30 Best Open World Video Games for Kids

Your child has a video game console at home and you want to buy an open world game that is family friendly, fun for them and isn’t really repetitive. I did some research and testing to figure out the best open world games for them.

What are the best open world video games for kids? The 30 best open world games for kids are listed below:

GameGame
Terasology

Junk Jack X

Stardew Valley

Fossil Hunters

Legend of Zelda:
Breath of the Wild

Terratech

Roblox

Subnautica

Grow Home

Astroneer

Grow Up

Eco

Trove

Go Vacation

Lego World’s

Steam World Dig 2

Craft the World

Space Engineers

FortressCraft:
Evolved

Avorion

Starbound

Stellar Overload

Portal Knights

Staxel

The Sims 4

Super Mario Odyssey

WorldCraft

Fortnite

Kerbal Space Program

Minecraft

These are the best open world (free-roaming) games for kids.

If you are interested in knowing why each is a good game to play, read on. I will also give you some helpful tips for gaming with your kids.

30 Best Open World (A.K.A. Free Roaming) Video Games for Kids

Terasology

Platforms: PC

Terasology is a platform. Players are able to modify the game themselves or use premade modules and then play.

If your child is interested in coding, they can create their own “mods”, which are modifications to the game that they create themselves.

If they don’t want to code that’s fine, there are plenty of free mods available that were created by others for players to use. Terasology is an open source game. The code to the game is available for all to view and learn from, and can be modified and enhanced by the players themselves!

Super Mario Odyssey

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Super Mario Odyssey is perhaps the most innovative Mario game since the first Nintendo 64 version. In this version, Mario’s hat becomes his newest tool and allows him to take control of the enemies that he lands on and use their unique powers to complete the task before him. The hat also serves as a bounce pad to for long jumps.

Players also have the opportunity to play 2D challenges that resemble the Mario games on the original Nintendo, giving fans of the franchise the opportunity to satisfy some of the natural nostalgia that comes along with playing the game.

Stardew Valley

Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, PC, Andriod

Stardew Valley is an open-ended country-lifestyle role-playing game. The focus of the game is on farming. Several maps are available as players work in fishing, foraging, and mining. There is also a combat option. The storyline is interesting. You inherit your grandfather’s farm and work to progress through all five skills as you either resist or support a large corporation from encroaching on your small town.

As an open-ended game, you are limited by your creativity in how you choose to go about developing your skills.

Each time you go up a level, you either build proficiency or lower the amount of energy required to use a tool.

As you get to know the local townspeople other storylines develop, and you can pursue them as you see fit.

Each new day offers a potential surprise, with weather and seasons changing along the way. The multiplayer option is a fun way to bring friends along too.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Wii U

Find it on Amazon

If you own one of the two above Nintendo platforms, this game is worth considering.

In fact, this game probably came with your switch if you own it. This version of Zelda is completely different from past versions, which is why it made this list.

BotW is an open-world game where you can explore with no real script to follow.

In the previous versions of Zelda players worked through an algorithmic format that forced them to do this then that.

This version encourages players to explore various terrain and experiment with the elements in their environment to find success.

Roblox

Platforms: Xbox One, PC, Mac, Ios, Android, Amazon Devices

Check it out on Amazon

Roblox is a platform, not just a game.

Users engage collaboratively in a family-friendly, immersive 3D environment.

The site features a safe-chat mode for users under 13 and a parent login that allows you to see how your child is using the site.

Players will choose the game they want to play based on their interests.

Available options include Power Plant, Tycoon Theme Park, Dungeon Quest, Lumber Tycoon, Baby Simulator and Work at a Pizza Place. It’s worth a look.

Grow Home

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Linux

In Grow Home, you play as B.U.D. (the Botanical Utility Droid).

Bud’s mission is to save his home planet by harvesting a humongous plant and its alien seed.

To do so, he must feed the plant energy from floating pieces of earth in his world. The stylized world presents fluid movements on the ground and in the air.

The player’s achievements are captured automatically by a map that grows and changes with the world, based on how Bud grows the plant.

This creates a rare opportunity for satisfaction through the visual representation of each of the decisions and challenges made along the player’s journey.

Grow Up

Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4

Grow up is the sequel to Grow Home and offers a larger world for finding new abilities and challenges for the player.

BUD’s ship has crashed into the planet and must now grow a giant plant into the stratosphere while rebuilding the ship.

The player can now roam deserts and forests as part of a vast landscape that presents new tools to use and challenges to overcome.

They can turn into a ball to roll around the terrain and use a glider that enables them to freely scan the map from above.

