: 1 Razer Kishi controller | Battery life: N/A | Storage: N/A | Age recommendation: 9 and up

Best for Learning: Osmo Genius Starter Kit for iPad

Osmo Genius Starter Kit for iPad

Courtesy of Amazon

  • Off-screen components

  • STEAM topics

  • Great for playing together

  • Tablet stand and storage units included

  • Tablet required

  • Limited tablet compatibility

  • Many pieces to manage

Upon first glance, the Osmo Genius Starter Kit + Family Game Night probably doesn’t meet expectations of what you may imagine a typical gaming system to look like. However, this kit really is like a dynamic console for your tablet. It utilizes tangible, off-screen components, such as tangram pieces, number and letter tiles, and pen and paper in coordination with on-screen displays to create a unique gaming experience. The kit conveniently comes with a stand for your tablet, as well as seven different games. It also comes with stackable storage, which makes keeping track of all the different pieces easier. Something to keep in mind, however, is that this kit is only compatible with certain tablets—namely the latest iPads, as well as the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 tablets.

Five of the seven included games are part of the Starter Kit: Tangrams, in which your child will have to arrange tangram pieces to match on-screen images; Words, which teaches kids how to spell and has both a single-player and multiplayer mode; Newton, a problem-solving game in which your child will use pen and paper to guide on-screen balls; Masterpiece, which turns photos into on-screen outlines your child copies and draws; and Numbers, in which your child can learn different math skills. There are also two other multiplayer games to be played with family and friends. The first is Math Buzz, in which you create teams of up to four players and solve equations to complete a task. The second is Lettertopia, in which teams traverse a board together by spelling out words. Since all the games are intended to teach your child some type of STEAM skill and blend physical, real-life actions with digital fun, this kit is our favorite system for learning. 

Price at time of publication: $140

Controllers: N/A | Battery life: N/A | Storage: N/A | Age recommendation: 6–10

Best Handheld: Nintendo Switch Lite

4
Nintendo Switch Lite

Walmart

Pros
  • Expansive game library

  • Great parental control app

  • Lightweight

  • Available in different colors

Cons
  • Does not support TV mode

  • No vibration

The Nintendo Switch Lite is different from the other Switch models because it’s only made to be played as a handheld and tabletop device, as it doesn’t support TV mode and it doesn’t come with a TV dock. Also unlike the other Switch models, this mode’s controls are built-in, and it does not have detachable Joy-Cons. Despite these major differences, it still has a lot in common with the other Switch models—it has a 720p screen resolution, relies on a straightforward interface that makes buying and accessing games easy, and lets you efficiently set parental controls, such as the ability to limit screen time and in-game communications through the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app. Weighing just 0.61 pounds and measuring about 3.6 inches by 8.2 inches by 0.55 inches, the Switch Lite is well-suited for gaming on the go. The 5.5-inch LCD touchscreen is a good size for playing games, too.

With the Switch Lite, you still get to choose games from the same large Nintendo game library and purchase games as either digital or physical copies. You can play fan-favorite RPG games, such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, platform games like Super Mario Odyssey, brain teaser games like Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain, and even photography adventure games like New Pokemon Snap. An unfortunate way this Switch differs from other Switch models is the lack of vibration feedback when you play a game. On the plus side, up to eight different Switch Lite systems can link up together via a wireless connection to play games together, so it’s just as great for multiplayer gameplay as it is for single-player. The device is also available in five different colors—blue, coral, gray, turquoise, and yellow—which give it a bit of a personal touch since your child can pick their favorite color for the device.

Price at time of publication: $200

Controllers: N/A | Battery life: 3-7 hours | Storage: 32GB | Age recommendation: 6 and up

Best for Sports Games: Nintendo Switch

4.5
nintendo-switch

Walmart

Pros
  • Compatible with innovative sports games

  • Plenty of parental controls

  • Play in TV, tabletop, or handheld mode

  • Straightforward interface

Cons
  • OLED model is better in handheld mode

  • Battery life could be better

If you’re looking for a system specifically to play sports games that are designed to get you moving, the Nintendo Switch is a good option. Just like with the Switch OLED, this model has a clean interface, can be played in TV, tabletop, or handheld mode, has a 720p resolution in handheld mode, and lets you easily access and set parental control through the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app. You may be wondering: What makes this model a better option for sports games than the OLED model? Well, it comes down to price. The Switch OLED is more expensive than the Switch. If you intend to primarily play movement-reliant sports games, you’ll mainly be playing games with the Switch docked to your TV rather than in handheld mode. The OLED only brings you a better visual experience in handheld mode, so it could be superfluous to shell out extra bucks on the OLED screen if you're mostly playing in TV mode. 

