App stores are lousy with mobile games targeting your kids. If you're handing your child a phone to play a game, however, you hopefully want something more out of the experience than just somethingmore
App stores are lousy with mobile games targeting your kids. If you're handing your child a phone to play a game, however, you hopefully want something more out of the experience than just something to keep your kid occupied for a while.
You'd like the mobile game to keep your kid engaged, stimulated, and entertained and maybe even to reinforce an educational concept if the app can slip that in without your kid noticing. You'd like an app that protects your kid's -- and your -- privacy and is age appropriate. You'd definitely like one with in-app purchases under control and, if it's free-to-play, has appropriate and minimal ads.
To be safe, PBS Kids checks all those boxes with its kid apps. But if you are looking for guidance on other kid-friendly games, a trusted and unmatched source is Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that evaluates and recommends age-appropriate games and media for kids. All our picks make the Common Sense Media's lists of best apps and games for boys and girls.
Keep your kids engaged and entertained with the best Android games that even reinforce educational concepts
In this easy-to-play but completely captivating side-scroller, jump on your snowboard and round up your lost llamas and collect coins, all the while attempting snowboarding tricks and avoiding rocks, campfires, and other obstacles you find on the slopes. As you play, day turns to night and weather rolls in, letting you hit the slopes under the stars and during dramatic lightning storms. The pace of this charming game is exciting without becoming frantic, and the soundtrack is a good match for the game's natural setting. You can play for free, watching ads for other games every once in a while, or buy the app for $4.99 and skip the ads.
In this Android app based on the Nintendo 3DS game, you spend a summer in Heartlake City where you go on adventures and make friends with other girls in the town. You choose how to spend your summer -- horse-riding camp or soccer, for example -- decorate your room, take care of a pet, and pick out clothing. Common Sense Media notes that the characters in the $4.99 Lego Friends game serve as good role models for girls.
You don't beat Minecraft. And that's kind of the the point. Minecraft's open-ended nature lets kids play like they want without having to win something. They can explore their world, collect and build surprisingly interesting and complex buildings and contraptions, or test their skill battling zombies, creepers, and dragons. They can play alone or with friends. Many teachers have seen the power of Minecraft to teach concepts and have built engaging curricula around subjects, from history to chemistry, using the game. Microsoft has a website dedicated to using Minecraft in the classroom. All for $6.99 to play on Android.
Your kids can build their own amusement park, complete with rides, with Pango Build Park. Begin by designing a roller coaster, place other rides and attractions, do some landscaping, and then explore the park. You can ride the roller coaster, make adjustments, and rebuild to create the ride you want. This sweet, no-stress $3.99 game with adorable characters is perfect for younger kids.
There are actually three Room games, each full of ingenious and vexing puzzles. You work through the games solving mysteries by picking locks, beating puzzles, and breaking codes. The first game in the series, Room Pocket, is free, with a 99 cent in-app upgrade to the full game. The second, Room Two, is also 99 cents. The third, Room Three, is $1.99, and you use your puzzle-solving skills to complete a collection of trials. The game offers hints and a haunting soundtrack to match the mysterious nature of the game.
In this free-to-play card-based strategy game, choose your side -- the rebel or Imperial forces -- set your squad, and then enter into battle with the enemy, playing cards and
making choices as you fight your way to victory. The game includes a stirring soundtrack and familiar characters from the range of "Star Wars" movies. Gameplay is not difficult to master, especially after working your way through a lengthy tutorial that gets you comfortable with the action. You collect cards as you advance through levels, but you can also buy booster packs from the store.
But it's a hefty download -- for both the main game and then a 500MB tutorial after the main app is done downloading. But if you have the space and bandwidth, the game will appeal to "Star Wars" kids.