Holiday shopping is getting more and more difficult every year. Parents used to have to worry about “the hot toy,” but now there are so many video games released each year that it can be very confusing for parents.
The following is a list of some of our recommendations for parents who need a little bit of help to make sure they make the most of their holiday dollars.
Below will be what we consider to be the most important family friendly games available.
- Minecraft (If you are buying your child a new Non-Nintendo console this should probably be the first game you buy to go with it.)
- Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
- Skylanders: Trap Team
- Disney Infinity 2.0
- Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare
Mario Kart 8 or Super Smash Bros. For WiiU
Pokemon Alpha Sapphire or Pokemon Omega Ruby
Microsoft Xbox 360
Forza Horizons 2
Microsoft Xbox One
Forza Horizons 2
Sony PlayStation 3
Sony PlayStation 4
Sony PS Vita
Full Disclosure: We have no reviewed this game yet, but a full review is on the way!
This is an interesting strategy game that involves moving pawns around the outside of a cube. The goal is to outmaneuver your opponents as the cube rotates. You want to be the last player with a pawn on the board. This one looks interesting just for the unique game board itself.
We reviewed this one earlier this year and it is still one of the coolest learning experiences you can play with your kids. It actually manages to teach some of the basics of coding while playing a simple board game. We highly recommend it!
This strategy game intended for players six and older is simple to learn and will remain fun for a very long time. In it players place wooden tiles on a flat play area and match them up in rows by either color or shape.
There is even a travel version that is great for parents on the go (and is great for teaching colors to even younger players)!
This game is simple, inexpensive, and portable. Oh! And your Preschooler has a decent shot at beating you in it.
This was one of the first board games we reviewed. It is among the best family games on the market. If your family has been entertaining the idea of starting a family game night, then this is, bar none, the best game to start with.
Most board games that families are used to playing are competitive. Forbidden Island bucks that trend by being a perfect entry point into the realm of cooperative gaming.
Minecraft is a phenomenon. It has been described as “digital LEGOs” since it arrived on the scene. It actually stunned me that it took so long for LEGO to actually get in on the action. There are tons of different sets out there.
I know the stereotype is that kids hate to be given clothes for presents, but this hoodie from ThinkGeek might just fix that.
There is a ton of Minecraft merch out there and I dug through a lot of it to make this list. I don’t know why but something about these really sung to me. Nothing screams “perfect gift” than something that will result in lots of little magnet squares attached to the fridge. This is probably most Mom’s personal nightmare right? Aunts and Uncles looking for vengeance gifts take note. (Full disclosure: My wife made me add that last bit since she basically hates these things.)
The various Minecraft handbooks are a great way to encourage kids to get excited about reading by engaging with Minecraft while they aren’t at the keyboard. The information in these books is very useful. Some of the details will likely be out of date relatively quickly as the game is patched, but the theory will be useful.
Miscellaneous Gaming Gifts
No one should call this a knockoff. The LeapTV won’t be able to unseat any of the big name consoles, but its games are guaranteed to be child appropriate.
This may be a great option for households with a significant separation between older and younger siblings. This would be one way to keep the younger sibling away from a teenagers games.
The Bag of Holding (ThinkGeek.com) – $59.99
If you get this reference… you will want to buy this thing.
Parents: It’s ok if you don’t get this reference. This will be hysterical to your son or daughter if they play Dungeons and Dragons. Trust me.