The Nintendo Switch is compatible with great, innovative games that incorporate physical movement into gameplay, namely Nintendo Switch Sports and Ring Fit Adventure. Nintendo Switch Sports is available as both a digital and physical edition and lets you play virtual versions of soccer, volleyball, bowling, tennis, badminton, and swordplay. Your Joy-Cons come to act as rackets, wooden swords, or an extension of your wrist as you swing, hit, and perform all types of actions you would do if you were playing these sports in real life. The physical copy comes with a Leg Strap accessory, which lets you attach the Joy-Con to your leg, so the Switch will register your kicking movements when you play soccer. You can play this game online with people from around the world, but you can also play on the same system with family and friends. Ring Fit Adventure is an exercise game, and it comes with Nintendo's Ring-Con and Leg Strap, which help translate your off-screen movements, such as jogging, squats, and yoga poses, into on-screen gameplay. There’s an Adventure mode too, where your exercise movements help you defeat enemies.

Price at time of publication: $300

Controllers: 1 pair of Joy-Cons | Battery life: 4.5-9 hours in handheld mode | Storage: 32 GB | Age recommendation: 6 and up

Best for Serious Gamers: Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming Desktop

Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming Desktop

Amazon

Pros
  • Great graphics and performance

  • Upgradeable

  • Sleek, futuristic design

Cons
  • Additional parts required for setup

  • Complex for parental controls

PC gaming is one of the most popular and competitive forms of gaming, and it's the type of gaming you’re most likely to see in esports tournaments and on streaming sites like Twitch. The Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming Desktop provides an optimized game experience at a good price—it runs fast, has great graphics and 4K performance, and has plenty of ports, all while looking cool and futuristic. The games your child plays on a PC will likely be downloadable. Steam is one of the most popular platforms for buying and playing PC games, and it has a large library of games, including kid- and family-friendly titles. You won’t be able to set up parental controls through the PC, but you will be able to set them up through gaming platforms such as Steam. You can also set typical Internet parental controls since the PC will have to be connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network. 

Most PC gamers will recommend that you build your own custom PC, but if you don’t feel like going through the added steps of picking out your own individual pieces and putting them together, this is one of the best pre-built PCs you can buy. The main qualm gamers have had with pre-built PCs is that some models can be difficult to upgrade. As the years pass, sometimes newer games that are released require a computer with more power or better graphics processing units (GPU) to run properly, so the ability to order a new piece when necessary and replace it in the PC is important since it spares you from having to drop money on a whole new unit. It’s easy to access this model’s interior, and it's possible to upgrade the GPU if or when that should prove necessary. Keep in mind, this is only a PC, and you will need to buy equipment such as a mouse, keyboard, and monitor to complete the gaming setup or rely on equipment you already own.

Price at time of publication: $2,100

Controllers: N/A | Battery life: Plug-in | Storage: 256 GB | Age recommendation: 12 and up

Best Tablet for Video Games: Apple iPad (9th Generation)

Apple iPad (9th Generation)

Amazon

Pros
  • Tons of kid-friendly apps

  • Powerful and smooth operation

  • Headphone jack and home button

  • Great screen

Cons
  • Stylus sold separately

  • Speakers could be better

The Apple iPad (9th generation) has a sizable 10.2-inch screen, 2160p by 1620p resolution, Retina display, and True Tone feature that calibrates the display according to a room's color temperature—all of which work to bring you a top-notch visual experience as you play games (or watch movies and draw). Unlike most of the newer or more advanced iPad models, this one still relies on a home button, which can make navigation and operation more straightforward for children. The speakers are not the best on this iPad; however, it does have a headphone jack, which is great since your child can easily plug in wired headphones for audio rather than going through the added steps of connecting Bluetooth headphones to the device. Bluetooth headsets are usually more expensive, too, so you won’t have to worry about investing in another pricey piece of equipment for your child to listen to their games. 

