Kids all have one thing in common: they love playing games. For 21st-century kids and teens, there are a range of game options for consoles, tablets, and phones. But, many of the first video games started on the personal computer. You may remember classic games like Oregon Trail and Sim City. Today, computer games for kids have evolved in both graphics and gameplay to appeal to many ages and interests.
According to Statista, 20% of all gamers in the US are under 18 years old. As a result, there are a huge variety of PC games for kids. Kids’ computer games include versions of some of the most popular games on the market. In many cases, these are the very same games kids play on a console, but there are also a number of games that are exclusive to computers as well.
Computer Games for Kids in 2022
Play a kid-friendly computer game on PC.
No matter what kinds of computer games your kids are into, there are amazing options available. But the sheer variety of options can feel a little overwhelming, so we’ve rounded up a list of the best games for you to check out!
The computer games in this list are all safe, appropriate, and fun for kids. Some of these PC games are designed to be played alone while others are great for playing together with friends. As always, when playing games online, you should remind your children to be careful of their interactions with other people.
Cost: $26.95 (Java edition; Bedrock edition)
Genre: Sandbox Survival
Created back in 2011, Minecraft is a game based on the idea of being able to collect and place blocks to build in-game tools and structures. It’s a simple concept, but Minecraft has taken it and built a game that has shown itself to have real staying power.
Each Minecraft game is filled to bursting with resources to gather, animals to tame and raise, caves to explore, and yes, enemies to defeat. The gameplay is extremely open-ended, allowing kids to indulge their creative sides as they work to survive in their own digital world. For those who are interested, there are even ways to explore real-world concepts such as coding!
Cost: Free! But you can purchase an in-game currency for premium items (Roblox.com)
Genre: All of the above
Roblox is a tricky game to describe, in part because it isn’t so much a game as it is an entire gaming platform. When kids log in, there are tons of different games to choose from, including many created by other Roblox users. Each mini-game has its own rules and gameplay and they may not look much like each other at first glance. As such, some games are definitely more popular than others, but they are all accessible through Roblox.
One popular example of a Roblox game is called Adopt Me! It’s a game all about collecting and breeding pets, like a cat, dog, or maybe a snow puma, and it can get quite competitive. Users combine pets of lower rarity to get eggs that they can hatch to find higher rarity pets. In another game, users are asked to build a boat that they then drive as far down a river as they can before crashing. And there are countless more games to choose from.
Recommended: Summer Roblox Camp for Kids
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3. Rocket League
Cost: Free, but with purchasable add-ons (Epic Games)
Rocket League is essentially a game exploring what would happen if you decided to use cars to play soccer. It happens to be one of the most critically acclaimed sports games of all time. In this top-rated game, players ram their rocket-propelled car into a giant ball. They try to get the ball into their goal more times than their opponents can before the timer runs out.
It’s chaotic and energetic and so much fun.
4. LEGO Game Series
Cost: $19.99 and up (Steam)
Rather than recommend a particular game here, I’m recommending any and all of the LEGO games. Each one of the LEGO games takes a popular franchise (think Star Wars, Batman, or Jurassic Park) and tells its story through humorous, light-hearted, block-based gaming.
These kids games are hilarious and surprisingly challenging, making them a great choice for any young gamer.
5. Planet Coaster
Cost: $44.99 (Steam)
When I was in high school, I sank countless hours into the Roller Coaster Tycoon games made by this same publisher. The entire premise of these games is that the player gets to build out the amusement park of their dreams, filled with food stands, gardens, stores, and (of course) roller coasters. The supposed point of the game is to make a profitable park. However, the real fun in this game is having a license to build whatever roller coaster that comes to mind.
6. Untitled Goose Game
Ages: Great for everyone!
Cost: $19.99 (Steam)
Genre: Puzzle and Sandbox
Untitled Goose Game is an absolute gem of a computer game for kids! The entire premise of this game is that you are a disgruntled goose out to take vengeance on the residents of the local town. Essentially, you wander around the town, moving brooms, tripping kids, taking hats, and generally causing a ruckus.
There will be laughter.
Recommended: Coding Websites for Kids
7. Stardew Valley
Cost: $14.99 (Steam)
Genre: Farm Simulation (but with monsters!)
Stardew Valley is a game all about leaving the corporate grind to go build a farm. Players have different goals like planting and harvesting crops, building chicken coops and greenhouses, and fighting off monsters in the town’s nearby mines. All things you can expect to do on any farm.
Cost: $24.99 (Steam)
Genre: Tactical RPG
Wildermyth is a procedurally-generated game. In these types of games, designers randomize the world instead of laying it out. In Wildermyth, players get to make decisions that influence their characters and help build up the overarching story of their in-game world. Gameplay is a mix of turn-based tactical combat and story-driven conversation choices that lead to completely unique game worlds.
Cost: $29.99 (Steam)
In some ways, Tunic is a throwback to some of the most popular adventure games of the past. It’s filled with nooks and crannies to explore, weapons and skills to discover, and bosses to battle, all in a beautiful 3D-pixelated art style.
But it also has moments of devastating difficulty that can be truly frustrating for those who aren’t prepared. If your child is looking for challenging games that push them to try new strategies, this might be the one they’re looking for.
10. No Man’s Sky
Cost: $59.99 (Steam)
Genre: Open World Exploration
No Man’s Sky is one of the best games and a bit of a technical marvel. The entire game exists inside a procedurally-generated universe spanning over 18 quintillion different planets. Each world has its own environment, and all of them are fully explorable by the players.
The gameplay itself focuses pretty heavily on exploration. Players can gather resources to upgrade their ship, trade with NPCs and other players, engage in fights both on planets and in space, and more!
Learn to Code Computer Games for Kids
Of course, if none of that is quite what your kid was looking for, there is another option. They can learn how to code their own games!