Do you want to know what my 8 year old’s dream job is? When he grows up, he desperately wants to be a videogame designer.
I think that’s a seriously cool dream job, and one that’s definitely achievable if he works hard and remains as interested in gaming as he is now. You see, we’re not a family that has ever really discouraged gaming. It would be remarkably hypocritical of us to really, seeing as though we are both big gamers and our children grew up helping us play various genres of games.
Family game sessions are a big thing in our household and they can take the form of playing digital versions of classic board games, such as Monopoly, on the TV, or playing free online games for kids on my laptop. I mean let’s put it this way – we were the family that went out and bought a £300 Nintendo Switch, just so we could all play Pokémon all together!
Gaming with kids is a brilliant way to bond, as well as teach them internet safety.
I see gaming as a great way to bond with my children. I think it’s safe to say that most children will, at some point, become engrossed in a video game. As a parent, this can be worrying; especially if the game has an online/multiplayer element. We want to keep our children safe, so what better way to teach them about internet safety than to play the games they’re into with them? Playing together not only allows you to see what they’re up to, but it is also a lovely way to appreciate your child’s interests and experience new challenges together.
Overcoming difficult levels, discovering new strategies, or solving puzzles together is a great way to help build a child’s self esteem and confidence, as well as providing you the perfect parental bonding opportunity.
There are lots of ways to play videogames with your children.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a pro gamer to enjoy bonding with your child over video games. There are lots of ways to get your hands on brilliant games designed specifically for children that are great for family bonding sessions. You don’t even need to splash the cash on downloads or consoles either, as there are plenty of excellent quality free online games for kids available.
Here are a few of our family’s favourite games to play, ranging from family console games, to free online games for kids. Please feel free to leave your favourite family bonding gaming ideas in the comments!
Nintendo Switch: For Family Nights In
We are big Nintendo Switch fans in this house, I think that’s predominantly down to that large collection of games designed for group/family gatherings. There are lots of classics that are perfect for entertaining the kids on rainy afternoons, such as Monopoly and Animal Crossing. There are also loads of games that are brilliant if you want to play as a family and add an element of competition – for example, Mario Kart 8 and Sports Party.
Of course, there are also extremely popular games, such as Minecraft, that are available to purchase on the Switch. My son is obsessed with Minecraft and we’ve not had a day go by where we haven’t discussed Creepers, Nether Portals and Mobs.
Free Online Games For Kids
We love a good freebie! Free online games for kids are a great choice for family games night as they’re completely free to play, plus websites such as Plays.org keep their games ad free. If you’re running low on space, or worried about what you’re downloading, loading up some free online games for kids is a great alternative to console games.
Plays.org is our favourite site to find free online games for kids. There are hundreds of games to choose from, all ad free, and a huge category navigation at the bottom of their page. We spend a lot of time on this website, playing together as a family, and sometimes my eldest likes to go off on his own and play educational and puzzle games.
Endless Siege is one of our favourites – a game that always has the kids screaming in suspense! It’s a simple game of strategy that we’ve steadily improved on over time. The premise is simple: stop the enemies from getting to the other side of the map by placing towers along the road. Obviously as you raise through the levels, the enemies get harder to kill and you’ll need to upgrade your towers! This is really fun and exciting as it starts off slowly and gets gradually more difficult. The map changes daily, so there’s always a new challenge awaiting!
Another popular game in our household from Plays.org is Mahjong Solitaire: Free Online Tile Match Game. My eldest son is obsessed with Mahjong games and it’s one that we can pop on screen and all play together whilst chatting and relaxing.
App/Play Store Games
If you don’t have a console or a laptop that you’re able to use for gaming, never fear because there are always fun, family friendly games to play on the App or Play Store. My main issue with these games is that I usually don’t have enough storage left on my phone to download new ones all the time. Also, unless you pay for them, almost all of the games will have adverts in them. If that doesn’t bother you so much, here are a few of our favourite games to play together on my phone: Candy Crush, Words of Wonders, Sudoku, Pokemon Go and Pokemon Cafe Mix.
It’s always nice to snuggle up on the sofa and discuss the day’s events whilst playing these casual smart phone games together – it’s definitely time that I really treasure with my kids.
So there you have it – these are my top picks for gaming together as a family! If you have any more suggestions of great games to play together, please do leave them in the comments.