My 5 favorite Windows PC games for kids in 2024

When knowing what kids' games are the best for growing minds, there seems to be this grey area. Is it colorful, cute, conveys meaning, and is it age-appropriate? The games I discuss in this list balance learning life lessons and fun time passers. There is SO MUCH to choose from with healthy discussions on topics such as death and learning life lessons to building your slice of paradise in survival games.

And please remember to check the contents of your children's games before buying them. Just because a specific game might look cute and be colorful doesn't mean it will automatically be okay for your child. There are themes, motifs, and story devices unsuitable for growing minds unless a parent supervises them. 

5. When the Past Was Around

When the Past Was Around is a charming point and click game. (Image credit: steam)

When the Past Was Around is a point-and-click game discussing loss, life, and the process of understanding death. This game teaches kids that being in the moment with life is so incredibly important. From mundane tasks to looking for specific items, this game is calculated based on what it wants to bring to the player.

When the Past Was Around is a calm, peaceful experience that doesn't barrage the players with sadness throughout the game but just enough that it showcases a beautifully executed story and process that takes the player through the motion like the player character. The beauty in the aesthetic of the game, the calm music that takes you through an almost abstract train of thought at the start of the game, When the Past Was Around showcases a vulnerability in its presentation, carrying a weight to it that is relatable and tangible.

With this game being a point and click I feel as if it drives the simplicity of the message home even more so.  Sometimes simple games, with soft narratives are the best way to convey a point or a feeling, and this game captures the feeling of trying to move on from loss beautifully.

When the Past was Around

When the Past was Around

A point-and-click puzzler developed by Mojiken Studios and Toge Productions. This game is about love, moving on, and letting go. Available for Windows and Xbox.

Buy at: <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/1164050/When_The_Past_Was_Around/" data-link-merchant="store.steampowered.com"">Steam

4. Don't Starve

Face your arachnophobia in Don't Starve. (Image credit: steam)

Don't Starve is a quaint little game that is a massive time sink in the best way possible. Think of a Tim Burton version of Animal Crossings. You can craft, use magic, and explore a survival-based game where anything is possible. This game will throw you in with no explanations, nothing. Having kids figure their way around this title will surely get the neurons firing!

This game is about problem-solving and understanding what resources you have at your disposal and what things you have to MacGyver. It is silly and fun; surviving is a task and a half while surviving the raining frogs is a feat.  When you start this game there isn't a right or wrong way to begin. You journey around the land and can do anything you want, which seems daunting but, in reality, gives the player a lot of freedom to create and not be bound by a linear experience.

Don't Starve

Don't Starve

It's a survival game where you're thrown in with no explanation, nothing, just try to survive. Available for Windows PC.

Buy at: <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/219740/Dont_Starve/" data-link-merchant="store.steampowered.com"">Steam |<a href="https://greenmangaming.sjv.io/c/221109/1219987/15105?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.greenmangaming.com%2Fgames%2Fdont-starve-together-pc%2F" data-link-merchant="greenmangaming.com"" data-link-merchant="store.steampowered.com"">GMG: Steam

3. Cozy Grove

A journey of color in Cozy Grove. (Image credit: steam)

This has to be, by far, one of the most relaxing and cutest games I've ever played. Cozy Grove takes you on a journey to help spirits inhabiting a forest and bring color and happiness back to their world. You can craft, go fishing, and explore character dialogue to add more color to your surroundings!

This game shows kids (and anyone who plays it) that everyone's story is important; it holds meaning and carries weight. The game over-dramatizes (not heavily) this meaning for effect, but the sentiment of the power of the story of one's life is still present, and I love that.

Sitting in bed, relaxing, and playing this with a warm cup of tea at the end of the day is pure bliss. The tasks become almost like second nature, and seeing the screen fill with color after completing a task or talking with one of the ghosts is a pure shot of dopamine. 

Cozy Grove

Cozy Grove

A life sim game about camping on a haunted island is available on Windows, PC, and Xbox.

