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Best Nintendo Switch games for kids: guaranteed fun for all the family

From single player strategy games to local cooperative play or even multiplayer games that the whole family can enjoy together, you simply can’t beat Nintendo Switch games for hours of guaranteed fun.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Jun 1, 2023

The popularity of the Nintendo Switch console is going from strength to strength. With the newly released Nintendo Switch OLED and a now huge catalogue of Switch games to choose from, it can be really hard to know where to start. 

Whether you’re looking for a game suitable for siblings to play together, the ultimate family party game that's a bit of a technological step up from the best family board game, something that is as much fun for the grandparents as the kids, we’ve got all the insight you need to pick out those must-play Nintendo Switch games.

With a great number of gaming fans on our forums, we took to the Mumsnet boards to examine the games that real parents recommend. Armed with that information, we also analysed authentic online reviews, bestseller charts and trusted fan sites, doing our thorough research so that you don’t have to, and choosing the best games for children (and big kids alike) to enjoy.

Here are the best Nintendo Switch games for kids to buy in 2023.

1. Best overall Nintendo Switch game for kids: Animal Crossing New Horizons

Animal Crossing New Horizons Nintendo Switch

RRP: £49.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs: Developer: Nintendo | Release date: 20th March 2020 | PEGI rating: 3+

What we like

  • Calm, escapist game play 
  • Suitable for players of all ages (some reading required) 
  • Played in real time

What we don't like

  • Only one island can be saved per console
  • The residents' chatter noise can be a little on the annoying side!

What Mumsnet users say

My son is seven and enjoys it. My daughter, 10 is also happy to play. The main player in our house is me though, I love it so I would say get it for the kids and then enjoy it! It’s very easy to drop in and out of for short time spans and doesn’t have the deeply addictive element that I find with a lot of other games, so ideal for kids.” Chickenitalia

Our verdict

In Animal Crossing New Horizons, players are given their very own island to customise and create. By liaising with the island’s animal residents, harvesting fruit and vegetables and using tools to create custom materials, your little one can personalise their landscape and decorate their own home and character, earning things that help them build further and expand their playing space.

Animal Crossing can be played entirely at your child's own pace, in real time, meaning that their island and characters are there even when they're busy or at school. We also like that the surroundings change with the weather and seasons, with special events and activities for occasions such as Christmas and Halloween, adding an extra fun element for kids.

Gameplay is calm and stress-free, with a focus on completing activities to earn in-game rewards, setting goals and earning coins to buy new items from the store (with an inventory that changes daily). Best of all, you can even share your island with friends and visit their homes too - whether locally on wifi or online.

Despite its popularity, one source of frustration with Animal Crossing fans is that there is only one island allowed per device, so it's not the best for siblings to play simultaneously unless they both have their own device. 

Read next: Discover the best tablet for kids as recommended by Mumsnet parents.

2. Best budget Nintendo Switch game for kids: Sega Mega Drive Classics

Sega Mega Drive Classics Nintendo Switch

RRP: £29.99 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs: Developer: SEGA | Release date: 6th December 2018 | PEGI rating: 12+

What we like

  • Parents and older players can relive their favourite games
  • Over 50 games in one - excellent value for money

What we don't like 

  • Overall PEGI rating is 12 plus, however many of the games are suitable for younger players
  • Some of these games are quite old - so the graphics might not be what younger players are used to

Our verdict

From Alex Kid to Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Golden Axe 1 to 3 and the 90s’ classic Sonic the Hedgehog, this is a great place to start if you’re looking to get your money’s worth out of a Switch game whilst embracing a retro vibe.

With over 50 classic games suitable for a variety of ages and generations, this is an ideal option to introduce your older children to some of the classic SEGA games you played and enjoyed in your youth. 

At less than £30 this is fantastic value, and a great game to get started with.

Related: Boost your child's learning with the best online tutoring this summer.

3. Best creative Nintendo Switch game for kids: Pikmin 3 Deluxe

Pikmin 3 Deluxe Nintendo Switch

RRP: £49.99 | Buy now from Very

Key specs: Developer: NintendoRelease date: 30th October 2020 | PEGI rating: 3+

What we like

  • Super cute animation and adorable characters
  • Fun local co-op play options

What we don't like

  • The game only has five main levels so may be completed relatively quickly by older players
  • Younger children may get upset when their Pikmin gets eaten by a boss!

