The 10 Best Kids Xbox One Games
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in December of 2016. If you want to share your love of gaming with your children — or if you're just looking for a way to get them out of your hair for a few hours — these Xbox One titles will keep little ones entertained. We've included games suitable for kids of varying ages, and they're so much fun you may be tempted to pick up the controller yourself to teach those young whippersnappers a thing or two. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 30, 2020:
In order to ensure that all of these titles are safe for kids, we made sure that the entire ranking consisted of E-rated offerings that are suitable for everyone. Still, parents should scrutinize the gameplay of each to make sure the themes and experiences fall within their preferences. For example, while Rocket League does a good job keeping what could be a violent affair rather family-friendly, it's still such a fast game with so many flashing colors and lights that it could displease parents who are trying to give their kids a more mellow experience.
Conversely, something like Stardew Valley: Collector's Edition offers a slow, almost spiritual experience as you care for your land. It's also not graphics-heavy, which will allow your little one to focus on the gameplay and the story over the visual splendor. And, of course, Minecraft Xbox One Edition gives you a little bit of both worlds, with stylistically basic, but very well-rendered graphics and the option to play creatively or to jump into survival mode and meet with more of a challenge.
The most exciting new title to join our list might be the one in our special honors section, The Witness. Now, while it is rated E, it's a pretty tough puzzler reminiscent of the famous computer game Myst. If you've got a brainiac on your hands, or you want your kids' time playing video games to be as developmentally prosperous as possible, this is the title to acquire.
April 26, 2019:
We wanted to expand the list to include titles suitable for very young children, which is why Paw Patrol on a Roll made the cut. It's likely that kids will outgrow the game around the same time they outgrow the show, but until then, it's one more way to keep your little one quiet for a precious hour or two. Super Lucky's Tale was omitted as a result; it offers a similar experience, but using characters that are far less likely to immediately resonate with youngsters.
The Spyro Reignited Trilogy earned high marks because it's easy for kids to get into, thanks to simple (but not repetitive) gameplay and adorable cartoon characters. The fact that parents may enjoy it just as much is an added bonus.
Skylanders: Imaginators was removed, in large part due to complaints from some parents that it caused their children to ask for additional purchases to get more out of the game. It's still a fine title, but we figured that most grown-ups will want to buy a game to put an end to whining, not create more of it.
The Witness If you grew up playing Myst, you know what it's like to wake up on a strange island and have one brain busting puzzle to solve after another. This title is undeniably an homage to that classic PC game, though it does have its own take on puzzle creation and story. It's rated-E, though it should be noted that young children will have a pretty hard time making their way through it without help. microsoft.com
The Second Golden Age Of Gaming
It is here, among a list of Xbox games marketed to children, that we find the second golden age of gaming.
I believe that I grew up during the first golden age of gaming. I was just old enough to consciously witness the transformation from 8- and 16-bit consoles like the Intellivision and the Sega Genesis to the 64-bit brilliance of the Nintendo 64. That console — in this humble writers opinion — represents the greatest leap forward in story and graphics development, from one system to the next, in gaming history thus far.
You have to remember that these games existed before the explosion of the internet and online gaming. They and their systems had to be good enough without allowing you to connect with your friends and obliterate entire cultures’ worth of digital human lives in massive first-person shooters.
If you want to gauge the cultural impact of these games, look no farther than groups of people that still gather around vintage systems and modern emulators to play Goldeneye or Mario Kart. And don’t get me started on the Zelda series or Ocarina of Time. I will lose control of my emotions.
Once Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 came along and began connecting users at unprecedented rates, dropping them into war zones and sports arenas with one another, things changed. That change was, temporarily, for the worse. While the simultaneous progress in game console and television development gave gamers graphics that got more and more realistic with each new game, story, character, and gameplay innovations suffered tremendous losses.
At the time, Nintendo decided to back out of the graphics war and focus on those momentarily forgotten aspects of game design. That may have cost them a big chunk of the market, but they survived. Their commitment to game quality also inspired some of the best indie game design in recent memory, and the rise of that culture has led us to this new era.
Because of their apparent simplicity, limited violence, and puzzle solving aspects, many of the best indie games in the world have been marketed toward children. Upon closer inspection, a lot of these games deal with complex stories and characters enduring genuine hardship.
For the development and success of these games, Xbox and Playstation actually deserve a lot of credit. While Nintendo may have kept the lifeblood of good, honest games pumping during its darkest hour, Sony and Microsoft created the marketplaces where indie developers could make and market their creations.
It is here, among a list of Xbox games marketed to children, that we find the second golden age of gaming. These are the games that the children gamers will remember in 20 years. These are the games they will find ways to play well into their 20s and 30s, not just for nostalgia’s sake, but because the games are so well made. It’s almost enough to make you want to be a kid again.
The Perfect Xbox One Game For Your Child
There are a lot of games on the market. Between the walls of available titles in any given department store and the immense library of downloadable content on the Xbox Live marketplace, there’s bound to be something out there that will suit your child’s gaming desires perfectly. Finding that title, however, can be a harrowing task.
Rental services are great for this, as any progress in today’s games saves to the console itself, and not to a game cartridge.
Rental services are great for this, as any progress in today’s games saves to the console itself, and not to a game cartridge. That allows you to rent a game and, if your kid likes it, to return it on time and buy a copy of your own. If you time the swap correctly, your young one won’t have to go a minute without it.
Still, even renting the wrong game can feel like a waste of time and money, and some games may confront your kids with images and other content that you might find objectionable, despite whatever the game’s rating is. That’s why it’s important to whittle that immensity down to the best games on the market, and we’ve done just that for you.
To narrow things down even further, you merely have to take a look at the games your kids already love. If they spend a lot of time in any one genre — like RPGs, puzzle games, etc. — it’d be a good idea to try to stay within that genre. If all little Johnny plays are racing games, he probably isn’t going to jive with the slow pace of many sandbox RPGs.
Once you think you have a sense of what Suzie might want to sink about 120 hours into, you can fire up your Xbox Live account and see if there’s a playable demo for her. Or, if you’re feeling lucky, just pull the trigger on any of the great titles we’ve selected.
The Cognitive Benefits Of Gaming
It’s only natural for parents to assume that everything in the world that isn’t them is trying to destroy their children. When you’re in charge of an entire life form, the weight of responsibility can lead to understandable levels of paranoia. More often than not, parents in the 21st century like to direct that paranoia at the media.
When you’re in charge of an entire life form, the weight of responsibility can lead to understandable levels of paranoia.
Music, movies, and video games take a large part of the blame for everything from childhood obesity to outbursts of horrific violence in schools. But video games proliferated at roughly the same pace and at about the same time as high fructose corn syrup and the increased genetic modification of our diet. Concurrently, spending on mental health programs in underprivileged communities took a nosedive, while the availability of increasingly lethal automatic weapons skyrocketed. Maybe it wasn’t all Marilyn Manson’s fault.
What research has revealed more and more over the past couple of decades is that video games are actually pretty good for our kids. They help develop eye-had coordination at a nuanced level, potentially helping our children down the line in fields that involve robotic assistance like surgery or vehicle maintenance.
This new surge in thoughtful indie games can also present children with unique puzzle-solving experiences that will build spatial relations and deductive logic. Many of these games also have deep emotional undercurrents that — like any profound piece of art — can give your young ones a chance to better understand their feelings.