What could be the best gaming console for 3 year old kids?
It’s a rather complicated question! Kids at this age should be encouraged to play outdoors. But assuming you are doing so, an hour or two of gaming on certain occasions could do no harm at all.
We chose the gaming consoles carefully analyzing all of their capabilities. For kids at this age, you want a console that is easy to use, doesn’t have complicated features and has great child-friendly games free from violence.
Keeping these factors in mind, we think these 10 gaming consoles should be safe and enjoyable for your toddler!
|Nintendo Switch Lite|
|Nintendo Wii U Mario Kart 8|
|Nintendo DSi XL Bronze|
10 Best Gaming Console for 3-Year-Old 2021
Click a link below to jump to the relevant section
- 1.Nintendo Switch
- 2.Nintendo Switch Lite
- 3.Beico Handheld Games
- 4.KIDWILL Handheld Game Console
- 5.Nintendo Wii U 32GB Mario Kart 8
- 6.Nintendo DSi XL Bronze
- 7.Douddy Handheld Games
- 8.HAIHUANG Handheld Game Console
- 9.weikin Handheld Game Console
- 10.Easegmar Game Console
- Things to consider before buying a gaming console for a 3 year old
- Conclusion & Editor’s Choice
The Nintendo Switch is one of the best selling gaming consoles ever! It’s release in 2017 has appealed to people of all ages from kids to adults. For a 3 year old, it could be a bit overwhelming but the good thing is it will grow with your kid with lots of awesome games in the library.
The Switch consists of two controllers with a screen that you can attach with a base dock. The screen is 6.2-in and when handheld plays games at 720p. Not bad at all considering the mobility. Well of course, you can play games at 1080p when you connect to the TV using the HDMI.
Attaching and detaching the Joycon controllers are easy even for a 3 year old. And the space inside an individual controller is cramped (not so good for adults, great for kids). On a long term use, we found that the controllers can become a bit loose, but it won’t be an issue for gaming.
As a parent, you will be happy to know that the console doesn’t have internet browsing or video streaming features. Might be an issue for others, but blessing for you as parents of a 3 year old kid.
Games on this platform are mostly kid-friendly, light and are focused on fun. Just add an SD card and pack it up with Super Mario games. If you have a large family where everyone wants to play, this console can support 8 multiplayers at a time!! Why should your kid have all the fun?
2.Nintendo Switch Lite
The Switch Lite is a spin-off version of the original Nintendo Switch. It’s better in many ways and has some flaws that aren’t deal-breakers! The handheld design is what makes it the best gaming console for 3 year old kids and that’s a fact.
When you first look at this device, you are bound to fall in love! The matte texture adds in a bit of elegance, grip and protection against swears from sweaty hands.
The switch lite has a weight of just 0.61 lbs, which is a reason why it’s perfect for kids. It has a slightly smaller screen of 5.5-in. It will fit easily inside regular pockets. But don’t underestimate it, you can still view games just like the original version!
The controller is built together with the screen. But does that pose issues? We don’t think so. In fact, the face buttons are pushed in a little bit and makes playing games more comfortable.
There’s a few things you need to consider. You can’t connect this device to the TV nor it comes with a kickstand to prop up the screen. Games that require the Joy-Con controllers aren’t unplayable. As the target user in this case is a kid, the only thing matters is the compact size and lightweight design!! Highly recommended.
3.Beico Handheld Games
Beico is all about vibrant colors and classic retro games! The console has an interesting design that makes it stand out from other similar retro gaming models. In short, it could be the best gaming console to buy for a 3 year old kid who wants to have a good time when playing outdoors isn’t an option.
The positioning of the D-pad and other buttons makes it easier for a toddler to learn playing. It comes with pre-built 218 games that are suitable for children of this age. There’s a good chance you as a parent might have a go at it once in a while.
The console comes in 3 colors- blue, green and red. There’s a reason why the colors are so saturated. It becomes easier for your child to find the console among his other toys!
You have 3 options to run this console. You can either recharge the lithium battery or just plug and play with an USB cable or use AAA batteries. The battery has enough life in it to last a couple of gaming sessions.
One of the annoying things we found was the start screen doesn’t take you directly to the game list. You need to click a bunch of other options before that. So, just go through that before you handover the console to your child.
4.KIDWILL Handheld Game Console
Kidwill is one of the most compact and lightweight handheld gaming consoles to play retro games. Your kid will enjoy every moment of it as the games included are intuitive and super fun.