New tools allow for precision and creativity like specific plant placement for additional climbing. Optional challenge areas are available as well.

Trove

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Trove is an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game. The world that players roam is filled with caves, mines, enemies and rewards.

Players can team up to progress their character as they work to conquer all of the challenges this world lays out for them.

Its mission-focused style builds off the concept laid out by role-playing games of the past, encouraging players to explore underground worlds, pursue riches, and defeat bosses in different settings.

Lego Worlds

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC

Find it on Amazon here

The original building game, Lego reclaims its foundational role in construction, this time in the virtual space.

The basic goal of the game is to find hidden golden bricks that allow the player to level up and gain more abilities.

As players work towards this goal they can build and tear down environments on a large scale using the widely varied set of powerful tools available for construction and demolition.

Everything in the world, including bricks and grass, is made of Lego’s.

Players can build items one brick at a time or copy them for faster and more efficient gameplay.

Craft the World

Platforms: iOS, PC

Craft the World is known to have a feel that’s a mix between The Sims, Minecraft, and Terraria.

Players start the game with one dwarf that will begin the work of building out the world around them.

As accomplishments are issued, more dwarf’s are awarded, making it easier and quicker to do the work needed to succeed in the game.

After construction is complete players craft useful items and weapons as they continue to grow their settlement.

All this while being attacked in the night by goblins, zombies and other enemies.

FortressCraft Evolved

Platforms: Xbox One

FortressCraft Evolved takes the Minecraft concept as its base and adds automation, tower defense, base building, looting and exploring to create a dynamic 3D player experience that relies on the creation of power to forward progress in the game.

Projects are listed in the user menu, including the pursuit of black box data from the original crash onto the planet that will help the player determine what happened and how they got there.

As more power is generated more research projects are available because the energy is available to pursue them, creating the possibility for more complex projects in the process.

Starbound

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

Starbound begins with the player inside a spaceship following the recent destruction of the earth.

As the recent graduate of an intergalactic peacekeeping organization known as the Terrence Protectorate, the player uses their spaceship to travel the galaxy.

There is a teleport feature available to visit planets the spaceship is orbiting and explore a diverse array of planets, biomes, and subterranean environments.

They provide a backdrop for combat, bosses and a backstory that relies on breaking blocks, exploring caves, and gathering resources to be used to create items.

Many different planet types are available to create endless possibilities to explore in single or multiplayer modes.

Portal Knights

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, iOS, Android

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Portal Knights offers an open-world multiplayer sandbox environment that allows players to roam freely, build and fight monsters as they work through the available creative or adventure modes.

In creative mode, players build and experiment in their world with unlimited resources, just like Minecraft.

Adventure mode presents full RPG style storylines and missions that bring the player through dozens of smaller hub worlds.

Completing the quests earns the player rewards and experience points to level up and improve abilities.

Portals provide for travel to different worlds and enemies are spread throughout to add a fighting element of the game.

The Sims 4

Platforms: Playstation 4, PC, Mac

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The Sims 4 is a life simulator game that gives the user smarter and more complex characters in this latest version of the franchise.

Players have the opportunity to build out their worlds and watch their Sims characters go about their lives.

The focus of this game is more on building and creation, not survival.

It allows players to pursue detailed personality development for characters, forcing them to plan on a high level while also considering individual nuances, encouraging both systemic and granular thinking.

WorldCraft

Platforms: PC, Android, iOS

Find it on Amazon here

The latest version allows players to explore universes and world created by other users, upload their own maps, find different resources, and explore endless possibilities.

They can build castles, monuments, houses, amusement parks, and virtually anything else they can think of.

As they break down blocks and collect ores players move up experience tiers and are able to build better items.

Kerbal Space Program

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, Linux

Kerbal Space Program is a space flight simulation game where the players direct a space program run by creatures called Kerbals.

Players work to help them survive the challenges of space travel as they create rovers, aircraft, rockets, spaceships, and other vehicles for exploration.

Missions are issued with certain goals to be achieved like reaching a certain altitude, escaping the atmosphere, landing on a planet, creating space stations, creating surface bases, reaching a stable orbit, and capturing asteroids.

Three game modes are available; sandbox, science, and career mode.

The game has been praised for its accurate representation of physics concepts, including Newtonian dynamics and orbital mechanics.

Astroneer

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

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Astroneer embraces the act of being both an astronaut and an engineer.

It’s gentle aesthetics and gameplay create a space survival game that requires the player to use critical thinking to safely move across the planets to explore, mine and craft.

