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Get Children Taking
(Healthy) Risks
 

Studies show that for inhabitants of the Western world, life in the modern age has gotten progressively less dangerous and more comfortable with each passing generation. So why as parents do we all seem so afraid for our children? And how do we overcome this fear and let our kids take the necessary risks they need to take in order to thrive?

This is a list of games we have created with Digital Media Wellness Educator, Julia Storm, who founded ReConnect with the mission of providing parents with a whole child approach to preparing kids for life in the Digital Age.

We are used to encouraging our children to take small risks in most areas of life; talking to a new child at school, trying out for a team or the school play, climbing a bit higher at the playground or walking to the market on their own for the first time. With every risk our children take, they gain confidence in their own ability to navigate the unknown and push themselves through difficulties.

But many of our kids also spend large amounts of time online and specifically playing video games. In this space, with horror stories in the press, both parents and children can become risk-averse. This can mean that children don’t have a chance to make healthy mistakes in safe ways in this part of life.

There’s an opportunity here for parents to leverage video games to help kids take safe risks and to learn and grow from these risks. This isn’t about using games as a safe version of risk-taking in real life, but discovering how they can be a wonderful complement to this. (We also want to note, as with all multiplayer games, parents should be sure to talk to their children about best practices for staying safe when it comes to communicating with strangers online._

Collaboration: This might be working with another child in Minecraft to build something together. Or maybe playing Animal Crossing with someone who is new to the game and needs help. Or even, just allowing other players to help you in a game like Farm Together.

  • Generosity: This might be giving new players items they need to get started in a game like Adopt Me. It could be sharing some candles in Sky Children of Light. Or maybe it’s just letting a new player get a win in Drink More Glurp. This might be playing a game where you are rescuing another character, like Ico.
  • Ambition: This might be trying to play a game that seems too difficult, like Stormworks or Rocket League. It could be trying out a more mature game with a parent, like Spider-Man or Horizon Zero Dawn. It could be teaming up with friends for large challenges in Sea of Thieves or Dauntless. Or maybe dealing with real physics in Teardown or Noita.
  • Identity: This might be working out mental health scenarios in a game like Psychonauts 2. It could be learning to help others with their fears and anxiety in Rainbow Billy. Or maybe playing a game like Celeste that creates space to consider gender and self-doubt.

Playing these games with your child offers a unique way to start open and curious conversations about technology while they are still young and receptive. They are an opportunity for parents to be allies and mentors, not adversaries and monitors.
 
This list includes 45 games from the last 34 years, with 2,276 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to .

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Stormworks: Build and Rescue

Release Date: 28/02/2018

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks, Open World, Persistant World and Weather

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Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Release Date: 12/11/2020, updated in 2022

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Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is an action-adventure game based on the Marvel Comics superhero Miles Morales. It is similar to the first Marvel's Spider-Man game in mechanics although Miles Morales extends this...

Teardown

Release Date: 29/10/2020, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Teardown is a creative traversal game where you plan and execute a heist in fully destructible environments. Play involves knocking routes through the destructible buildings to set an escape route to steal the key cards. It’s an unusual game because...

Sea of Thieves

Release Date: 20/03/2018, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

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Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather

Sea of Thieves is an online game where you play a pirate searching for treasure and adventure. Cast into a large open sea you work with other online players to crew your ship and find treasure. The game has a main story but really focuses on creating...

Rocket League

Release Date: 28/08/2018

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Rocket League is a sports action game where you drive futuristic cars to score goals with an oversized football. It's a game that sounds ridiculous but is actually a huge amount of fun to play and requires a lot of expertise. What's not obvious from the...

Horizon Zero Dawn

Release Date: 01/03/2017

Out Now: PC and PS4

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Horizon Zero Dawn is a post-apocalyptic action adventure where you explore an overgrown landscape with now-crumbling remnants of modern life. Play involves exploring the world, learning your new abilities as the story unfolds and using them to defeat...

Knights And Bikes!

Release Date: 26/08/2019, updated in 2020

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made

Knights And Bikes! is a hand-painted adventure in a fictional late-eighties British Isles. You work together as Nessa and Demelza who explore its coast on bikes to find treasure, mystery and trouble. There’s fighting with frisbees, water balloons,...

Celeste

Release Date: 23/01/2018, updated in 2023

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Celeste is a platform game that requires players to use jumping and climbing moves to ascend an increasingly challenging two-dimensional mountain. You play Madeline, who is haunted by self-doubt at the scale of the task at hand. She presses on but is...

