Many parents undoubtedly wonder about the best age for their children to start playing video games. But the truth is, there is no “right” age. If you’re keen to share your hobby with your kids, then it’s entirely up to you when you introduce them to video games. Tots as young as 18 months have been known to get familiar with a controller. But waiting a little bit longer – around three or four years – means your little one has a better chance of understanding what’s going on. And so, we’ve rounded up the best Xbox Game Pass games for 3 to 4 year olds right here.
The trick is choosing something suitable for your child to play. When it comes to the best games for 3 to 4 year olds, there’s admittedly a limited selection out there, particularly on Xbox Game Pass. But there are a handful of games that are perfect for the youngest children to learn the ropes with.
At this age, it doesn’t matter if your 3 to 4 year old doesn’t fully understand the story of the game they’re playing. Simply getting them familiar with a controller and learning how their inputs match up with the character on screen is a huge step. And so, in our opinion, some of the best games for 3 to 4 year olds on Xbox Game Pass are the ones that allow children freedom to explore at their own pace. And, of course, are free of violence, bad language, and other adult themes.
We’ve rounded up five of the best games we think are suitable for the youngest players. And they’re all currently available on Game Pass.
This list was first published in May 2022 and has been periodically updated since.
1. Disneyland Adventures
Chances are, your child already loves Disney. Most kids do – and it’s easy to see why. Classic Disney properties are filled with bright colours, memorable characters and themes that resonate with kids. And so, a trip to Disneyland (or Disney World) is undoubtedly a dream for many kids. It needn’t remain a dream thanks to Disneyland Adventures: this open sandbox allows children to explore a digital recreation of Disney’s iconic theme park.
After creating their own avatar (or you creating it for them), youngsters can begin exploring the park. They’ll meet their favourite Disney characters, ride some of the attractions, buy stuff from the gift shop, take photos with their heroes, and more. This is undoubtedly one of the best games on Xbox Game Pass for 3 to 4 year olds. And it’s something the family can enjoy together.
Look at any list of games recommended for children, and you’ll find Minecraft there. There’s a good reason for that: this open sandbox promotes learning, exploration and fun, and kids of any age can enjoy it. Thanks to its bright and blocky visuals – and the fact that Minecraft is such a recognisable brand – young children typically find the game pretty exciting to jump into.
The freedom that Minecraft offers as a game for kids is unparalleled. It offers a safe space for children to learn the ropes, create something spectacular, or simply press buttons and see what happens. If you’ve ever played Minecraft, you’ll know there’s a learning curve involved. After a few months, there’s a good chance your youngster will know more about Minecraft than you do. But in the meantime, it’s the perfect playground for 3 to 4 year olds to mess around in.
3. Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay
A 3D platforming game designed for the very youngest gamers, Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay is undoubtedly one of the best games on Xbox Game Pass for 3 to 4 year olds. Certainly so if your child is a Paw Patrol fan – and frankly, we’re yet to meet a 3-4 year old who isn’t. It’s not hard to see why; as a franchise, Paw Patrol is cute, inoffensive, and filled with adorable doggos. We have to admit, we’ve got quite a soft spot for it ourselves.
As far as games go, Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay is rather basic. Each level provides a small 3D environment to run around, and there’s a number of collectibles to pick up. Each character has a special skill – Rubble, for instance, can break through rocks – and players will need to use them to progress. Everything’s nice and easy for little hands to get to grips with, though, with primarily one button being used. It’s a great game to help kids get used to holding a controller.
4. Forza Horizon 5
A Forza Horizon game? On a list of games for 3-4 year olds? We know it sounds a little strange, but hear us out. Remember what we said about games that offer freedom to explore being the best for kids? That’s Forza Horizon 5 in a nutshell. When it comes to huge worlds that are yours for the taking, they don’t get much better than this.
Granted, a grown up might have to get through the opening sections – before you’re given the freedom to roam, you’ll need to complete a couple of races and go through a bit of onboarding. But then, players are free to head out onto the open road, driving through forests, beaches and cities. With no pressure to complete events, Forza Horizon 5’s open world provides a great place for youngsters to speed around as they learn how to use a controller. The lack of any fail state absolutely helps, too. The best games on Xbox Game Pass for 3 to 4 year olds really don’t get much better than this.
5. My Friend Peppa Pig
If your child loves Peppa Pig, then this one is a no brainer. My Friend Peppa Pig feels like an interactive episode of the popular TV series, allowing children to create their own character and go on adventures alongside Peppa. Kids can choose to be any one of a number of species, and can choose the colour of their outfits and more. What we love most, though, is that the game is animated in exactly the same style as the TV cartoon – and features many of the same voice actors. It’s just wonderful.
This is a very short game, but that makes it perfect for 3 to 4 year olds. There’s no right or wrong way to play: kids can explore the small game world, visiting familiar locations such as Peppa’s House and the play center to explore and interact with everything around them. The controls are very simple, too, making this a great title to introduce young players to the Xbox.