What Mumsnet users say

Pikmin is an absolute gem of a game and I hope so much that they eventually port the original Pikmin one and two to the Switch.GromblesofGrimbledon

Our verdict

Pikmin was a really popular choice within the Mumsnet forums and, having recently arrived on the Switch from Wii U, it comes with an established reputation in the gaming world. 

In this adventure themed platform game, players are tasked with growing their own adorable Pikmin plant-like characters, travelling to a new world and attempting to save their planet.

With stunning animations in these vivid nature filled planets, you must use your Pikmin’s individual skills and strengths to solve puzzles, complete missions, defeat enemies and collect must-have fruit and supplies.  

A great option for siblings, children can pair up to play cooperatively or compete against each other. There are a variety of difficulty settings so younger players can join in too. 

Whilst there are a relatively small number of levels within Pikmin 3, the addition of side stories and extra missions means even after completion, you can continue playing and attempt to improve your score. 

4. Best Nintendo Switch game for teens: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Zelda Breath of the Wild Nintendo Switch

RRP: £44.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs: Developer: NintendoRelease date: 3rd March 2017 | PEGI rating: 12+

What we like

  • The ability to earn weapons and outfits
  • Vast landscapes to explore and discover 
  • Puzzles (ranging from easy to challenging) add a logical element to the game

What we don't like

  • Can be disheartening for younger players when their hard earned weapons break

What Mumsnet users say

Zelda is phenomenal. It's single player but still fun to have one watching and suggesting things.” Gertie75

Our verdict 

When Link wakes after a 100 year slumber, she no longer recognises the Hyrule Kingdom. Armed only with what she can scavenge, she must set out on a mission to find the answers and rescue her kingdom, climbing mountains, exploring destinations and battling enemies. 

Link must hunt wild beasts, gather supplies and solve shrine puzzles in order to earn special rewards that assist her upon her adventure. With a PEGI rating of 12, it might be a bit too scary for younger players, but teens will love the captivating adventures this game entails.

There’s also a newer version of the Zelda games available, but Mumsnet users rated this version for fun gameplay for older children. 

5. Best Nintendo Switch multiplayer game for kids: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Nintendo Switch

RRP: £39.99 | Buy now from Argos

Key specs: Developer: Nintendo | Release date: 28th April 2017  | PEGI rating: 3+ 

What we like

  • Suitable for all ages 
  • The ultimate multiplayer challenge
  • Smart steering to assist younger/less confident players 

What we don't like

  • Can be noisy if your family is competitive
  • Additional controllers will be needed if a family of four want to play together 

What Mumsnet users say

Our family enjoys Mario Kart. It's for up to four players (you do need a controller each) and you can make it easier or harder by setting the speed for each race and making other adjustments. It is quite competitive though - or at least, it is in this house!” BusyBanana

Our verdict 

A game that needs no real introduction - if you haven’t heard of Mario Kart, where have you been? Suitable for playing alone, competing against a sibling, with up to four players on split screen or up to 12 players online, this faced paced, high-energy racing game comes with a huge 48 track circuits and the ability to choose from over 40 different characters. 

Race around the track and collect power ups, attacks and speed boosts to try and whizz past your opponents, slow them down and be victorious - the first to cross the finish line wins. 

Players will love selecting their character and vehicle choice, whooshing past their family members and embracing their competitive spirit. With smart steering options included, even the youngest members of the family or beginners can join in the fun. 

6. Best Nintendo Switch simulation game for kids: Overcooked - All You Can Eat

Overcooked All You Can Eat Nintendo Switch

RRP: £29.99 | Buy now at Amazon

Key specs

Developer: Sold Out Sales and Marketing | Release date: 23rd March 2021 | PEGI rating: 3+ 

What we like 

  • Fast paced cooking fun
  • Great for co-op or multiplayer gaming

What we don't like 

  • Some long loading times
  • Game play can be a little frantic

What Mumsnet users say

Great fun but make sure everyone starts at the same time as the difficulty ramps up as you go along. You start in a normal kitchen and end up trying to cook whilst ice skating, jumping between trucks and navigating a spaceship.” Penville

Our Verdict 

Overcooked was another standout choice on the Mumsnet forums. New for last year, Overcooked - All You Can Eat combines Overcooked and Overcooked 2 with additional content and exclusive features. 