The mining tool allows players to find resources, reshape the landscape, and light up dark spaces.

Crafting entends to vehicles, spacecraft, modules, and oxygen reserve tanks. Solar panels, generators, and tethers are used for energy generation and distribution.

The astroneer can die from suffocation, hostile plants, and flying storm debris. The game’s graphics inspire a sense of wonder and its soundtrack fits that sense very well.

FortressCraft Evolved

Platforms: PC, Mac

FortressCraft Evolved is a game inspired by Minecraft, Infiniminer, and Dwarf Fortress.

It uses an open world voxel textured design to simulate landscapes as players explore a world guided by their creativity and inspiration.

Players engage in crafting, tower defense, logistics, assembly lines, exploration, and combat as they build up their resources in the world.

They must use handheld scanners to locate ore resources.

Then resources can be extracted and brought back the smelter by conveyors so the resources can be converted into useful materials.

While they work to build up their capabilities, they must be prepared to defend from alien attacks, pressuring them to create new weapons that will enhance their defensive capabilities.

Eco

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

In Eco, players work together to create a simulated civilization using natural resources.

The game challenges players to embrace a sustainable lifestyle as both balanced nutrition and natural resources are factors that can impact the success of their gameplay.

The game was originally designed as an educational tool for middle school students.

Developers worked with staff at the University of Illinois to create the game and were allocated more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education for development.

Although the game is a survival game like Minecraft, it is different in that it does not promote the exploitation of resources.

Instead, it recognizes that there are consequences to exploiting resources and attempts to consider those factors in gameplay.

Go Vacation

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii

Find it here on Amazon

Go Vacation is a variety game that allows players to explore four resorts (marine, city, snow, and mountain) located on a fictional island.

There they can bungee jump, ice fish, scuba dive, build a  snowman, and go off-road racing, among other options.

Aside from engaging in these activities that are laid out for them, they can also explore the open world using the variety of vehicles that become available to them over the course of the game as they accomplish tasks.

The game allows for single-player and multiplayer options. They can also customize their characters, costumes, vehicles, and pets.

Subnautica

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Find it on Amazon

Subnautica is an open world underwater survival game.

It takes place in the 22nd century.

The main character becomes stranded on the planet after their ship, the Aurora, was hit by an unknown energy pulse while searching the planet.

Players explore the ocean collecting resources and creating tools, bases, and underwater vehicles while interacting with the planet’s wildlife.

It’s an interesting spin on the world-building concept, adding a deep-sea exploration twist.

There are four difficulty modes that the player can choose from; creative, hardcore, freedom, and survival.

TerraTech

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

TerraTech is an open-world sandbox-style adventure game where players build, fight, and explore the alien landscape of the world where the game takes place.

They start as a miner in the future who is sent to other planets to gather resources after Earth’s have been depleted.

As they work to start building their resources in either creative mode or the gauntlet challenge, they choose the storyline and future for their gameplay that they want to create.

Along the way, they face rival prospectors that they have to fight and outwit to protect what they have built.

Fossil Hunters

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, Android

Fossil Hunters is an action-adventure game about digging for fossils and building your own dinosaurs.

Although it is not a purely open-world style game, the fact that it allows you to build your dinosaurs however you want gives the game the open-world spirit that players are looking for.

Players start the game as a paleontologist that goes down into mines to excavate different areas and find many varieties of dinosaur bones.

Each floor has a mission that must be completed in order to unlock the next floor.

As the player goes lower into the mine the dinosaur bones that are discovered change, and there is no limit to the different kinds of fossils the player can create.

Dangers include creatures the player must face down in the mine and cave-ins that require the player to be careful when they excavate so they don’t lose their fossils.

Junk Jack X

Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, Linux, Android

Junk Jack is a 2D open-world sandbox game filled with landscapes and caverns to explore as players roam the world seeking to collect resources and survive in an environment that is randomly generated.

During the day collecting resources is the priority. Upon nightfall it’s survival.

The world is full of biomes on the surface and underground caverns below that contain treasures and hidden secrets.

Players shape their own storyline through the experiences they choose or can choose adventure mode if they seek a storyline and some goals to achieve.

Multiplayer mode allows players to join the game locally or online.

Steamworld Dig 2

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, Linux

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Steamworld Dig 2 is a 2D open-world platform game that focuses on mining for resources and ores.

The world is not system generated, which shows. The attention to detail in art, enemy placement, and hidden rewards are notable.

In Steamworld Dig you play as the robot Dorothy, who is searching for Rusty following the events in the previous installment of Steamworld Dig.

