The iPhone and Android aren’t short on quality games for kids. Yes, even though gaming has become an increasingly “mature” pastime in recent years, it still produces plenty of titles to keep children of all ages entertained. In this article, we run through the best free games for kids on Android and iPhone. From educational titles to games that are simply fun to play, you’ll be sure to find the right free kids games for your little ones, regardless of their ages.
However, before we begin, it’s worth saying something about in-app purchases. While all of the 12 games on this list are free to download and play, some include in-app purchases. Basically, some games present players with the option to buy in-game items (e.g. clothing or “skins” for game characters) for real-world money. As such, you might want to also look at our guides on turning off in-app purchases for Android and iPhone/iPad.
Preschool children (age 2-5)
Funny Balloon is a visual learning game split into four sections. In the first section, the titular “Funny Balloon” gives children a lesson on 12 everyday colors, explaining where they’re likely to encounter such colors in nature. Afterward, kids play three mini-games that help to reinforce what they’ve just learned. Similarly, the other three sections of the free kids game go through similar processes, challenging children to paint and color pictures and to assemble jigsaw puzzles. The app hits the right balance between learning and fun, giving children the chance to develop their skills without making things seem like a chore.
Dirty Farm is an easy-going free game for younger kids that has players looking after animals on a farm. It consists of a series of mini-games in which you wash pigs, brush horses’ teeth, feed rabbits, and tend to an assortment of other farm animals. In contrast to certain other games, it runs at a calmer, more sedate pace, making it a nice wind-down game. It also teaches kids a little about how farms are run and how animals need to be looked after, without seeming too much like work or education.
Toddler Games by Bimi Boo Kids
Bimi Boo Kids produce a range of games for older children and even for babies, yet it’s Toddler Gamers that is probably their best. This is a collection of 15 mini-games that teach children a range of skills, from sorting objects by colors and shapes to remembering patterns and counting numbers. Each game is logic-based and encourages rational thinking, but at the same time, the cartoony graphics make them enjoyable for younger children. The game is free to download and play, although some mini-games need to be unlocked by paying $4 for the full version.
Younger children (age 6-9)
PBS Kids Games
Want more than one free kids game but don’t want to download multiple apps? Then PBS Kids Games is the game for you. It features more than 100 free games that give kids the chance to play with some of the most beloved characters from children’s literature, including Sesame Street, Arthur, and The Cat in the Hat. Most of the games are educational in nature, encouraging children to count as they prepare pizzas, spell as they play whack-a-mole, and so on. Unlike some of the other games on this list, PBS Kids Games features no ads and offers no in-app purchases.
My Talking Tom 2
Is your child begging you to get a cat? Well, My Talking Tom 2 is a free game for kids that offers the next best thing. It lets players look after the titular Tom, feeding him, washing him, taking him to the toilet, and putting him to bed. In between such excitement you can play a variety of fun mini-games. You can also travel to different worlds, collecting items to dress Tom or decorate his house. All in all, My Talking Tom 2 is a game kids are sure to enjoy. However, bear in mind that the game offers monthly or daily subscriptions as optional extras, so switch off in-app purchases (see above) beforehand if you don’t want your child accidentally charging you $6 per month.
Fishdom is a lovely free game for kids that lets you build the aquarium of your dreams. It combines a solid match-three puzzle game with an advanced fish-tank simulator, rewarding players with new fish and decorations for their aquarium as they complete puzzle levels. The graphics are invitingly vivid and stylized, giving your fish a Disney-like appearance that will appeal to younger children. Most importantly, the game lets players feed and take care of their fish, each of which have different personalities. On top of this, you can also play with Facebook friends.
Want to get your kids interested in cooking? The Cook may be one of the best ways of doing this. As the name suggests, it’s a cookery simulator that tasks players with preparing dishes. At the beginning of each level, you receive a recipe and a batch of ingredients. You then have to go about cooking your dish, with customers at your restaurant complaining or asking for changes if your food isn’t to their liking. It can sometimes get bogged down with too many ads, but you can prevent these by turning off your Wi-Fi after downloading the game.
Hide ‘N Seek
Kids have always loved hide and seek, but they may not always be able to go out and actually play it. Fortunately, Hide ‘N Seek is a free game for kids for Android and iPhone that lets them recreate the thrill of the classic game. It lets you play as either the hider or the seeker. As a hider, you’re able to build hiding places using cars and desks, while also hiding underwater and even pushing other hiders into the seeker’s field of vision. The game benefits from a beautifully streamlined design, and most importantly, it really does reproduce the adrenaline rush of hiding from others.
Older children (age 10+)
Llama Spit Spit
Based on Nickelodeon’s Game Shakers TV show, Llama Spit Spit is a suitably zany game in which, as the name suggests, you play a llama who spits at people. It sounds silly, and you’d be right, but the game offers enough depth and intuitive simplicity to keep kids hooked. Basically, the game is vertically scrolling shoot-em-up, in which you have to avoid hazards and strange characters (such as the “Clamburglar”), while defeating “hipster bosses” and other madcap villains along the way. You can collect a variety of power-ups and costumers as you play, giving the game enough longevity to keep even older children interested. As an added bonus, it features no in-app purchases.
At one point in time, Pokémon Go was the most popular game for Android and iPhone. It’s still very popular, and for good reason. While most video games are designed for home play, Pokémon Go encourages players to get active and explore the world around them. It’s an augmented reality game, with the game world of collectible Pokémon laid over the world as seen through your smartphone screen. For this reason, it’s an almost perfect excuse to get kids out of the house and to get them moving. That said, it will require you to have a reliable cellular connection to play while outside.
Crossy Road is a free kids game that updates the classic Frogger format. You control a range of characters, from tiny chickens to baseball players, all of whom are trying to cross the road. Yes, that sounds simple, and it has been done before, but Crossy Road adds heaps of charm and surprises. First of all, the game features a Minecraft-style blocky graphical style. Secondly, its road environments are full of unexpected and challenging obstacles, from high-speed trains to hungry eagles. It will entertain younger children and more experienced older kids alike, with the inclusion of over 150 playable characters adding plenty of longevity.
Toca Life World
Developer Toca Boca makes a variety of very good free kids games for Android and iPhone, yet Toca Life World is one of the most open-ended and creative. It’s basically a big sandbox game for kids, meaning that your children can build and explore their own cities. Not only that, but they can create their own characters to populate each city, while also making stories for their characters to play through. It’s a game that encourages creativity and imagination, while it also integrates with other games in the Toca series, allowing players to transfer locations and characters into Toca Life World. Be warned though, because it does feature a fairly large number of in-app purchases, so make sure you have these restricted beforehand if you don’t want your kids buying anything without your knowing.