Players are tasked with running their own kitchen, cooking up a frenzy, serving customers and being careful not to burn the food, resulting in cooking chaos in a range of fun and, at times, downright crazy kitchens. 

Suitable for up to four players playing together in multiplayer mode, this game also works well as cooperative play where two chefs have to work together, passing ingredients and rushing around the kitchen to prevent food catching fire. Expect a mix of shouting and laughter in this high energy simulation game. 

7. Best Nintendo Switch game for the whole family: Mario Party Superstars

Mario Party Superstars Nintendo Switch

RRP: £39.99 | Buy now at Argos

Key specs

Developer: Nintendo Release date: 29th October 2021PEGI rating: 3 years +

What we like

  • 100 mini games - a mix of both classic and modern
  • Suitable for all ages 

What we don't like 

  • Only five main boards

What Mumsnet users say

Mario Party - it's brilliant - lots and lots of different mini games and challenges. It doesn't make me want to claw my eyes out too much when he asks me to play with him too.” Impatientwino

Our Verdict 

Great fun for the whole family, Mario Party Superstars is packed full of Classic Mario Party boards and fun, competitive mini games. From Yoshi’s Tropical Island, to Space Land and Peach’s Birthday Cake, there are five main boards to explore, as well as a selection of 100 classic and modern mini games that can be played alone or with friends. 

With a choice of difficulty levels from easy to ‘brutal’ (which as you would expect, is a little on the tricky side), this is an interactive, inclusive way for the family to play together regardless of their gaming experience.

8. Best active Nintendo Switch game for kids: Ring Fit Adventure

Ring Fit Nintendo Switch

RRP: £54.99 | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Developer: Nintendo | Release date: 18th October 2019 | PEGI rating: 7+

What we like

  • Exercises can be tailored to individuals’ fitness levels
  • A great motivator to be more active at home
  • Challenges included to encourage regular, long term use 

What we don't like

  • Some reviewers found it got a little repetitive after prolonged playing
  • Cost - a high price point for one game

What Mumsnet users say

Ring fit is brilliant.” Aardvarkitsabloodyaardvark

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for a game to play on the Switch that encourages you to move around and get up off the sofa, then Ring Fit is a popular choice, proving to be a hit both in the bestseller rankings and amongst the Mumsnet community. 

In Ring Fit Adventure, players can explore a new world, battling enemies using real life fitness exercises. The included Ring-Con and Leg Strap accessories detect and measure your real life movements and turn them into on screen actions.

Ring Fit also comes with additional mini games and guided workout programmes that can be achieved from the comfort of your own home. With a PEGI rating of 7+ it's good for motivating older kids to be active, but is also a good choice for adults too, particularly if you loathe the gym or have limited time but want to be more active in 2023.

9. Best Nintendo Switch sports game for kids: Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Nintendo Switch

RRP: £17.99 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Developer: Sega | Release date: 22nd June 2021 | PEGI rating: 12+

What we like

  • Range of sports to choose from
  • Can play single player or compete against friends.

What we don't like 

  • The addition of spaceman outfits and Sonic the Hedgehog is a little random
  • PEGI rating is high due to some violence (boxing) but parents may wish to be a little flexible on this

Our Verdict

If you’re a fan of traditional sports based games, but looking for a game with some variety that will appeal to the whole family, then the Olympic Games on the Switch is an obvious choice. Rather than being limited to one sport, this game enables you to play a whole host of Olympic sports from the comfort of your sofa, competing for glory against friends, family or even the global leaderboards. 

In this official Olympic Games Switch edition game, you can create your own athlete, train them up, practice and then choose your event. From long jump to hammer throw, boxing to baseball, there are 18 different skills to perfect. 

