7 Educational Nintendo Switch Games That Kids Will Love

These video games encourage children to think critically, strategically, and creatively.

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big brain games
Photo: Amazon

Gaming has become a huge part of 21st-century life. The world of esports is continuously growing, with many gamers proving successful in turning their long-time passion for virtual competition into flourishing careers and sources of income. Though it can be easy to chalk children's gaming up to something that's lighthearted and only for playtime, there are potential benefits to gaming, and almost any video game will force players to think strategically and activate their problem-solving skills. If you're looking for a Nintendo Switch game for your child that incorporates more traditionally educational components, we've rounded up some of the best options.

While there may be something new to learn from any video game, some admittedly have a more overt educational purpose than others. They can help players develop new skills, interests, and knowledge that can prove useful outside of gameplay.

There are Nintendo Switch games like Game Builder Garage designed to teach players about programming, and also multiplayer brain teaser games like Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain that allow players to competitively flex their logical thinking skills among friends and family. And don't underestimate the educational power of role-playing games (RPGs). There are plenty of RPGs for the Nintendo Switch that will teach players about lifestyles that are different from their own and provide facts about different environments throughout the game. Some RPGs may also require players to manage virtual, in-game money, as well as perform other tasks that rely on everyday math skills.

Check out some of the best kid-friendly games for the Nintendo Switch with educational elements below.

Game Builder Garage

garage builder

Playing video games is fun, but learning how to make video games is fun too. Game Builder Garage has two modes: Interactive Lessons and Free Programming. In the Interactive Lessons mode, your child will follow fun, interactive lessons and learn about game design from the perspective of Nintendo game-makers. The lessons will walk your child through building seven different games (via highly visual and easy-to-follow directions), allowing them to see what the gamer sees on screen and the programmer sees behind the scenes throughout each stage of the creation process. Free Programming mode allows them to apply their new knowledge from the lesson and create games of their own. ESBR Game Rating: Everyone.

To buy: walmart.com, bestbuy.com, and amazon.com.

Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain

brain academy

This is a brain teaser game that has a multiplayer and a single-player mode. The single-player mode allows your child to practice brain teasers by themselves, while the multiplayer mode challenges friends and family to see who can correctly solve the puzzle fastest. One of the best things about this game is that you can set individual difficulty levels for the players. You can set the game to an easier mode for a young child and a more difficult model for an adult. That means people of all ages can play together and the game will be fair, making it a great game for families to learn new things together. ESBR: Everyone.

To buy: walmart.com, bestbuy.com, amazon.com.

Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics

clubhouse games

Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics allows you to play different board games, card games, and other traditional types of games virtually. As they master each game, your child will become well-versed in the strategies and principles behind them. The video game includes games popular to an array of different cultures and countries, making it a great way to combine cultural exploration, strategic thinking skills, and a fun gaming experience. Some of the games available to play are Chess, Shogi, Hanafuda, Chinese Checkers, and Hare and Hounds. ESBR: Everyone.

To buy: walmart.com, bestbuy.com, and amazon.com.

Animal Crossing: New Horizon

animal crossing

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the most popular games for the Nintendo Switch. In the game, your child will create and design their own island. As they explore the island, they'll learn about different aspects of the world through the different challenges offered in the gameplay. For instance, your child can discover insects, fish, and fossils (all of which have a real-world basis), and bring them to the island's museum. When they donate the items, the owl in charge of the museum will teach them about what they brought. Your child will also have to work to distinguish between real and counterfeit pieces when curating the museum's art gallery, so there are opportunities to learn about works of art too. ESBR: Everyone.

To buy: walmart.com, bestbuy.com, and amazon.com.

Nintendo Labo Variety Kit

nintendo labo kit

If you have a kiddo who is always creating and building something, or want to encourage them to do so, you'll want to consider Nintendo Labo Variety Kit. The kit includes five IRL, tangible cardboard toys that your child will need to construct: two remote-control cars, a fishing rod, a house, a motorbike, and a piano. Rather than following a set of paper instructions, the game will walk your child through the process of building a functional version of each toy. Once the building process is finished, real-life and virtual worlds collide as the cardboard creations are incorporated into gameplay, with each toy having its own place to hold the Nintendo Switch and its Joy-Cons. For instance, the Switch will sit above the keys on the piano, and when you press on the cardboard keys, the Switch will make music. Your child essentially helps design components for the game, making this kit great for tying STEM concepts and creative thinking into playtime. There's also a Nintendo Labo Vehicle Drive Kit, Robot Kit, and VR Kit. ESRB: Everyone 10+.

To buy: amazon.com.

Super Mario Maker 2

super mario maker

This is another game that allows your child to take on the role of game creator, though with a Super Mario-focus. Super Mario Maker 2 will have your kiddo creating side-scrolling platformers (in the traditional Super Mario style) featuring none other than Mario himself. With all the items available to use during the game-creation process, such as those classic coins, Super Leafs, and Fire Flowers, and all the different gaming concepts available for your child to tinker with, it's a great game for players to explore their own imagination. Your child can play the games they make, but they can also take on the challenge of the ready-to-play courses available in single-player Story Mode. ESBR: Everyone.

To buy: bestbuy.com and amazon.com.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe


Pikmin 3 Deluxe is a strategy and puzzle game with charming visuals. The game follows three explorers from a starving home planet who land on planet PNF-404 in hopes of finding food. In the game, your child will lead plant-like creatures called Pikmin, who will help the explorers combat enemies, explore the planet, and find food. Your child will have to work with their team of Pikmin and think creatively if they hope to overcome the obstacles they'll face on planet PNF-404. The game also offers a Story and Mission mode that allows your kiddo to play with friends, which further adds to the game's collaborative nature, teaching lessons in teamwork. ESRB: Everyone 10+.

To buy: bestbuy.com and amazon.com.

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