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Digital Play Lists

These relate to games that focus on digital interaction that mimics or takes a lead from physical traditional play. This highlights how games can be the new playground or toybox for children. Not to replace these things, but to offer them in a new way that inspires creativity and engagement with the world.

Like most forms of media, video games often save the best and most interesting chapters until the end. However, there are many games that set you loose in their world without barriers or restrictions. Most interesting, I think, are games that do this without it being obvious that the world is your oyster.

01/03/2023 / 16 months ago

Quite a few video games include bikes as a means to get around. But there are some special experiences that let bike transit take centre stage. And when they do that it's one of the most satisfying ways to get around a video game world.

09/02/2023 / 17 months ago

Many games let you create your own items, object or levels. But some are specifically designed for you to do this in order to attract characters and visitors to your creation in the game.

01/06/2020 / 4 years ago

Video games and toys are two separate things in a child's life. Online and in stores they are sold separately. At home, however, children will move from toys to video games without such strong distinctions. This list draws together all the games that cross over with toys in this way.

05/05/2020 / 4 years ago

Designing for Children’s Rights (D4CR) is a global non-profit association, supporting the Designing for Children’s Rights Guide that integrates the U.N. rights of the child in design, business and development of products and services around the world.

14/03/2023 / 16 months ago

That video games can be like playgrounds for children is clear from even briefly observing how children move and interact in online play. Hone in on Adventure Playgrounds specifically and there's a deeper match in how children used fixed equipment for imaginative play, made-up games and (sometimes) its intended purposes. Go further to consider their history in Junk Playgrounds and the ongoing role of Playworkers and we are way beyond a qualifying metaphor to a new way of valuing play(-frames) in video games.

04/04/2023 / 15 months ago

The Digital Futures Commission's A Vision of Free Play in a Digital World report outlines the key qualities of "free play" for what "good" looks like in a digital world. The team from 5Rights Foundation and LSE set out ambitious expectations for children’s free play in all contexts.

17/01/2023 / 18 months ago

Play is hugely important in children's lives, this much is common knowledge. Less well known is that it is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as a fundamental right of children.

14/02/2024 / 5 months ago

Many games include cards as a way to offer the player a choice or collections of items. There are a handful that use classic playing cards more directly, though. These games often subvert or lean into the common understanding of how these Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds and Spades work. Often with fascinating results.

11/03/2024 / 4 months ago

Some forms of play are timeless. Running around with a stick pretending to be in the army. Chasing each other in games of tag. And, of course, hide and seek. The games in this list offer digital ways to play hide and seek with a variety of different twists.

13/05/2020 / 4 years ago

These are games that involve actual Lego bricks or offer an experience that has the same plug and play building and creating as the classic toy.

14/03/2020 / 4 years ago

From the paper fortune tellers we used to make in school, to intricate origami birds, the playful folding of paper into interesting objects has long overlapped with other types of games. Origami appears in video games and board games surprisingly often. This list looks at the best games that put paper folding to the test.

18/10/2022 / 21 months ago

Video games are a great way for children to play. However, they are also contested spaces often created with profit as well as play in mind. How do we empower children to play, break the rules and self-determination in light of other pressures and owners of these digital spaces?

06/01/2022 / 2 years ago

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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