Drink More Glurp

Release Date: 06/08/2020

Out Now: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Drink More Glurp is a wacky sports game where you take turns to play athletic challenges. The twist is that you have to control your over-long arms with a separate joystick and your body is a wheel you can roll along on if you lift your arms right up...

Ico

Release Date: 24/09/2001, updated in 2011

Out Now: PS2 and PS3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Ico is a running, jumping and exploring game where you rescue a princess from her evil mother. You take her hand to help her escape, guiding her along the pathways and protecting her from the hordes of enemies. Together, you jump chasms and scale walls...

Baldur's Gate 3

Release Date: 21/12/1998, updated in 2023

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Dice and Open World

Baldur's Gate 3 is a role-playing game that recreates the Dungeons & Dragons experience in a digital world. You explore the world and fight enemies by rolling dice and weighing up your stats to see what happens. But...

Thirsty Suitors

Release Date: 02/11/2023

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Thirsty Suitors is a narrative action game where you play Jala, back in her home town of Timber Hills to confront mistakes, make up with exes and reconcile cultural differences with her parents. Play involves talking to your parents and old friends,...

The Pale Beyond

Release Date: 24/02/2023

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, 2D Side-On and Day and Night

The Pale Beyond is a narrative simulation game where you captain an exploration ship stranded in the frozen Antarctic waters. You carefully manage and gather resources and keep your crew in good health to hopefully survive until the summer. It stands...

Psychonauts 2

Release Date: 25/08/2021

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Dice and Hand-Made

Psychonauts 2 is a running, jumping and puzzle-solving game where you play Raz who has psychic abilities that let him delve into the minds of others. In the game, you control Raz as he enters their mental worlds and uses other Psi-Powers (telekinesis,...

Dome Keeper

Release Date: 27/09/2022

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

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Adopt Me! (Roblox)

Release Date: 14/07/2017

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World

Adopt Me! is one of the most popular Roblox games. In a rudimentary way, it simulates daily life. You can build a home, look after pets and make friends. Like many Roblox games, it's the combination of an avid community of players...

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach

Release Date: 16/12/2021, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Day and Night

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Sky Children of the Light

Release Date: 18/07/2019

Out Now: Android, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Open World and Persistant World

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Dauntless

Release Date: 21/05/2019

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World

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BeamNG

Release Date: 29/05/2015, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

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Release Date: 03/02/2017, updated in 2023

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

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Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Weather

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Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cards

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Noita

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Out Now: PC

Components: 2D Side-On, Open World and Pixels

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Dustborn

Release Date: Coming soon

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Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Dice

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Fire Emblem Engage (Series)

Release Date: 20/04/1990, updated in 2023

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, DS, GBA, GameCube, Switch, Wii, Wii U and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night and Grid

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Components: 2D Side-On, Cards, Dice and Grid

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Demon Turf

Release Date: 04/11/2021

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Hand-Made and Open World

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Tharsis

Release Date: 12/01/2016, updated in 2020

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Dice and Grid

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Release Date: 13/03/2015

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks and Cartoon

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Release Date: 26/01/2022

Out Now: PC

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

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FTL: Faster Than Light

Release Date: 14/09/2012, updated in 2014

Out Now: Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

FTL: Faster Than Light is a strategic simulation game where you combat enemy spaceships and survive the dangers of the galaxy. Unusually, you have complete control of every function of your ship and must manage systems, crew and scenarios. It's a hard...

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Release Date: 22/02/2020, updated in 2020

Out Now: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

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Shelter (Series)

Release Date: 28/08/2013, updated in 2021

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

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Stellaris

Release Date: 09/05/2016, updated in 2021

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Components: 2D Side-On and Grid

Stellaris is a strategy game where you play a space-faring empire seeking to expand your territory. It offers complete customisation of your civilisation, with different sets of ethics and morals to choose from that change how you play, from limiting...

The Legend of Bum-bo

Release Date: 19/11/2019, updated in 2022

Out Now: Android, PC, PS5, Switch, Xbox X|S and iOS

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

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Dr Meep

Release Date: 23/05/2018, updated in 2021

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Grid

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Feed The Deep

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Feed the Deep is an underwater diving and collecting adventure. You control a diver who must traverse a system of caves to find gold and other items they can sell for more equipment. It stands out for how it uses light and sound to create an eerie...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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