Wii games for toddlers?
February 28, 2010 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Any good Wii games for toddlers?

We're looking at a long Minnesota winter next year with a 1 1/2 year old, trying to find some good indoor activities. He's too young to play any games with Mom and Dad right now (9 months), but how about next year, when he's getting closer to two - are there any Wii games simple enough for our little guy to play along with us?

I figure the motion control scheme makes the Wii the most likely platform a little guy could easily understand, and am asking now so that we have months in which to start looking for any such games.
posted by caution live frogs to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I know a toddler who loves racing games.
posted by Pants! at 11:31 AM on February 28, 2010

On the off chance non-Wii suggestions are okay, I thought this thread was really creative:
How to keep a toddler or infant amused when it's too cold.
posted by sallybrown at 11:38 AM on February 28, 2010

As long as he doesn't have to push buttons along with the motion-control, I think he would be able to play. But I can't think of many games that meet that restriction. I mean, we're talking push button A and then swing the controller and push or release button B stuff for most of the kid's games. MarioKart might be okay...can't remember if there are any button combinations required.

Seconding the thread sallybrown linked to. I remember that one and there are some great ideas in it. See also this and this and this.
posted by cooker girl at 12:03 PM on February 28, 2010

My daughter likes the Dora and Diego Wii games---they've got fairly intuitive controls and pretty good on-screen instructions. But she's 4 1/2 and still needs help. There's no way my 1 1/2 year old could handle the complexity.
posted by leahwrenn at 12:31 PM on February 28, 2010

There is a parent and toddler mode in Super Mario Galaxy that I used to play with my daughter when she was more like 2.5. Basically they assist the main player by pointing at stuff on screen and pressing buttons at the right times. She quite enjoyed it.
posted by bifter at 12:54 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

As the mom of a nearly 1.5 year old, I doubt that he'd be able to 'get' it. My kid has figured out that the remote turns on the TV and that the mouse moves the arrow on the screen, but push A to kick? No way.

My friend's 3 year old likes to pretend with the WiiMote.
posted by k8t at 2:46 PM on February 28, 2010

My three year old nephew has just started to get the concept of Mario Kart and side scrolling games. The first game he really understood was the Wii Sports baseball home run minigame, which is just swinging the remote at the right time. I think that most two and under kids will only be able to enjoy the experience of pressing buttons and seeing the game react. They won't actually be able to understand the games until they're older.
posted by zixyer at 2:59 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, also don't underestimate the damage.


I'd be nervous about the baseball bat concept.
posted by k8t at 3:33 PM on February 28, 2010

Tough question; Wii Sports may be as good as it gets. My 5 year old niece could beat me at boxing when she was still 3.
posted by roystgnr at 4:55 PM on February 28, 2010

I have an adult sister who has some motor difficulties, but she definitely has way better coordination / motor control than a 2-year-old. She has probably a bit less muscle control than you would have if you used your non-dominant hand.

At any rate, we've been amazed at how many Wii games, even those meant for children, are difficult for her. And it's usually not the gameplay. It's usually the menu and other UI before a game starts. Even super-simple children's games almost always have some sort of "use the Wiimote as a mouse pointer and click on the tiny object" phase that causes her trouble.

By contrast, she's able to play most Playstation games just fine. So don't assume the Wii is the best control scheme for a toddler.

At age 2, your best bet is to get something that he'll enjoy visually (Dora, one of the Pixar games, etc.) and let him try to play along. But grown-ups will have to help a lot, and I'm not sure he'll enjoy it any more than a Dora TV episode, which looks like a video game anyway but doesn't require real interaction.

Get a fake wiimote and let him wave it around while the adults play. Probably as good as anything at that age.
posted by mmoncur at 5:39 PM on February 28, 2010

Oh, following up on roystgnr's comment: Wii Boxing (in Wii Sports) is probably the all-time easiest game for the uncoordinated to play. Winning, at the basic levels, is just a matter of making sure you continue to wave your arms around...

I wouldn't want to be around for the discussion later on Why it's OK to Punch Daddy in the Face in the Game but Not in Real Life, though.
posted by mmoncur at 5:42 PM on February 28, 2010

My wife and 6-year-old son love to "play" Just Dance together. You just copy the dancer on the screen. The scoring is hopeless anyway and kids won't notice it if you give them no remote. I suspect that a 1 1/2 year old will enjoy this for upwards of five minutes, but you never know.
posted by argybarg at 8:48 PM on February 28, 2010

Yup, Wii games are still hard for kids in the 4-5 age range to control. I know a 4.5 yr old that can almost play a few things for real, but not quite yet. For my 2 yr old, an empty Mario Kart wheel (no remote in it) is magic. Then you get to play without having to watch Mario go off the track over and over in the wrong direction. He gets to 'steer' to his heart's content.
posted by pekala at 10:20 AM on March 2, 2010

Thanks, all - the other thread is a gem.

So far my options sound like fake controller/wheel for a while would be a winner, at least until he gets the idea that throwing the controller through the TV screen is a bad thing!
posted by caution live frogs at 1:04 PM on March 10, 2010

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