Out of all the gaming consoles, the Nintendo Switch is definitely the most family-friendly. Sure there are games on other consoles the whole family can play, but the Switch probably has the biggest and best selection.
If you are looking at getting your family a Switch for the holidays, I have one recommendation. Unless you already have a standard Switch, don’t get them the Switch Lite. There are some limitations with the Switch Lite that you may want to be aware of.
First, the Switch Lite does not connect to a TV like the regular Switch does. So in this sense, it works more like a regular handheld gaming system similar to a Nintendo DS. This doesn’t let the kids really play together if that is the only console you have. The other main limitation is the controllers don’t remove from the console like they do with the regular Switch.
However, if you already have a Switch, and you want to get a second one for your children to play certain games together like Splatoon, getting a Switch Lite is a great solution.
The Nintendo Switch has so many games to choose from and a huge portion of the games available for the Switch are family-friendly. When in doubt, if it says Mario in the title, it will likely be super fun for the kids to play, and definitely appropriate. Make sure you pay attention to the ESRB ratings so you don’t end up with a game that your child will have a difficult time playing or might contain inappropriate content.
I have been playing Mario Party probably since before I even had children. It is a really fun game. It is set up like a board game where you roll the dice and move to different spaces. The object of the game is to get as many “Stars” as possible.
During the course of the game after everyone has landed on their spaces, there will be a mini-game where you compete against the other players. Winning these mini-games can get you coins, which can get you more stars.
The mini-games are really fun and include things like blowing up a balloon as fast as you can or climbing up a beanstalk. Based on the spaces you land on, you could be playing 1 vs the rest, 2 on 2 or just every man for himself. It’s great that the teams keep changing up so you can learn to work with different members of your family.
I’m going to just say, most of my picks are Mario related. They just know how to make really fun entertaining games the whole family can enjoy! Mario Kart is basically just a racing game. The courses are bright and fun and have different kinds of challenges.
When I was younger I loved to play the “Rainbow Road” course, which was one of the most complicated ones at the time. I liked how it didn’t have a ton of sharp curves but was still challenging. What is really fun is to see which courses become your kid’s favorites to race on!
Throughout the game, there are “power-ups” to help you gain an advantage in the game and various obstacles to get around. You can even find some secret paths and shortcuts to help you get to the finish line FIRST!
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games
Being the HUGE Olympics fan that I am, I had to include this game. We just love playing this one as a family or individually. My daughter even wrote up a whole review of the new Tokyo Olympics game.
The game includes all the favorite events like gymnastics and swimming, but the adds some fantasy games as well. Check out our full review of the game for more info!
1 2 Switch
I know you are like… FINALLY not a Mario game! 1 2 Switch is a game chock full of mini-games. These mini-games use the joycon’s (Nintendo’s controllers) in fun and unique ways. Like trying to shave your face or putting a baby to sleep.
You can check out the fun gameplay here
Super Smash Bros
This game is rated for Everyone 10+ by the ESRB, so it might not be great for the really little kids. Super Smash Bros does have some cartoon violence, which is why it has a higher rating. Having said that, the game is REALLY fun.
It’s just like an old school fighting game where the last man standing wins! There are fun Nintendo characters, and even more that you can unlock. My kids prefer the Pokemon characters, but it’s a great mashup of all of the favorites from across the platform.
Even if you aren’t that great at video games, a good button mashing can get you pretty far in this game!
If you are purchasing a new Switch this year for your family to enjoy, maybe pick up one of these games and have a really fun family game night. Don’t forget that you can set up parental controls right from your phone with an official Parental Control app from Nintendo! Happy Gaming!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.
Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com