With iPads, you will be downloading games from the Apple App Store, which is packed with kid-friendly titles across a range of genres. There are platformer games like Monument Valley, minigame apps like Sago Mini Friends, puzzle games like Inbento, endless runner games like Alto's Adventure, open-ended play games like LEGO Duplo World, educational coding games like Kodable, and many more. Please note, if you would like a stylus for your child to use with their games, you will, unfortunately, have to purchase the 1st Generation Apple Pencil separately. You might also want to consider investing in a screen protector and a strong case if you buy this iPad to protect it against damage from accidental drops, bangs, or crashes since it’s a pricey piece of equipment. 

Price at time of publication: $329

Controllers: Touchscreen | Battery life: 10 hours | Storage: 64GB | Age recommendation: 7 and up

"The iPad and Android tablets are a good option for kid-friendly gaming, particularly if you use a sturdy case and screen protectors.” — Margaret Moser, game designer and assistant professor of the practice of cinematic arts at the University of Southern California

Best Gaming Laptop: Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S

Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S

Amazon

Pros
  • Smooth gaming performance

  • Bright display

  • Great value

  • RGB keyboard

Cons
  • Battery life could be better

  • Complex parental controls

  • Extra equipment may be needed

Gaming laptops and PCs are among the most expensive pieces of gaming equipment you can buy, but the Acer Predator Helios 300 is value-friendly, offering a lot of high-quality features for its price point. It has a bright and vibrant display and a great 1080p resolution courtesy of its GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. It can also run heavier-duty games thanks to the combined efforts of its impressive GPU and Intel Core i7-11800H processor, and it has an RGB keyboard to really imbue it with that gamer aesthetic. All these factors come together to make it one of the best models in terms of game performance without going over that $2,000 price mark that many other gaming laptops breach. It falls a bit short in the battery life department, with an average battery life of 6 hours, but that, of course, will vary depending on what games are being played. Also, shorter battery life isn’t unusual for a gaming laptop with impressive graphics. 

Gaming laptops are essentially portable PCs, just typically with less power behind them. This means, just like with PCs, the games your child plays on a gaming laptop will likely be downloadable through online platforms like Steam. Some kid-friendly titles available include Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, which is an open-world wildlife adventure game, as well as Among Us, which we consider to be one of the best video games for kids. Also, just like with PCs, you will need to set parental controls through the online game platforms your child uses. You can also rely on Internet-based parental controls since online gaming will require you to connect the laptop to a Wi-Fi network. Please note, you may also want to invest in a mouse for a smoother gaming experience, as well as a privacy shutter since one is not incorporated into this laptop's design. 

Price at time of publication: $1,300

Controllers: N/A | Battery life: 6 hours | Storage: 512 GB | Age recommendation: 12 and up

How We Selected the Best Video Game Consoles for Kids

In order to properly select the best video game consoles for kids, we drew open our own experiences using these systems. We also analyzed each console’s technical specs and looked into the types of games available to play on the different platforms. To gain further insights on what factors make a good video game system for kids, we consulted with Margaret Moser, game designer and assistant professor of the practice of cinematic arts (associated with the Interactive Media & Games Division) at the University of Southern California. We also spoke with Anthony Bean, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist with video game expertise.

What to Look for in a Game System for Kids

Parental controls

Parental controls allow you to manage the content your kids have access to and help you keep them safe in the digital realm. When it comes to managing screen time, some systems allow you to limit how long your child can play games, set times for when the system can or can’t be used, or keep track of how much time your child spends playing games. Other popular controls include limiting access to certain games, restricting in-game interactions and communication with other players, and monitoring your child’s friends list. 

A parental control option that both our experts listed as being very important is the ability to limit your child’s access to real-money purchases. While there are some free-to-play games on the market, there are plenty of downloadable games that cost money, as well as many others that allow you to make in-game purchases. You want to make sure the system you are looking for gives you some way to prevent your child from making these purchases without your permission, such as by requiring a password or sending you notifications on your phone to approve purchases. 

