Welcome to our list of the best free games for kids on both tablet and PC. These free games have all been carefully picked to make sure they are appropriate for boys and girls.
We’ve all heard horror stories of kids playing games and becoming pixel-hungry zombies. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, there were stories upon stories about how Pac-Man would bring about the end of society – kids shambling through maze-like streets, starving for a digital fix.
Luckily, nothing like that ever happened. In fact, there has been plenty of research that shows gaming as a productive leisure activity – in moderation, of course. For instance, the best free games for kids all encourage creativity and critical thinking. Therefore, these games are an active leisure activity, compared to the passivity of watching television.
That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure your children are only exposed to the best games for kids. Fortunately, we can help with that. Across tablets and PC, for kids aged between 5 and 11 years old, all the games we listed here are complete, as-is experiences. They combine depth and immediacy and contain no violence. Plus, they’re all very fun, no matter the age of your little one, and that’s important. So, sit back, relax and we’ll dive into the best free games for kids.
10 great children’s games for Android tablets and iPad
These days, kids are more likely to first experience computing and gaming on a tablet than a home computer. To that end, our tablet selection skews a little younger.
According to Google, everything listed here is rated 3+, and so should be safe for even very young children. Apple is more conservative – it rates the games 4+, apart from Super Stickman Golf 3 and Spaceteam, which are 9+. The games are also all simple to control, easy to get into, and fun to play.
A note on IAPs and ads: Free games need to be funded somehow. Several items in this selection offer in-app purchases (IAPs) for in-game currency, and some have ads. In the former case, disable IAPs at a system level on your device before handing it over to a youngling; with the latter, play a game yourself first to check the ads within are OK.
1. Sago Mini Friends
This sweet-natured set of mini-games encourages creativity, dexterity, and puzzle solving. It starts with you selecting a colorful character, who then explores a neighborhood of cartoon houses.
Knock on a door and you’re invited inside for an animated, entertaining playdate. This might involve dress-up, hammering nails into a birdhouse, or enjoying a tasty snack.
Everything’s bright and cheerful, and the game promotes empathy, with one friend looking glum if spoils aren’t evenly shared.
2. Lego Creator Islands
In all honesty, we’re sure most parents would be happier seeing kids playing with real Lego rather than virtual bricks on a tablet. But when the real thing isn’t an option, this official game’s a nice substitute.
The game takes place on the Lego Creator Islands, where you’ll collect bricks in order to buy Lego sets that are constructed with a few taps. While playing, you’ll collect all kinds of houses, vehicles and even cute blocky critters that roam around. As an added bonus, there’s no chance of painfully stepping on a plastic brick.
3. Toca Kitchen 2
If your child regularly uses a tablet, you’ve likely already installed some Toca Boca games. They’re a smart mix of education and play, and Toca Kitchen 2 is no exception.
As you’d expect, Toca Kitchen 2 is all about cooking. This game invites you to create meals – however you prefer. Devise your own recipes and foist your creations on a colorful cast of characters, whether you’ve carefully constructed a burger, or decided to throw a watermelon into the microwave and cover it in sauce.
4. Llama Spit Spit
Llama Spit Spit is an oddball shoot ’em up, featuring a flying llama blasting crazy cartoon enemies with a mix of spittle and high-powered weaponry.
The controls are incredibly simple, meaning even younger players can get on board. Power-ups and collectable llamas (with their own background imagery) keep things interesting over the long term.
5. Disney Crossy Road
The original Crossy Road cleverly reworked Frogger, with blocky characters hopping across chunky endless landscapes, trying to avoid a dunk in a river or getting flattened by a train. But the masterstroke was a raft of unlockable characters.
Disney Crossy Road is much the same, but uses Disney characters that often radically overhaul the game’s visuals and gameplay mechanics. Over 100 figurines are there to be found, and although IAP lurks, playing and collecting coins in the in-game worlds is all you need to snag them all.
6. Frisbee Forever 2
You’d think flinging a plastic disc about would make for a rubbish video game. Fortunately, Frisbee Forever 2 is more akin to a set of rollercoasters, with you guiding your disc through gates, collecting stars along the way.
There’s a hint of Nintendo about this breezy arcade experience, with its vibrant visuals, smart level design, and a basic control system suitable for all. And although there are freemium underpinnings, you’re rewarded with in-game currency for every second played – even if an attempt at a level ends in failure.
7. Fruit Ninja
In the fast-paced Fruit Ninja, your digit becomes a virtual sword, hacking pieces of fruit lobbed on to the screen in two, and attempting to avoid cutting into game-ending bombs.
It’s ideal fodder for a tablet, since you can make pleasingly large swipes across the display. But also the game offers local multiplayer, so two kids can zealously pit their fruit-slicing skills against each other.
With its tiny isometric worlds you spin with a finger, and landscape-flipping mechanics, Mekorama brings to mind Monument Valley. But this game has no Escher-like optical illusions; instead, it concentrates on straightforward pathfinding as you help an ambling robot reach its goals.
It’s a charming, thoughtful, tactile experience, and on a tablet is suitable for parent/child play, with you working through the puzzles together. Once you’re done with the 50 built-in levels, you can download more from the internet, or make your own.
9. Super Stickman Golf 3
For many kids, golf won’t excite. But the Super Stickman universe doesn’t partake in normal golf. Instead, you’re thwacking balls across larger-than-life side-on courses – massive castles; laser-strewn bases; floating islands.
Even though it’s fun to play by yourself, and makes full use of bigger screens (by letting you see more of each course and therefore aim more precisely), it also has fantastic multiplayer game types. You can play turn-by-turn matches with friends, or try your hand at frenetic, madcap ‘race to the hole’ skirmishes.
If you’ve several kids with devices, Spaceteam’s a delightfully bonkers way to have them all yell at each other in a vaguely productive manner that in theory helps them work as a team. Specifically, a ‘spaceteam’ in a ship trying to outrun an exploding star, with control panels designed by a sadist.
Once devices are connected, instructions appear on your screen – but the controls may be on someone else’s. So you’ll have people yelling nonsense like “someone turn on the dangling shunter”, while figuring out if their own screen has a ‘spectrobolt’ slider. Just like in Star Trek.