If you’re a gamer and a parent, chances are you’ll want to introduce your children to video games at some point. But what are the best games for young children? We’re here to help you pick: read on to find out the best games on Nintendo Switch for 3 to 4 year olds.
By the time a child is three or four years old, they’ll likely be curious about your hobby. And it can be a good time to introduce them to suitable games. Thankfully, there are many great games for 3 to 4 year olds there – particularly on Nintendo Switch, a perfect console for young players. Even getting a youngster used to using a controller can be tricky, and the Switch’s Joy-Cons are ideally suited to small hands.
Of course, not every video game on Switch is suitable for a 3 or 4 year old. And it’s not always obvious what will be suitable for the youngest of players. We’re here to help. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the best Switch games for 3 to 4 year olds, keeping easy controls, child-friendly visuals and engaging themes in mind. Read on to see our picks.
How we’ve chosen the best games for young children
It’s very important to choose the right type of game for a 3 to 4 year old. You’ll want to go for something with very simple controls, easy-to-follow instructions and, ideally, the freedom for your child to enjoy exploring and taking things at their own pace. These are all things we’ve taken into consideration when we’ve chosen the games on our list.
It’s equally important to be patient with your child as you introduce them to video games. Sit with them as they play and allow them to take their time. Allow them to make mistakes too – it’s how we all learn! It also doesn’t matter if they’re not reaching the end of a level or meeting the goals they’re ‘supposed’ to. When children first start playing video games, it’s about letting them have fun and get used to being in control of their on-screen character.
Some of the games here are level-based, while others are open world “sandbox” adventures. But every single game we’ve chosen allows children to play however they wish: there are no time limits and no strict instructions to follow here.
1. My Friend Peppa Pig
There’s a lot to love about My Friend Peppa Pig as a video game for young children. One, it’s based on Peppa Pig, one of the most popular kids cartoons of our time. Two, it’s very easy to play, thanks to its intuitive one-button control system. And three, it looks exactly like the TV series. Essentially, it lets children star in their own episode of Peppa Pig. First, they’ll design their own character, then they’ll get to go on adventures with Peppa.
It’s a short and fairly small game, all things considered, but it’s perfect for 3 to 4 year olds looking for their first game to play. As Peppa’s new friend, players can explore familiar locations like Peppa’s house, the park, Granny and Grandpa’s House and the beach. Doing something simple like jumping in a muddy puddle can be so much fun. So, if your children are fans of Peppa, consider this one of the best Switch games for 3 to 4 year olds. You might also want to consider its follow up, Peppa Pig: World Adventures.
2. Bluey: The Video Game
Just like My Friend Peppa Pig, Bluey: The Videogame does a fantastic job of perfectly aping the visual style of the cartoon. Along with using original voice actors and creating levels based around themes from the TV show, the resulting game is a delightful experience for the whole family. But of course, young players who are already fans of Bluey are going to get the most out of this.
There are four themed levels to play through, but outside of those, players can visit five familiar environments. The game provides the freedom for players to do whatever they want: jump into a minigame, simply explore, or hunt for collectibles. It’s a gorgeous little game, and the perfect place to introduce your three or four year old to video gaming.
3. Little Friends: Dogs & Cats
Most children love dogs or cats. And, particularly if they don’t have a family pet of their own, they may be very eager to spend some time with a pet. Little Friends: Dogs & Cats presents the perfect opportunity: a pet you can play and interact with, without any of the associated expenses, commitments and mess. A win-win for everyone!
Little Friends: Dogs & Cats allows children to choose one of twelve pets to adopt and play with. There’s a variety of dog breeds, including Toy Poodle, Chihuahua, French Bulldog, Labrador and more, along with a variety of cats. Whichever you choose, you’ll be able to feed them, train them, pet them and play with them. Oh, and dress them up in various outfits, and take them out for walkies at various locations. It’s the ideal game for 3 to 4 year olds as it allows them to play however they want, along with teaching them about the basics of pet care. Could this be the perfect introduction if you are considering adopting a real pet, perhaps?
4. Disney Dreamlight Valley Cozy Edition
While some of the gameplay in Disney Dreamlight Valley may be a little complex for the youngest players, we still can’t help but recommend this gorgeous adventure for three to four year olds. After all, what child doesn’t love Disney? Exactly. This magical sandbox allows you to meet characters from a vast range of Disney and Pixar properties – and more are added on a regular basis. You can engage with them and complete quests, or you can simply spend time exploring the village, doing whatever you see fit.
The youngest players may require a bit of help when it comes to completing some of the missions. But we think 3-4 year olds are most going to enjoy simply exploring, meeting their favourite characters and dressing up their character in fun outfits. It’s the type of game that can be played in any way, and there are no punishments for not completing missions. Play it with your kids to really the get the most out of it.
5. Paw Patrol World
If you’re a parent to a young child, you probably have the Paw Patrol theme tune etched into your brain forever. It’s one of the most popular series for tots and young children 2 those adventure-seeking pups are beloved by almost every kid we know. And for good reason: the colourful visuals, adorable doggos and easy-to-follow storylines make for an award-winning combination. And it turns out it’s a formula that works just as well in video game form, too.
Paw Patrol World is the latest to be released, and in our opinion, it’s the best one. It’s the first open world Paw Patrol game, letting players explore freely as they collect bones and enter missions by talking to characters. For the most part, you’ll be running and jumping around but once in a while you’ll need to use a pup’s special ability. You can switch characters on the fly, and also jump into a character’s signature vehicle at the push of a button, too. The instructions are very clear, and inputs are very simple – it’s one of the best Switch games to start out with for 3 and 4 year olds.
Of course, it’ll be doubly popular if your little one also loves Paw Patrol. Surely being in control of the characters they’ve seen and loved on TV will be a real thrill for them?
6. Coloring Book
Colouring is the perfect activity for children, particularly those aged 3 to 4. And most will happily sit and add some colour to their favourite images. Coloring Book allows them to do just that, while also getting used to using a video games console. By using their finger, they can select a colour then apply it to a section of the image, until they’ve created a beautiful piece of art.
The best thing about Coloring Book? The basic version of the game is absolutely free to download. The free version provides 12 drawings for children to complete, and more are available as paid downloadable content, arranged into themes. Chose from cats, ocean, farm, girls room, construction and dinosaurs, depending on your child’s favourite things. There’s also a ‘Whiteboard’, allowing for completely free creativity with a palette of colours and drawing tools. This is a great tool for getting creative, and one of the best games for children aged 3 to 4 on Switch.
7. LEGO Incredibles
Most young children are already very familiar with LEGO bricks, so a LEGO video game is the ideal starting place. There are plenty to choose from, but all have a very similar gameplay loop. Open worlds lead into linear levels, but all allow for the freedom of running around, exploring, and smashing stuff up. That’s the real joy of a LEGO game, whether you’re three years old or thirty years old.
We’ve chosen LEGO Incredibles simply because it’s a franchise that’s very popular with 3-4 year olds. Any Pixar franchise is, let’s face it. LEGO Incredibles lets players take control of LEGO versions of the popular superhero family, and explore the world around them. It’s got one of the best open worlds of any LEGO game, so your little one doesn’t need to worry about meeting goals or reaching the end of a level. They can simply enjoy running around an open world, doing whatever they want to do. Because of that, this is one of the best Nintendo Switch games for 3 to 4 year olds.