Buy at: <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/1458100/Cozy_Grove/" data-link-merchant="store.steampowered.com"">Steam|<a href="https://click.linksynergy.com/deeplink?id=kXQk6%2AivFEQ&mid=24542&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&murl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.xbox.com%2Fen-US%2Fgames%2Fstore%2Fcozy-grove%2F9pjcc91cz3wn" data-link-merchant="xbox.com"" data-link-merchant="store.steampowered.com"">Xbox

2. Death's Door

Not as morbid as you'd think. (Image credit: steam)

Death becomes a corporate job in this game, making the vibe and overall story appealing and funny. Death's Door (check out our review here) creates the notion that death isn't a scary thing, and the way it goes about that explanation is why this game sits at number one. 

This is a game I would highly recommend for children to learn about death in a way that is cute, sarcastic, and witty. It showcases fundamental ideas and points that many games don't discuss. Death is a heavy thing to discuss; this game does it with class and elegance.

The bosses, characters, and music in this game are relaxing in a very chaotic way that creates strong replayability. From really well-done controls to a well-crafted story with meaning, this game is a great way to start a difficult conversation with kids.

Death's Door

Death's Door

An action-adventure game developed by Acid Nerve. It was released for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S on July 20th, 2021 and then Nintendo switch and PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 November 23, 2021.

Buy at: <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/894020/Deaths_Door/" data-link-merchant="store.steampowered.com"">Steam|<a href="https://click.linksynergy.com/deeplink?id=kXQk6%2AivFEQ&mid=24542&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&murl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.xbox.com%2Fen-US%2Fgames%2Fstore%2Fdeaths-door%2F9NDZ7NXFF622" data-link-merchant="xbox.com"" data-link-merchant="store.steampowered.com"">Xbox|

1. Stardew Valley

Create something new everyday in Stardew Valley! (Image credit: GOG.com)

Stardew Valley is one of those games that you can lose hours in. This is the perfect cozy game and is suitable for any age. Stardew Valley includes problem-solving and task management and is perfect for young ones who want to be creative and stretch their brain muscles. Stardew Valley is a farming simulator where you inherit your deceased grandfather's farm, starting a new life, but unlike Animal Crossing there won't be a raccoon after your hard-earned bells.

This game doesn't have a typical story, instead, it uses the characters you meet along the way as plot devices. You in a sense, are building your community and breathing life into something left behind.  This is the perfect creative game for a kid to get those neurons firing because in Stardew Valley there are so many creative ways to go about doing something.

Buy here: &nbsp;Xbox| Steam

You've inherited your grandfather's old farm, begin your new life, and visit a cozy place called Stardew Valley. Build memories, rebuild your home, and save what was thought to be lost.  
Buy here: <a href="https://click.linksynergy.com/deeplink?id=kXQk6%2AivFEQ&mid=24542&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&murl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.xbox.com%2Fen-US%2Fgames%2Fstore%2Fstardew-valley%2Fc3d891z6tnqm" data-link-merchant="xbox.com""> Xbox| <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/413150/Stardew_Valley/" data-link-merchant="store.steampowered.com"" data-link-merchant="xbox.com"">Steam

All in all...

It's hard to know what game will gel with what kid; they will go through various phases, likes, and interests that will last an hour, a day, a month, and maybe, if you're lucky, impact them for the rest of their lives. Games are a great way to build certain foundations and discuss really important and difficult things you might not have the words for at the time, whereas a game can sum it up in a visually creative way.

Gaming brings life to the experiences that make up humanity and all its little quirks, from death to losing a loved one to crafting the world around you. The games on this list bring an educational, fun experience to your child's playtime, allowing them to explore, learn, and create. As someone who started playing games at age ten, I know a strong story and immersive experience can leave a lasting impact, creating core memories in the best PC games that will remain for years to come. 

Arielle Danan
staff writer and video editor