The Best Game Consoles for Kids
The video game market is chocked full of options when it comes to in-home consoles. The major producers of in-home consoles, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft even offer multiple consoles and different variations of each console. Finding the right console for your child can feel overwhelming. You want to provide a fun and exciting console for your kids, but you also want to keep them safe from inappropriate content and unmonitored online interactions. Here are some of the best consoles for kids in any scenario.
What to Look for when choosing a console?
Choosing a console can be tough, but you want to find one that meets your family’s needs while staying within budget. When deciding on a console for your home, it is important to do your research on the following.
You want to be sure that the console you choose has a variety of age-appropriate titles for your child to choose from. Some systems have exclusive games that serve different audiences. While Nintendo tends to be more family-friendly, Sony and Microsoft still have an accessible game catalog for players of any age.
Video game consoles can be expensive. Ranging anywhere from $200 to $700, consoles can come with a hefty price tag and that doesn’t even include the games you want to play. Consider the price of each console and how much your child plans on using it. Be sure to do your research on the price of games that your child is interested in when determining your family’s budget for a console.
Some Consoles are more complicated than others. One of the major considerations you should make when choosing a console is the accessibility of the hardware for your children. Depending on the age of your child, they may not be able to properly use a full-sized controller. Some consoles offer alternative hardware options or even have built-in solutions for players with smaller hands.
One of the only things threatening your child’s safety while they play video games is unwanted interactions with strangers when playing online games. Depending on the age of your child you may want to choose a console that does not rely heavily on online games. Although every console has safety precautions in place, some consoles have limited access for players to communicate with others online.
Nintendo Switch – The Best Overall Console for Kids
The Nintendo Switch is a versatile console that can meet the needs of any family. The most impressive thing about the Switch is its ability to be both a handheld console and connect to your tv. This makes it perfect for families who want the option to play together while not sacrificing portability.
The Nintendo Switch has the most appropriate first-party game catalog of all the major consoles. Nintendo’s games are incredibly family-friendly and offer a fun a safe experience for the entire family. Games like Mario kart and Mario party have been family favorites since they were first released almost 30 years ago. The Switch offers plenty of fun new games as well as a collection of classic Nintendo games that can be downloaded directly to the console.
The Switch does offer online play for some games. However, it does not have a supported voice chat, so your kids will not have to worry about talking to strangers online while playing. Nintendo also offers in-depth parental controls that can help keep your child safe from unwanted interactions or inappropriate games.
The Switch averages roughly $299 and comes with the console, the dock to hook it up to your tv, and to of Nintendo’s Joy-Con Controllers. Nintendo games rarely go on sale, so you will always have to pay a little bit more for first-party games. The other negative about the Switch is that it uses much less detailed graphics than any other major system.
PlayStation 5 – The Best Console for the Whole Family
If you are looking for a console that everyone can play on, the Playstation 5 is perfect for the entire family. The PlayStation 5 offers a wide variety of games so everyone can find something to play. If you have older kids or have an interest in playing games by yourself as well, the PS5 has something for you.
The PS5 offers top-of-the-line performance on some of the highest-awarded games on the market. The newest and most popular games are released on PS5, so your child will always have the chance to play what everyone else is playing.
The Dualshock controller that comes with the PS5 is the best controller on the market and offers a variety of features to make it more responsive and comfortable.
If you or your children are interested in playing games online, PS5 is the best option. All of the major competitive titles run seamlessly online depending on your internet connection. Playstation offers the option to purchase games online or by getting a physical disk wherever games are sold.
The biggest downside of the Playstation 5 is the price and availability. The console retails for $500 making it the most expensive option on the list. However, the PS5 has been sold out and out of stock in most places making it extremely difficult to find.
Xbox Series S Digital Console – The Best Console for Teens
The Xbox Series S is a console that does not take disks. Every game you buy on the Xbox comes as a digital download that is stored on the Xbox itself. The Xbox Series S Digital Console is a great option for kids between the ages of 13-18. Xbox offers all of the most popular titles that teens love. From online games to single-player games, the Xbox Series S is the perfect option for a teenager who wants to try it all.
The biggest benefit to the Xbox is the Xbox Game Pass. The Game Pass charges a low monthly fee of $10 and gives access to thousands of games that your child can play for no additional cost. The Game Pass is the perfect option for that teen who always gets bored and needs to try something else. It is also a perfect way for young gamers to learn what kinds of games they like to play.
The Xbox Series S is fairly affordable at $299. This console only uses digital games which could help you save money in the long run by being able to take advantage of sales prices on digital downloads.
Nintendo Switch Lite – The Best Handheld Console
Much like the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo Switch Lite is the best way to go if you want to be able to play a wide variety of age-appropriate games for kids 13 and under. The only difference between the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite is that the Lite can only be used in handheld mode. This means that you cannot hook it up to your tv.
The Switch Lite is a complete system and does not use the detachable Joy-Con controllers as the Switch does. The Switch Lite also does not support the graphics upscaling that is possible on the Switch. The Lite offers a portable version of the Switch with all of the same games and functional abilities.
The Nintendo Switch Lite sells for $100 less than the Switch coming in at $199.
Super Nintendo Mini – The Best Unconventional Console
Although not a major console, the Super Nintendo Mini has everything you need to have a great family game night. Everything you need to play comes in the box and you and your family will have immediate access to 21 Super Nintendo games. These games can be really fun to play together and watching your children play retro consoles might bring back memories from when the original Super Nintendo was released.
The Super Nintendo Mini retails for $80 and connects directly to your tv. This console is great for younger kids because it gives them a unique experience with classic games. This console is not able to run any other games than what is already loaded onto it. This means that if your child wanted to play the newest game they would not be able to. If you are looking to add video games to your family fun nights, this console is perfect for you.
Choosing the Right Console
The only way to make sure your child is getting what they want is for you to ask them. Involve your child in the conversation. Let them be the ones to tell you what kind of gaming experience they are looking for. Be sure to make them aware of any limitations or cautions and have them provide reasoning as to why they want the one they want.
At the end of the day, the best console is all about personal preference. If your child is asking you for a specific console, it is most likely because they want to play specific games with their friends who also own the console. Listen to your children and they will tell you which console will be the best for their needs.