We recently put together a list of easy games for 5 year olds, which inspired us to do the same for another frequently asked question: what are the best Nintendo Switch games for a 7 year old?
As you might expect, there’s going to be a fair amount of overlap between these two lists, mostly because several of these games work incredibly well across many different age groups.
The biggest separating factor between this and the previous list, however, is that Switch games that are better for 7 year olds are going to be a bit more complex or challenging in nature, or will at least offer a higher skill ceiling that will allow the player to progress over time and feel the joy of accomplishment and self-improvement.
None of these games feature what we would consider to be inappropriate content for children.
But they do still manage to offer challenges and healthy stimulation for young players.
That said, no one understands your child better than you do, so please take these suggestions with a grain of salt.
Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Once again, here we have Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, one of the best darn kart racing games out there.
In our list for easy games for 5 year olds, we talked up the value of the auto steering feature, and depending on the 7 year old in question, this feature can still be a great help, but if your child has excellent coordination and wants more of a challenge, Mario Kart 8 can provide it.
With a number of different racing speeds and item modes (items can even be turned off completely in Versus mode), there’s plenty of potential challenge to go around here.
The Time Trial mode even lets players race alone on each track to get the best time. They can also enable optional ghosts of their own previous runs or those of online players.
Kids can play the multiplayer modes with friends offline or online, and overall, it’s just wholesome entertainment.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
We went back and forth on whether to include Animal Crossing: New Horizons on our list of the best Nintendo Switch games for a 7 year old.
On the one hand, it does have a variety of systems that can be a bit difficult to understand at first, especially when they’re not explained completely by the game itself.
But on the other hand, the Animal Crossing series has become so well-known for offering an immense sense of calm and stress-free fun.
Yes, in-game debt is imposed on the player, quite a lot if they choose to upgrade their house, but there are no time limits here.
Everything can be done at the player’s own pace or not at all, which helps this game become a highly personalized experience.
The player can choose their own priorities and simply do what they enjoy the most.
That said, one somewhat serious issue with recommending this game for younger players, or really for anyone, is that the world of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is so engrossing that it can become all too easy to get sucked in and play for hours and hours on end.
Mario Golf: Super Rush
At the time of publishing, Mario Golf: Super Rush is a relatively new release for the Switch, and we think it’s an excellent choice for 7 year old players.
It’s a golf game, so you already know more or less what to expect.
Yes, this particular entry into the Mario Golf series has a few new twists and modes, but if anything, they just make the game more fast-paced and interesting, which is very important for younger players who might otherwise have a hard time concentrating for extended periods of time.
Since the game is still quite new, expect to pay close to retail price for it, though it will likely go on sale closer to the holidays.
Super Mario Party
Mario Party is another incredibly famous Nintendo franchise, and Super Mario Party for the Switch is, by all accounts, a pretty decent entry.
The focus here is on board game-style play with friends or CPUs (CPU difficulty can be adjusted).
At the end of each turn, all players compete in one of dozens of minigames, which end up being the real highlight of the game.
Just keep in mind that Super Mario Party works best with the original version of the Switch, the one with detachable Joy-Con controllers, as each player needs their own Joy-Con to participate.
Part Time UFO (Download Only)
Part Time UFO is, as the name suggests, an adorable little game about a tiny UFO that takes part-time item-stacking jobs to help pay the bills and purchase cute cosmetic items.
This is a download only game, meaning you shouldn’t go looking for a physical boxed copy in a store.
It’s also one of the least expensive games on our list, at a retail price of just $9 US.
It’s basically a series of crane game levels with creative premises and special challenge requests.
This is just a fun game with a lovely visual style and peppy, upbeat music. It’s really hard to go wrong with this one.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
This is a new version of a game from the Wii U.
As part of the 3D Mario series, Nintendo really made this game shine with creative levels, fun visuals, and a whole heaping helping of content, especially since this version includes a whole new gameplay story called Bowser’s Fury.
It’s a platformer at heart, so expect to be doing a lot of running and jumping before you reach the end.
As for difficulty, most of the game is incredibly easy for adult players, but if things are getting too tough for a younger player, they can also select one of the slower characters, like Peach, to make each level much easier to navigate.
This is another game that’s squeaky clean and just stuffed with quality.
Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee!
These games (sold as two separate games, but are really just one game with minor changes between the two) are 3D remakes of the very first generation of games in the Pokémon series, for the GameBoy and GameBoy Color back in the 1990s.
Specifically, they imitate the style of Pokémon Yellow, which gave the player a Pikachu as a starter Pokémon who followed the character around on the overworld.
In this game, the player is given either an Eevee or Pikachu to start out with, depending on which version of the game was purchased, and later on, any Pokémon they catch can follow them around.
There are even some Pokémon that the player can ride around on!
Ultimately, it’s a Pokémon game. It’s relatively easy to play through, even for younger players, and if a challenge is too tough, the player can simply grind (practice and gain experience) until their character and their Pokémon are much stronger.
However, we do not recommend playing this game in docked mode (i.e. connected to the TV), as the game requires players to use motion controls in this mode.
These motion controls were poorly thought-out and are genuinely difficult to use, even for adults.
But outside of that, this is a fun and easy game for younger players.
holedown (Download Only)
Unlike many of the other games on this list, holedown is a relatively low-budget game, one not associated directly with a major video game studio or publisher.
In the gaming world, we call these indie games, and holedown is an indie gem.
Originally a paid mobile game, holedown feels similar to classic puzzle and arcade games like Tetris and Breakout, but with a twist.
The player chooses a direction in which to fire a series of tiny balls that bounce off numbered bricks. When the bricks reach zero, they disappear, sometimes taking other bricks with them.
It’s definitely a game that’s easier to play than it is to talk about.
With a variety of levels, powerups, and even an infinite mode, holedown is a delightful game for players of all ages.
And like Part Time UFO, it doesn’t cost much at all.
Donut County (Download Only)
As the last entry on the list, Donut County is another indie game that has become incredibly popular among players.
Created by developer Ben Esposito, Donut County is about a wide-ranging raccoon conspiracy that delivers holes in the ground instead of delicious donuts.
The big problem here is that these holes swallow an entire town (a cartoony version of Los Angeles, to be exact).
Clearly inspired by games like Katamari Damacy, the player controls a hole in the ground that grows larger as it swallows objects and characters.
It may sound a bit dark, but this is also one of the funniest games on the list.
Donut County even has a storyline with some great character dialogue, and it’s all completely clean, except maybe for a visual gag about bunnies and their offspring.
This game does technically have a physical edition, but it’s much, much more expensive than the download version, so we recommend going with that instead.
Why We Didn’t Include Fortnite
Even if you’re not into gaming, you might already be familiar with Fortnite.
Fortnite is definitely one of the most popular games in the world right now, and a huge part of its player base is young kids, roughly between the ages of 7 and 16.
In terms of content, it is technically appropriate for children, even though it involves shooting other players.
But we very intentionally didn’t include it in our list of the best Switch games for 7 year olds, and that’s because of the in-game economy.
This is a very large subject, but free-to-play games actually make their money from what are called microtransactions, which are small purchases of in-game items such as season passes (which unlock a range of content for a certain period of time) and cosmetic items for the player’s custom character.
It’s possible for microtransactions to be implemented in an ethical way, but they’re often not, resulting in in-game economies that are massively profitable for the companies running the, but which are detrimental for players, especially for younger players and those susceptible to addiction.
In fact, certain younger players have been found to bully other kids at school because they only used default items that weren’t paid for, rather than paying real-world money for a virtual character outfit.
We don’t want to support these types of games, and so Fortnite has been excluded from our list.