Welcome to our list of the best free games for kids on both tablet and PC. These have all been carefully picked to make sure they are appropriate for boys and girls.
We’ve all heard horror stories about kids playing games in the news. Back in the ‘80s, we were told Pac-Man would usher in the end of society as we know it – with kids roaming maze-like streets, starving for a cyber fix.
In these more enlightened times, though, we know nothing like that ever happened. In fact, research has shown that gaming can be a productive leisure activity – in moderation, of course. For instance, the best games for kids can help promote problem solving skills and creativity. The best free games for kids, then, are an active leisure pursuit, as opposed to the passivity of watching TV.
Still, it’s important to make sure your children are only playing the best games for kids. We took the liberty of highlighting 20 of the best free games for kids, both boys and girls, aged between 5 and 11 years. They’re complete games, feature no violence and tend to combine both immediacy and depth. Most importantly, though, they’re all a ton of fun to play – regardless of your age.
10 best games for kids on 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 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
This good natured set of mini-games 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 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.
Get Toca Kitchen 2 for Android. This game has no IAPs/advertising. A paid version exists for iOS.
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.
Get Llama Spit Spit for Android and iOS. This game has no IAPs/advertising.
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.
Get Disney Crossy Road for Android and iOS. This game features advertising, and has non-essential IAPs for buying new characters.
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.
Get Frisbee Forever 2 for Android and iOS. This game features advertising, and has non-essential IAPs for more rapidly unlocking discs and zones.
7. Fruit Ninja
In the fast paced world of Fruit Ninja, your finger becomes a virtual sword, chopping away at pieces of fruit lobbed onto the screen in two, and attempting to avoid cutting into game-ending bombs.
It’s the perfect game for a tablet, since you can make satisfyingly large swipes across the display. But, what makes it special is the fact that it offers local multiplayer, so two kids can zealously pit their fruit-slicing skills against each other.
Get Fruit Ninja for Android and iOS. This game features advertising, and has non-essential IAPs for purchasing in-game currency.
With its tiny isometric world you can spin with your finger, and landscape-twisting 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.
Get Mekorama for Android and iOS. This game features optional IAP for tipping the developer.
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.
Although it’s a fun solo game, which makes the most of bigger screens (through you being able to see more of each course and therefore aim more precisely), it also has superb multiplayer modes. You can play turn-by-turn matches with friends, or try your hand at frenetic, madcap ‘race to the hole’ skirmishes.
Get Super Stickman Golf 3 for Android and iOS. This game features advertising, and IAP for unlocking a premium upgrade (more courses and slots for turn-based multiplayer) and in-game currency.
If you have several kids with their own devices, Spaceteam is a delightfully crazy way to have them all yell at each other in a vaguely productive way that will help them work as a team – at least in theory. Specifically, a ‘spaceteam’ in a ship trying to outrun an exploding star, with control panels designed by a sadist.
Once your kids’ devices are connected, instructions appear on your display – 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 Star Trek.
Get Spaceteam for Android and iOS. This game has a single optional IAP that unlocks new features and themes