This console has a circular D-pad instead of the standard D-pad. Technically, that’s not an issue. However, it will take some time to figure out the right spot on the circle. With that being said, the controls are responsive and will make playing easier.
The 3-in screen should be good enough for toddlers. You also have the option to plug it into a TV and play with your kid using a gamepad. The quality on the screen is the best, but you can live with that.
It comes with an 800 mAh battery that can last up to 6 hours. In total, there are 500 games on this console that includes hits like super panda and super contra. The games play smoothly without any stutter and that’s what you want from a gaming console.
5.Nintendo Wii U 32GB Mario Kart 8
The Wii U is a better upgrade to the original Wii. What makes it irresistible is the option to play handheld using the gamepad and play it from the TV screen. It can easily fit into a family with toddlers and adults all waiting to have a go!
The gamepad screen has a resolution of 854×480 and 16:9 display. It’s not the most desirable, but for kids it’s more than enough. The best thing is images are clear and crisp and make the games look surprisingly good. We loved the gamepad because of its durability and build quality.
The console for the Wii U is quite large and can be a bit difficult to slide next to your TV. But it’s not a deal-breaker. Accessing the interface is effortless and takes just 30 seconds to enter into Wii U mode from standby mode. As the online communication and social interaction is kept limited on this console, it’s great for small children!
Despite the gamepad being thick and long, it weighs only a pound. Kids will find it a lot easier to control and play games for a while. There’s a plethora of child-friendly games on this platform that could be downloaded from the Wii U shop and stored on SD card or USB drives.
6.Nintendo DSi XL Bronze
If you consider mobility, the Nintendo DSi XL is here for you. It lacks some of the bells and whistles available on the Switch, but it’s still super fun and convenient.
This particular DSi XL is a refurbished product but it’s guaranteed to work like a fresh version. It’s virtually indistinguishable from a new console. The 4.2-in screen with a 256×192 resolution could be a bit downgraded compared to other gaming consoles, but when you consider mobility, it’s pretty acceptable
It boasts a pen-like stylus for different applications and web browsing. Though not something a kid would find handy, adults will love this extra feature. The size of the console isn’t too small for adults and not too big for kids.
With the console, you will get a few learning games and Super Mario game. The games are lighthearted and entertaining enough for most people, children or adults. Is the best handheld gaming console ever? You will know when you will buy it!
7.Douddy Handheld Games
Douddy can run 16-bit games, which means the visuals will be better than consoles that run 8-bit games. This console is made specifically for children as the color, shape, weight and layout of the buttons are kid-friendly.
It comes with 220 games all preloaded and you don’t need to download anything at all. It has a good mix of fun & educational games that can increase your child’s cognitive abilities. From this point of view, we think Douddy is the best handheld gaming console you can buy for a 3 year old kid.
The 3-in screen isn’t the largest. However, a smaller screen means less light, which is helpful for a toddler. The buttons are perfectly placed so that the small fingers of a toddler won’t stress out. As for power supply, you can either recharge it, plug and play or use AAA batteries.
8.HAIHUANG Handheld Game Console
Haihuang game consoles come with smart design features. Their consoles look professional and don’t have that toy-like appearance. For a 3 year old, it won’t matter much. But assuming you will join the party too, this could be a deal maker on its own.
We loved the larger 4.3-in screen of Haihuang as it can enhance gameplay. The best part is there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack which is not common in such retro gaming consoles. Apart from that, the built-in speakers perform quite well and give you clear audio. If you think the sound is too much for your toddler, just use the volume controller to minimize it.
You will have access to 3000 pre installed games from various retro gaming series. If that’s not enough, you can download and play games even. Despite the fact that the console is targeted towards adults, there’s no violent games other than a few wrestling games. So, toddlers will find the games easy to play.
It has a 1000 mAh battery which means more than 8 hours of game play on a single charge. For a toddler that will be equivalent to 2-3 days of game play. The console also supports text and image files. You can use this feature to teach your child a lot of educational stuff.
9.weikin Handheld Game Console
Weikin doesn’t have a huge collection of games like the others we reviewed. But its simple design and ease of use makes it one of the best gaming consoles for 3 year old kid.
The console comes with a gamepad that you can connect to play multiplayer games. And..yes also connect to the TV to enjoy playing on a larger screen. Just make sure that the console is not plugged into the power supply when you are using it as it might not function properly.