10. Best Nintendo Switch game for young kids: PAW Patrol Mighty Pups

PAW Patrol Mighty Pups Nintendo Switch

RRP: £19.95 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Developer: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment | Release date: 6th November 2020 | PEGI rating: 3+

What we like

  • Ideal first Switch game for preschoolers or younger children 
  • Easy game play with no threat or violence
  • Familiar brand for children

What we don't like 

  • Maybe too simple for older children

What Mumsnet users say 

"My son is four and a half and can play Paw Patrol on the family Switch quite happily by himself." DelurkingAJ

Our Verdict

It can be tricky to find games that are truly tailored to the younger audience, but PAW Patrol Mighty Pups does just that.

Not only does it feature Ryder and the Pups that PAW Patrol fans will know and love, but it comes with super simple controls, easy to understand game play and fun missions without a ‘baddy’ in sight. 

Mighty Pups also comes with seven mini games that can be played as a stand alone short activity - including the infamous Pup Pup boogie. 

No violence and no scary bits; just safe, simple fun for preschoolers or younger children. 

11. Best educational Nintendo Switch game for kids: Game Builder Garage

Game Builder Garage Nintendo Switch

RRP: £19.99 | Buy now from Currys

Key specs

Developer: Nintendo | Release date: 10th September 2021 | PEGI rating: 7+ 

What we like

  • Educational fun, with basic coding principles
  • A great way to encourage an interest in STEM
  • Allows players to fully embrace their creativity

What we don't like 

  • Can be a bit complicated at first  
  • May be boring for those who just want to play and not create 

Our verdict 

From the creative minds of Nintendo games, Game Builder Garage is a newly released game which allows players to create a game of their own. 

Whether it’s a high speed racing game or an action packed platform adventure, players can bring their imagination to life and use basic programming skills to create fun, unique games and share them with the world. 

Starting with the basics, this creative and educational game gradually builds up to more advanced programming options for more detailed game play. 

12. Best adventure Nintendo Switch game for kids: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond Nintendo Switch

RRP: £39.99 | Buy now from Argos

Key specs

Developer: Ilca | Release date: 19th November 2021 | PEGI rating: 7+

What we like

  • Great bit of nostalgia for older players
  • Cute graphics and characters 

What we don't like 

  • Some original Pokemon fans may have been hoping for more new features

What Mumsnet users say

"My 8 year old son is Pokemon mad due to his Nintendo DS Pokemon 'Diamond and Pear' game" Blewis

Our verdict

Since its debut back in the 1990s, Pokemon has been a hugely popular gaming franchise. A hotly anticipated new release for 2021, this is the remake of a Pokemon classic from 2006, Brilliant Diamond. This game is a fast paced adventure for long-standing Pokemon fans as well as those new to the franchise. 

The gameplay is in line with the original - you start your mission in Sinnoh with one Pokemon character and go on a quest to capture more, battling it out against other critters (with elements of earth, wind or fire) to defeat them and earn badges. 

With great graphics, a huge range of Pokemon characters and an expansive world, even first timers will be able to appreciate the excitement and anticipation of winning duels and challenges.

13. Best Nintendo Switch party game for kids: Just Dance 2022

Just Dance 22 Nintendo Switch

RRP: £24.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Developer: Ubisoft | Release date: 4th November 2021 | PEGI rating: 3+

What we like

  • A great ice breaker to bring people together
  • Active and fun, suitable for the whole family

What we don't like 

  • Don’t expect to know all of the songs - some of the older versions of Just Dance may have more hits that you recognise
  • Some tracks need to be earned and unlocked 

What Mumsnet users say

“We have Just Dance for the Nintendo Switch. You hold the controller in your hand and it detects your movements. No mat needed.” BonBonOurs

Our Verdict 

If you really want to break the ice at a gathering with family or friends, Just Dance is the obvious party starter. Turn up the volume and dance along to 40 new tracks including chart-topping hits and older classics. Dance along and follow the actions outlined on screen to score points and battle it out against your friends and family - who’s got the best moves?

Whilst we can’t guarantee you’ll know all the songs, Just Dance is sure to get your pulse racing and cause a whole lot of laughter in your living room. 

