From pediatricians to psychologists, experts agree that spending quality time with your kids is one of the most important things you can do for them. But finding time for bonding with kids is also one of the most difficult. Between work, school, sports and activity schedules, bonding time for parents and their kids can easily slip away.
One of the most common ways kids spend their free time is playing video games. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids ages 8-18 now spend an average of 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day.
So what if instead of competing with video games for your kids’ time and attention, you joined them instead—as in playing video games with your kids? Many parents are doing just that—and even enjoying the games almost as much as their children are!
Below we highlight seven of our favorite video games you can use to make quality bonding time with your kids more fun.
First on our list is Minecraft, the enormously popular and addicting building game needs little introduction. Millions of people of all ages cannot get enough of this building and crafting game. Its open-world sandbox setting allows children and their parents to create and improve entire worlds together, complete with deep, intricate, and rich details. Minecraft is available to play on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox.
Comparable to Minecraft in many ways but more goal-and-mission-oriented, the popular Terraria is another vast building, exploration, and crafting game that multiple people can play. Like other “sandbox” games, Terraria is open-world, letting players explore more freely than other games. No two games are exactly alike, enhancing their replay value while giving parents plenty of time to master the game alongside their kids as they wind their way through it. Terraria is playable on your PC, Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch.
Many parents will fondly remember the Super Mario Bros. game series from their own childhoods. This series has not only stood the test of time, it has expanded over the decades. Super Mario Odyssey continues Mario’s adventures through many perils on a magical airship called the Odyssey. This time, Mario uses a sentient hat named “Cappy.” Super Mario Odyssey won Best Family Game in 2017 by The Game Awards, one of the industry’s most prestigious honors. The game is available on Nintendo Switch and is perfect for a parent to play with their children.
If you and your kids can’t get enough of the Mario universe, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the perfect addition to your collection! After all, is there a better way for you to gleefully compete against your child than in a classic car race? In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you’ll race go-karts and motorbikes across various locations and terrains. But be warned: the game is so fun for kids and their parents that many find it hard to put down the controllers! Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is available on Nintendo Switch and has an online play option.
When you’re ready for a stouter automobile challenge, check out Rocket League, an exceptionally popular game over the past few years. Rocket League is an eccentric but surprisingly perfect mix of sports, specifically soccer and car racing. One of the more competitive games on this list, Rocket League is free to play on almost every major platform, including consoles and PCs (and even Macs).
Another hugely popular game many parents have heard about is Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Utilizing animals to build a human-like settlement and society, you and your child can enjoy an easy-going and enjoyable game that helps develop decision-making, organizational, and social skills. And unlike other games on this list, it’s pretty relaxing! Indeed, playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an excellent way to unwind with your kids after a long day. The fifth entry in the Animal Crossing series, New Horizons, won The Game Award’s 2020 Best Family Game award and is available on Nintendo Switch.
Our last game recommendation combines two legendary names in family entertainment: LEGO and Star Wars. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is part of an extensive series of LEGO-themed video games based on movies. The Skywalker Saga is an excellent choice for parents to play with their kids because of how Star Wars bridges the generations—and lets grown-ups share the sweeping epic and beloved characters of Star Wars in an interactive way. This edition follows the entire 9-film series and is playable on Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox, and PCs.
Spending quality time with their children is the most invaluable goal a parent can achieve. We hope our list of seven great games—and our super-fast internet service to power them—will help make bonding with your kids a bit easier!