Best family-friendly video games: Among Us, Animal Crossing & more!

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It’s time to break the mold that video games are for kids to play and parents to monitor—millions of households around the country are homebound more than ever and in need of new, fun ways to spend time together.

The answer? Awesome, family-friendly video games. Yes, there are plenty of fun games for parents and kids to enjoy together! 

The world of gaming has a number of different genres, and something for every skill level, plus plenty of common ground for beginners and advanced players alike.

From parents who have never touched a gaming console to experienced gamers looking for the next challenge, there is a wide range of video games out there that would make for an epic family game night. 

We know that the learning curve may be steeper for some, and that’s ok! Suggesting a family video game might seem spit-take worthy to kids at first, but with the right approach, it could be just the right ingredient for quality time. 

Benefits of playing video games as a family 

Forbes and other publications have drawn a conclusion that might surprise you: intergenerational gaming is beneficial for the whole family (not to mention that video games can be good for you in general!)

Think about it. Who probably has greater knowledge in this area? Kids, right? 

Not only will it be refreshing for children to teach their parents a thing or two, it allows parents a break from instructing, monitoring, or guiding screen time. Plus, you’d be surprised how popular kids’ video games are enjoyable for all ages. 

Like your family’s favorite old-school board game, video games offer opportunities for teamwork, collaboration, and a little competition. It’s also hardly a secret that there are notable educational and cognitive benefits to playing video games, though kids might not realize it because they’re having so much fun!

Let’s be honest; benefits like educational fun and fresh ways to spend time together can be harder to come by in a socially distanced world. 

These days, screens serve as lifelines to the outside world. They’re often essential for work and school, and they can be draining as folks juggle responsibilities outside family life. In a sense, screens both connect us and, sometimes, separate us  from those that matter most at home. 

Best family-friendly video games

Why not flip this dynamic and use screens to bring the whole family together? We’ve compiled a list of highly-rated video games to get you started! Each game is accompanied by its age rating on Common Sense Media, a site designed to help find age-appropriate content for kids. 

Games for ages 5-8+

Super Mario 3D All Stars: Nintendo Switch
Common Sense Media Rating: Ages 8+

Just in time for the 35th anniversary of the Mario franchise, the latest Nintendo game presents familiar faces to several generations and a delightful game for all. 93% of Google users enjoyed this game; its amazing, updated graphics and compilation of many beloved characters keep this classic relevant and as much fun as ever. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons: Nintendo Switch
Common Sense Media Rating: Ages 7+ (though many kids and parents users rate it at ages 5+)

In case you haven’t heard, Animal Crossing has become a global sensation that draws players of all ages. Released earlier this year, Animal Crossing: New Horizons boasts a 4.8/5 rating on GameStop and promises to be the most exciting iteration of the game yet. 

Rocket League: PlayStation, PC, Xbox, Nintendo
Common Sense Media Rating: Ages 8+

Having witnessed the awesomeness of Rocket League at iD Tech summer camps, I can personally attest to how much fun it is. Think of it as racing meets soccer in the best possible way. As a bonus, as of this September, Rocket League is free to play.

LEGO Video Games: Range of console compatibility, depending on game
Common Sense Media Rating: Ages 7-10, depending on franchise

From Harry Potter to Marvel franchises and Lord of the Rings, there is no shortage of parent-child common ground with the multitude of LEGO video games (making them among the best video games of kids)!

There are too many varieties to enumerate here, but suffice it to say that there are lots of options. Just think of the expansion possibilities to include a movie night or hands-on building challenge that could accompany a LEGO game! 

Games for ages 8-10+

Among Us: Steam, Google Play Apps
Common Sense Media: Ages 10+

This latest sensation has everyone from teen YouTube streaming stars to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez via Twitch taking notice. Among Us is easy to play, even for gaming newbies, and puts a fresh spin on a classic concept. Like Werewolf or Mafia, this is a game of deduction and discovering secrets in teams. 

Players board a spaceship and take on the role of either crew mate or an impostor alien determined to sabotage the mission and pick off crew members one by one. Crew members must complete their missions and discover who are, as the title suggests, the impostors Among Us

Just Dance 2020: Nintendo Switch, Wii, Xbox, PlayStation
Common Sense Media: Ages 10+ (kids and parents agree a little younger is ok!)

Going a little stir crazy after months of social-distancing? Bust a move with Just Dance, and a quiet evening at home transforms into a dance party! The latest version Just Dance is updated with Top 40 hits and is sure to get everyone off the couch and onto the dance floor, even if that’s technically still the basement. 

Ori and the Will of the Wisps: Xbox, PC, Nintendo Switch
Common Sense Media: Ages 10+

One look at this game’s breathtaking graphics, its rave reviews from developers, and its 10/10 rating on Steam is enough to get gamers of all ages excited to give Ori and the Will of the Wisps a spin.

The game includes puzzles and challenges to engage any experience level. Though a single-player game, Ori and the Will of the Wisps allows racing on leaderboards for some family competition!

Games for teens

Some of these games contain mature themes and content; it’s always a good idea to preview the game to make sure it’s a good fit for your family!

Jackbox Party Games: Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo
Common Sense Media: Ages 12+

As thousands of users have discovered, Jackbox is a great way to liven up any family gathering or holiday. With game options ranging from trivia to Pictionary to competitive fibbing, there’s something for everyone on Jackbox

Rock Band 4: PlayStation, Xbox
Common Sense Media: Ages 12+

Turn game night into a rock concert with Rock Band. Musicians in the family will get to show off their skills, and if your family is not particularly musically inclined, everyone will be on the same playing field. Plus, families can take turns rocking out to their favorite songs. 

7 Billion Humans: PC, Nintendo Switch, MacOS
Common Sense Media: Ages 12+

The intricate puzzles of 7 Billion Humans offer engaging challenges and educational benefits to players. With over 60 levels of difficulty, this game is excellent food for thought or a much-needed brain break. If your family thrives on strategy games, 7 Billion Humans might be right up your alley. 

One more recommendation

If your child loves video games and is ready to take the next step towards creating their own, iD Tech has got you covered! Our tech experts have crafted course curriculum to teach cutting-edge STEM skills alongside the games they love.

Do kids want to learn how to defeat Minecraft's Ender Dragon with friends, or code a Tetris-style game with Python?

Check out our catalog of Online Private Lessons and small-group after school programs

A photo of Virginia

Virginia started with iD Tech at the University of Denver in 2015 and has loved every minute since then! A former teacher by trade, she has a master's in education and loves working to embolden the next generation through STEM. Outside the office, you can usually find her reading a good book, struggling on a yoga mat, or exploring the Rocky Mountains.