The objective is to find Rusty while digging through El Machinos’ mines, solving puzzles, avoiding traps, and evading enemies along the way.

There are more puzzles and RPG elements to this game than the previous version, creating a more deeply engaging and purposeful experience for the player.

Space Engineers

Platforms: PC

Find it on Amazon here

Space Engineers is a 3D open-world sandbox-style game that gives control of an astronaut to the player who needs to begin creating small ships, large ships, and stations as they mine asteroids for resources. .

In creative mode, players have unlimited resources to build with and are invincible.

In survival mode, players must mine for resources and refine chemical elements from asteroids as they work to create tools and weapons.

They also need to generate electricity. Players are not invincible in survival mode and must monitor their health and avoid damage through collisions, meteor showers, and running out of spacesuit energy, among other risks.

Avorion

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, Linux

Avorion is a sci-fi 3D open-world sandbox where players roam freely as they build their own space ships, fight battles, mine for resources, trade, and work to build their empire as they try to avoid being torn apart by an unknown enemy.

Players are guided through gameplay by an incredibly detailed tutorial that walks them through each step of the process for how to get started and be successful.

Each solar system presents different scenes as players are challenged to create their stronghold. It also offers a multiplayer feature.

Stellar Overload

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

Stellar Overload is a free-roaming sandbox game that is built around independent creation and mission-driven adventures that allow the player to make or destroy everything they see in the procedurally created world.

Adventure mode is short, taking under 10 hours to complete. The storyline is engaging.

Adventure mode serves as a great tutorial to learn how to use the tools and in the game and under what circumstances to use them.

Players who choose creative mode after completing adventure mode will feel much more prepared to take advantage of everything the open-world format has to offer.

Staxel

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, SteamOS

Staxel is a 3D open-world farming game that allows players to place and break blocks to construct structures in their virtual world.

Single and multiplayer options allow players to collaborate, compete, or work alone as desired.

There are no monsters within the game.

Instead, the focus is on missions that incentivize the player to help characters find lost items, build homes, craft items through sawing logs into boards, and baking and mixing.

Items needed for crafting must be acquired before anything can be created. Most of those items will be acquired by purchasing them at stores in town.

Fortnite

Platforms: XBox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, iOS, Android

Find it here on Amazon

Fortnite is a combination of a construction game and a shooter game. It features three modes; Save the World, Battle Royale, and Creative.

Save the World is the RPG style mission-driven adventure version of the game.

Battle Royale blends the survival, exploration, and scavenging elements of a survival game and takes a last man standing approach to determining the winner of the game.

In creative mode players get their own private island to construct buildings and manipulate objects.

Fortnite is a wildly successful game and is one of the most popular online multiplayer games available.

Minecraft

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, Linux, iOS

Check it out on Amazon

It would be impossible not to list Minecraft.

This is the juggernaut that started it all. Minecraft is a 3D open world sandbox game that allows players to build and destroy structures with a variety of different blocks in a procedurally generated world.

Players rely on their creativity to create their own story while exploring, gathering resources, crafting, and engaging in combat.

Single-player and multiplayer options are available and players can choose creative, survival, adventure, or spectator modes.  

Video Game Tips for Parents

Video games can be a good way to let your kids blow off some steam and relax.

Additionally, researchers at Arizona State University found that families can bond over video gameplay.

Video games give you a good opportunity to spend a little more time with your kids and do something that they want to do.

In our home, we play Xbox Kinect together as one of the things we do on family night and we all enjoy it.

By becoming a part of your child’s gaming experience, you can make your interactions with them regarding gaming a lot easier.

For example, it will probably be easier to guide them in selecting the next game they want to purchase if you have shared some gaming experiences together.

You will have a better understanding of what they like and don’t like. As they see that you will build more credibility on the topic with them.

As a side benefit, you will also be able to guide them away from games that have content to which you don’t want them exposed.

I would be careful not to let them spend too much time playing video games though.

As you know if you read my articles, the research is starting to show signs of what we as parents already intuitively know, too much screen time is not good for kids.

We allow an hour or two of video games per week, one movie, and one or two episodes, with no screen time allowed during the week. It keeps our kids focused on their priorities and interacting with their family.

Additionally, be aware of in-game purchases that can entice your child to buy items within the game that run up the overall cost of the game dramatically.

Many of those “free” games are really just free to download. Once you get in the game, there are many purchases available to be made.

One last important note, open-world games are susceptible to online predators.

I wrote an article to help parents ensure they have methods in place to monitor their child’s internet use, so kids online can be much safer in their own homes. 

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