As you might know that many of the games repeat in consoles that provide 500+ games. Weikin’s 168 games don’t repeat, which means you get to 168 unique games that include genres like arcade, sports and puzzle.
You can get a good 8 hours on a single charge from this console. The only issue we found was there’s no way to know if the battery is fully charged. But you can certainly tell when the device is going to be dead as the screen will get darker.
10.Easegmar Game Console
Just from the look of it you will know that Easegmar is a child-friendly gaming console. It’s got a nice ergonomic shape to easily hold it in hands and a lightweight body to eliminate stress.
This console has only 42 games in total. But the good news is it’s 16 bit. So, it provides a better gaming experience altogether. That should be enough to compensate for the low number of games.
If you want to monitor your kid better and know which games he is playing, you can connect the console to a TV with the AV output cable. Besides, on handheld mode, it can run up to 5 hours on a single charge.
The built-in sound isn’t bad and will work for kids of this age. Additionally, you have the option to use a headphone via the 2.88mm jack. There’s no option to adjust the brightness in this console, which would have been a nice inclusion. So, you should limit the game time to 20-30 minutes in a single session.
Things to consider before buying a gaming console for a 3 year old
1. Types and numbers of games available
The market is flooded with gaming consoles ranging from the most advanced PS5 to non-technical consoles that play retro games only. For a 3 year old, we recommend choosing a console with retro games only.
Within this game type there are lots of genres from adventure to arcade and other educational games. Most of these consoles come with pre-built games and so you won’t have to spend extra.
However, with consoles like the Nintendo Switch, you will have to buy separate games. The tradeoff is you can choose the games that will suit your kid.
2. Device capability
Considering the age, a high-capability device will be an overkill. An 8-bit game console should be good enough for most preschoolers. So, you are basically looking at 2D games from the 90s like the super mario, Contra, street fighter and stuff like that.
Some devices like the Douddy handheld console can run 16-bit games which provide slightly better visuals. For even better visuals and game capabilities, The Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite are best. Games are played at 720p in the handheld version and can offer a better gaming experience. This is more practical when other members of the families want to have fun too.
As you can see all the devices we reviewed comes in handheld versions. So, they are highly portable. 3-year-olds kids don’t remain in one place for too long. With a stationary gaming console like Xbox or Playstation, your kid will have to stay seated for a long time and which we don’t encourage
With a portable gaming console, they can roam around freely and play when they want. The other real advantage is it doesn’t consume a dedicated space at your home as you don’t need to keep it plugged-in. With so much stuff to accommodate, the last thing you want is a large console lying around and only being used for an hour at most a day.
4. Console size
The console size matters. As these are handheld gaming consoles, you will need to figure out whether it will fit in the little hands of your kid.
Devices like the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, KidWill and Weikin are super small and a 3 year old can easily grasp it with both hands.
You also need to consider the weight. 30-40 minutes of holding a heavy console can become too stressful for toddlers. But the good thing is most of these devices are lightweight and child-friendly.
5. Single player gaming or multiplayer gaming
While most gaming consoles for kids are made in single player version. But there are a few of them that you can connect to a TV and play along with your kid.
The best of them is the Nintendo Switch. It has two controllers and the console can be connected to the TV to enjoy multiplayer games. The Kidwill and Weikin are other devices with similar capabilities but don’t have awesome controllers like that of the Switch.
6. Volume control & headphone jack
It’s always nice to have a volume control option on any type of media device. Sadly, not a lot of handheld gaming consoles have this capability. You have this option in Haihuang and a few other consoles. Haihuang along with Easegmar also supports a headphone jack. But we don’t recommend using a headphone for 3 year olds as this could damage the years with long term use.
Conclusion & Editor’s Choice
If you want the maximum value for money, the Nintendo Switch can be the best gaming console for 3 year olds. Even when your kid becomes an adult, the games will still be appealing.
The coolest thing is it can turn your home into a carnival with lots of people playing together at the same time. Just plug it into the TV and let every family member enjoy his share of happiness and fun. The Joy con controllers offer mobility, while the ability to run it on TV makes it a super versatile gaming console.
Always monitor your kid’s gaming session and the games he plays. Encourage outdoor games more than virtual games. These gaming consoles should be the last resort for fun when playing outside isn’t convenient or your kid is bored at night.