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Best Video Game Consoles For Kids
Video games can be fun for the whole family, from the youngest little gamers to tech-savvy teens, as well as the parents who sneak in their own gameplay from time to time. These days, it’s hard to keep up with what the best game systems are for various ages and stages of aspiring video game experts. We've got the scoop on the best video game consoles for kids from Nintendo and PlayStation to Xbox and iPad, so you can give kids what they really want.
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Get moving with Leapfrog! Starting with the youngest of video game console connoisseurs, the best console for kids, 3 to 8 years of age, has to be the Leapfrog LeapTV. Much like all of Leapfrog’s lineup of learning-centered toys, it’s educational but incorporates active video gaming that is easy to play. It’s also great for young children thanks to the audio instructions and controllers made for little hands. With over 100 educator-approved games and videos, children can interact and play with their favorite characters like Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies, Disney’s Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Frozen, and many more. There are three ways to play including body motion, pointer play, and classic control, but all help young gamers learn, through motion, creativity and life skills, mathematics, reading, writing, and science. The Leapfrog LeapTV can be played solo or with someone else and even auto-adjusts game levels to your child’s age. Kids will leap with joy for the Leapfrog LeapTV.
Leave it to VTech to come up with yet another great tech toy and one of the best game consoles for 5-year-olds. Perfect for petite players ages 3 to 8, VTech InnoTV is an educational gaming system made for preschoolers but built with the whole family in mind thanks to its multiplayer capability. It connects to your television and comes with four games that address language arts, math, problem-solving, and science, just to name a few, as well as a wireless controller made for tiny hands. The InnoTab cartridges and learning software are also compatible with this gaming system so kids can learn with Mickey Mouse, Dora & Friends, and others. Who says the best video game console for kids has to be for the big brothers and older sisters?
Perfect for little hands and long car rides, the Nintendo 2DS is one of the best video game systems for kids when on-the-go. A colorful handheld device with two bright screens and an interactive stylus pen, this gaming system entertains wherever your child may be. The rugged and hingeless design ensures the 2DS can withstand the rough and tumble life of a little gamer. While the screens do not display 3-D images like the 3DS, the 2DS’s brilliant screen is fully capable of playing 3DS games. The fun doesn't stop when the games end thanks to the web browsing capabilities and video streaming services like YouTube, HuluPlus, and Netflix. Don’t forget to say, “cheese!” With its built-in front and back cameras, kids and adults alike will have tons of fun staging impromptu photo shoots that can even be taken in 3-D. Last, but certainly not least, parents can rest easy with full control over what kids can access on their gaming device.
Nintendo 2DS XL
Whether your young gamer is ready to take a step up in their gameplay, or you want to eliminate fights in the backseat because someone can’t see the video screen, the Nintendo 2DS XL is arguably the best gaming system for kids in the car. It features a clamshell design with a touchscreen pad on the bottom and high-res screen up top which is 82 percent bigger than those on the standard 2DS system. Therefore, it's easier for everyone to feel like part of the action while waiting for their turn to play. Like the 2DS, it will not display 3-D images, but it is fully capable of playing 3DS games. You might even want to take a turn yourself to get your creative juices flowing with games like Disney Art Academy, featuring a range of art lessons from beginner to advanced. Just like the 2DS, parents can fully control what kids can access on their gaming device.
Nintendo 3DS XL
If you have a little extra cash and think your child will be all about 3-D games, look no further than the Nintendo 3DS XL. No need for the blue and red 3-D glasses here, these game graphics speak for themselves. Aside from the 3-D-enabled widescreen with face-tracking 3-D and faster processing speeds, the 3DS XL is very similar to the 2DS XL model in that it features a clamshell design with a touchscreen pad on the bottom and high-res screen up top. It also takes 2-D and 3-D pictures and can be controlled by parents. Important to note: An AC adapter is not included, so you’ll want to add it to your shopping cart if you don’t already have one.
Sony PlayStation 4 Slim
Lighter and slimmer than ever before, the PlayStation 4 Slim packs a powerful punch with its impressive 1TB hard drive. Tweens, teens, and experienced gamers alike will get lost in the insanely crisp and elaborately detailed imagery in PS4's vast game library of the best video games for kids, such as Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 and Steamworld Dig 2 (both rated for Everyone 10+). And when game time is over, the whole family can join in the fun—the console doubles as the ultimate entertainment center, thanks to the PlayStation Store streaming services such as new release movies, Spotify music, and even your favorite TV channels. Does gameplay happen on a 4K TV at your house? You might fork over a little extra dough and consider the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro because, with higher resolutions and better frame rates, it reaches its full potential on 4K TV screens. Bonus: Parental controls on any PlayStation 4 allow you to decide if you want kids to use online features, set spending limits on your account wallet, and more.
Microsoft Xbox One S
Described as the best value in games and entertainment, the Xbox One S is packed with features including 1TB worth of storage, more than 1,300 games, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and 4K video streaming. Xbox has amassed a huge selection of the best games for kids, teens, and families like Rocket League for the littles, Lego City Undercover for the tweens, and What Remains of Edith Finch for the seasoned teen players. Once they've been conquered, Xbox Live keeps the fun going by letting kids play head-to-head with online friends, and gain access to must-have apps such as YouTube, Spotify, ESPN, and many others.
Apple's iPad may seem like an unlikely gaming system, but it might just be the best game system for kids and the whole family. The huge 9.7” handheld retina display can be the gateway to a fun family-game session during a tedious layover, a quick educational escape in the doctor’s waiting room, or a magical way to spend a car ride while playing Lego Harry Potter. Plus, the big colorful screen can also be the spoonful of sugar that gets kids hooked on one of the many creative games that are, well, not exactly games like Drawing Pad, which is a digital canvas that kids can virtually draw on, save for later, and even show off on social media.
(From $329; apple.com)
Can’t decide between a home console and portable gaming system for your young gamer? You’re in luck because we’ve found best gaming console for kids that is a hybrid. The Nintendo Switch allows kids to dock it with a television and play in HD or take it with them in handheld mode. The tabletop mode lets kids play with others, and the handy stand ensures it won’t be leaning on a random object. Kids will jump for joy when they play with the included Joy-Con grips which can be used as one or even two traditional controllers, any up, down, and sideways, motion, or button controlled. With the Nintendo Switch, kids can challenge friends at home, compete with fellow Nintendo Switch users online, or even link up to eight systems together to play wherever they choose. From memorable household game nights to never-ending entertainment in the car, the Nintendo Switch has all the best video games for kids and families. Parents, you will also love the Nintendo Switch because you can set guidelines and manage how your family interacts thanks to the Parental Controls feature.