Good Nintendo DS Games for Young Children

It would be very helpful if the packaging of each video game displayed details of the age group of those who would enjoy playing it. In the US and Canada many games have a ESRB rating of E, suitable for everyone (especially age 6+), similar in the UK to a rating of 3+ or 7+. These games are suitable for all in that the content is not offensive and contains no violence.

The 3+ category does not, however, mean that a 3- or 4-year-old would be able to play it, either because the game is too difficult or the written instructions make it inaccessible. There are a number of video games available for Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Sony and Microsoft machines which can be enjoyed by young children of pre-school age and non-readers.

New Nintendo DS Games for Pre-school Kids

There were a number of new games released in in the UK in 2009 which are specifically for younger children, with no reading ability required. These games are based on popular TV characters created for a very young audience and may appeal to children around 3 years of age. Some of them are:

  • Postman Pat: “Special Delivery Service”,
  • Peppa Pig,
  • Fifi and the Flowertots.

DS and Playstation Games With Spoken Instructions

There are a group of games based on the character of Dora The Explorer, a US TV character who also frequents the UK children’s TV channels. The television programmes are overtly educational and the audience may be slightly older than for the characters above, hence the rating suggests the games are for children of around 6 years of age. The games include:

  • Dora the Explorer: “Puppy”
  • Dora the Explorer: “Saves the Snow Princess”
  • Dora the Explorer: “Saves the Mermaids”
  • It is note worthy that the games based on Nick Junior characters were worthy of mention by USA Today because they used spoken instructions instead of the usual written text:
  • Dora the Explorer: “Saves the Mermaids”
  • Go Diego Go: “Safari Rescue”

Choosing Video Games for Nursery Children

Some of the basic features that make for a good pre-school video game are:

  • No reading required;
  • Challenging, not too easy but not too difficult;
  • A world to explore;
  • Simple intuitive use of controls;
  • A game that children will want to play with time and time again.
  • Good video games for children may also include:
  • mini games,
  • good music,
  • familiar characters from TV shows.

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (for the US and Canada) has given more than two hundred games a EC rating, which means they are suitable for early childhood. These are mostly computer games for Windows or Macintosh, a few games for Sony Playstation One and Nintendo Wii. There are 4 EC rated games for the DS:

  • Wonder Pets: Save the Animals
  • Freddi Fish ABCs Under the Sea
  • Ni Hao, Kai-lan: “New Year’s Celebration”
  • My Virtual Tutor: “Reading Pre-K to Kindergarten”

In Europe there is no equivalent to the Early Childhood rating, so games suitable for young children will have a 3+ rating, along with thousands of other games.

Nintendo DS Games for Young Children: Looking After Animals and Characters

Many of the games which young children will enjoy involve looking after a creature, feeding it, playing with it, cleaning it and so on. One of the most popular games of this type is Nintendogs. Young children can enjoy looking after the dogs but are unlikely to progress through the game, unlocking the other dogs and upgrading their home, without a lot of help from someone older.

Disney Friends is another game which involves looking after creatures, but these are four Disney characters. There is a lot to the game, it cannot be completed in an afternoon. This could be enjoyed by children from about age 4, there is some reading and the child would need some help. It could also be enjoyed by children aged 7 or 8, even adults will find the mini-games challenging.

Exciting DS Games for Children to Play With Family and Friends

One of the fun features of the DS is that groups of people can play together. One of the easiest games for young children to enjoy playing with their siblings would be Mario Kart. A racing game, only one player needs to have the game and up to 8 players can race together using their own DS machines. This game is easy to play and there is no reading required.

Finally, Lego Star Wars must be mentioned because it is widely acclaimed as being among the best of family video games. The characters are constructed of lego. It follows the Star Wars story so the content may seem unsuitable for very young children. It is not a fast action game but combines many tasks including fighting, jumping and puzzle solving. A child of 5 or 6 should find the game easy enough to play. Written instructions are minimal. Lego Star Wars can be played by two people, they work together and have to cooperate to achieve goals.

Games for Children Aged 3, 4 or 5 to Play on DSi or DS Lite

It is not easy to choose the best game for anyone, when buying for young children find a game which has little reading requirement and read reviews by parents if possible. Good games will be enjoyable, will be played many times and could have a positive impact on child development; of course, time spent playing video games should not be unlimited.

There will be many more good DS games that have not been mentioned in this article. Games based on TV characters are not always successful, however, there are some excellent television programmes and DS games developed for this age group. Consider the games emerging from these TV shows:

  • Postman Pat,
  • Peppa Pig,
  • Fifi and the Flowertots,
  • Dora the Explorer
  • Go Diego Go
  • Wonder Pets
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Mithilesh Singh is a digital marketing consultant, blogger, and founder of Stock News Analysis