14. Best sandbox Nintendo Switch game for kids: Minecraft

Minecraft Nintendo Switch

RRP £19.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Developer: Mojang | Release date: 21st June 2018 | PEGI rating: 7+

What we like

  • Educational and creative
  • Two different modes of play 

What we don't like 

  • The 3D graphics are basic

What Mumsnet users say

Minecraft is actually a great game because it enhances creativity, problem-solving, self-direction, collaboration, and other life skills. In the classroom, Minecraft complements reading, writing, math, and even history learnings!” HappyNewYear2021

Our verdict 

Minecraft is really popular with children and older players alike, and again has got some really positive feedback from the Mumsnet community. There are two unique modes of play called creative and survival. A really inventive game, players can explore worlds made entirely from bricks and use their imagination to build quite literally anything - from houses to castles, furniture to farms. 

In creative mode, you have as many resources as you need, meaning you are free to build to your heart’s content. In survival mode however, you must create weapons to fight off your enemies and earn additional resources in order to protect and expand your brick world. 

Parents may question the 3D style block graphics which scream more Commodore 64 than Nintendo Switch, but if you can see past the simple graphics, this game is hours of fun. 

15. Best interactive Nintendo Switch game for kids: Mario Kart Live Home Circuit

Mario Kart Live Home Circuit Nintendo Switch

RRP: £72.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Developer: Nintendo | Release date: 16th October 2020 | PEGI rating: Not rated

What we like

  • Quite literally bring game play to life
  • Combines physical and digital game play
  • You can choose between the Mario and Luigi edition

What we don't like

  • Cost
  • Needs a substantial amount of physical space

Our Verdict 

If you’re into your technology and are looking for something really different and unique, then the Mario Kart Live Home Circuit will be right up your street.

Using augmented reality (AR) technology, you can capture footage of your physical surroundings and turn your home into a race track for those competitive Mario Kart battles. Set up your circuit in your living room, kitchen, or even outside (in the shade) before bringing the track to life on the screen. 

It is pricier than a standard game, but we love the interactive features that bring the game to life and think this would make a great birthday present for kids who love racing games.

How to choose the best Nintendo Switch game for kids

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing your next Switch game purchase. 

  • Budget: How much do you want to spend? If you’re looking for value for money, older games or game bundles tend to be a cheaper option than new releases, which tend to go for a premium price.  
  • Number of players: Are you looking for the whole family to play together or one child to play alone? Some games are best played as a single player, whilst others lend well to local co-op or multiplayer modes. 
  • Age of players: How old are your kids? Are they old enough to understand the instructions and manage the controls? 
  • PEGI rating: Is the content age-appropriate? The PEGI rating can be a good indicator in terms of violence, any bad language, threat or even in app purchases. The higher the PEGI rating, the older the target audience. 
  • Type of game: Does your child prefer adventure and action games, puzzle games or active games? Think about the kind of experience you want your child to have with the Switch. Also some games have educational value which is a great bonus.
  • Hardware required: What device do you have? Whilst most games are compatible on all Switch devices, some newer games require the Joy-Con controllers, and as such, won’t work on the Switch Lite.
  • Physical copy or digital download?: Are you keen to have a physical disk and box or are you happy to download the game to your device? The latter tends to be a cheaper option but does take up storage on your Switch.
  • Additional accessories - Does the game require any additional accessories such as additional controllers, wheels, ring etc? These aren’t always sold with the games, so you may need to factor in the additional cost.

What are the best Nintendo Switch games for kids?

When considering which Switch games to buy, we considered the options that could be enjoyed by everyone, whether you are aged six or 60. 

Animal Crossing offers dreamy escapism and with no stress, no competition and no threat, has proven to be as popular with the adults as it is with the kids. Whilst we would love to see the ability to share a device, the possibilities for game play with Animal Crossing are huge and everyone can create their own unique experience. 

For multiplayer options and games that bring the whole family together, Mario Party and Mario Kart offer something for everyone and provide a shared game play experience that comes with so many benefits. 

How we chose our recommendations

First up, we scoured the Mumsnet forums to hear your experiences and recommendations on Switch games, including the games you loved, tested and had truly put through their paces with your family. We also looked out for your feedback on the games that didn’t impress or that you felt were overrated.

Next, we researched online forums, bestseller lists and authentic product reviews to find the most highly rated and popular Switch games to suit all ages, experience levels and player types. After analysing all of our extensive research, we then combined our shortlist to bring you our final list of recommendations. 

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.