Top 5 best kids games free for 2018
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.
Everything on this list is rated 3+, according to Google, and should be safe for even very young children. However, Apple rates most of these games with a more conservative 4+, except for Super Stickman Golf and Spaceteam, which are 9+. The games are all simple to control, easy to get into, and fun to play.
A note on IAPs and ads: Free kids games need to make money somehow. There are several games listed here that do indeed offer in-app purchases (IAPs) for in-game currency, and some feature ads instead. In the former case, you can disable IAPs at a system level on your device before handing it over to a kid. With the latter, you should play the game yourself first to make sure the ads are OK.
1. Sago Mini Friends
Sago Mini Friends is a pleasant little set of mini games that encourages dexterity, puzzle-solving and creativity. It starts with you selecting a colorful character, who then explores a neighborhood of cartoon houses.
Knock on a door, and you’ll be invited inside for an animated, entertaining playdate. This may involve hammering nails into a birdhouse, dress-up or even 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.
Get Sago Mini Friends for Android and iOS. A Windows PC version is also available. This game has no IAPs/advertising.
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.
It’s based around the titular islands, on which you collect bricks, to ‘buy’ Lego sets that are constructed with a few taps. Over time, you’ll accrue houses and vehicles, and cute blocky critters that roam about. As an added bonus, there’s no chance of painfully stepping on a plastic brick.
Get Lego Creator Islands for Android and iOS. This game has no IAPs/advertising.
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 the name suggests, Toca Kitchen 2 is all about cooking. This game will invite you to create meals – however your imagination allows. Invent your own recipes and foist your creations on a colorful cast o f characters, whether you’ve carefully constructed a burger, or just threw a watermelon in the microwave and covered 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.
The one snag is it’s the spit of Shooty Skies (Android/iOS), which is the better (and more surreal) game – although the lack of ads and IAP means the llamas get the nod for this particular list.
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.