Features

Backwards compatibility is one of the most important features you want to consider if you have a little gamer at home. Backwards compatibility refers to the ability of a new model of a video game system to run games that were made and played on previous models of that system. For instance, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are backwards compatible, meaning if your child owned an original Xbox, Xbox 360, or Xbox One and built up their video game collection for one of those older models, they won’t need to completely rebuild their game library, since the Xbox Series X and S can run certain titles made and played on those older systems. The PlayStation 5 is also backwards compatible and can run many of the games played on the PlayStation 4.

Two other features worth looking into are 4K compatibility and app support. Many games now can be played in a 4K resolution, but you will need a video game system that supports it to experience that level of image quality. 4K resolution brings crisper, more-detailed images, which ultimately allow for a more immersive and visually satisfying gaming experience. Some video game systems are capable of doing more than just running video games—they can also support streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify, allowing you to use your game system as an all-in-one entertainment hub for your family.

Durability and build

According to Professor Moser, “durability and the total number of parts” are important considerations when it comes to video game systems for kids. The fewer parts a game system has, the easier the setup and upkeep. Durability is an important factor since children are inevitably going to have accidents and may drop, knock over, or spill things, so you want to make sure you’re investing in a system that’s sturdily built. 

In regard to the durability of gaming systems, Professor Moser notes that “most consoles and controllers are engineered to be pretty bulletproof out of the box, but after-market controllers are either cheap and likely to break, or expensive.” This is important to keep in mind since you will probably need to buy more controllers than the typical system comes with if your child is looking to play multiplayer games with friends and family. With game systems your child is likely to be taking on the go, such as handheld devices, tablets, and gaming laptops, you will want to make sure that you also invest in a strong, rugged case that prevents damage in case of an accident or drop. 

Game library

Before purchasing a console, you should research the types of games available on that gaming system. While many games are available across a variety of platforms, this is not the case for all of them, and certain games are exclusive to certain systems. For instance, if you know your child is really hoping to play Kirby and the Forgotten Land or Yoshi's Crafted World, you wouldn't want to buy them the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X since these games are only available on the Nintendo Switch.

More generally, you should also make sure that there are a good number of games available on the systems you are looking to buy that you would be comfortable with your child playing. Dr. Bean also recommends investigating which types of games a system has to offer and suggests looking into whether the system has games you can play with your child.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the most family-friendly gaming system?

    The most family-friendly gaming system will depend on a variety of factors, such as whether you have a family of casual or intense gamers, the age range of your kiddos, and each family member’s preferred genre of video games. However, the Nintendo Switch OLED Model is one of the most user-friendly gaming systems out there, and the expansive Nintendo gaming library is full of family-friendly and multiplayer titles across a range of genres, making this system particularly well-suited for accommodating all types of families and gamers.

  • What is the easiest console to play on?

    According to Professor Moser, “the Switch is probably the most user-friendly console. Its all-in-one design reduces some of the complexity—for example, you don't have to charge or pair the controllers, and they have fewer buttons than the TV-based systems. And Nintendo works very hard to make its products accessible to a broad audience.”

    The Nintendo Switch also has a straightforward, minimalistic, and fast interface that leaves little room for complications and makes it easy to access your games. Furthermore, both the classic and OLED models of the Nintendo Switch can be played as a handheld device or on your TV, making them easy in terms of gaming flexibility since you don’t have to be home to continue playing your game of choice.

  • How much should I let my kid play video games?

    When it comes to monitoring a child’s use of media, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents and guardians “set media use limits that factor in other health-promoting activities such as physical activity, sleep, family meals, school and friends” for children who are 6 years old or older. In general, the organization suggests that the amount of total entertainment screen time be limited to less than one to two hours per day. 

    The AAP also stresses the importance of personalized strategies for media monitoring, noting that parents and guardians should “take into account each child’s age, health, personality, and developmental stage” when setting boundaries and granting freedoms for a child’s media use.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Sarah Toscano is a freelance writer who specializes in all things related to tech, pop culture, and gaming. She grew up playing video games with her family and has been gaming since the GameCube and Game Boy Advance days in the early 2000s. She has hands-on experience using many of the video game systems on this roundup, and she spends most of her free time playing video games on her PC or Nintendo Switch.

3 Sources
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  3. Beyond screen time: a parent’s guide to media usePediatric Patient Education. DOI:10.1542/peo_document099