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10 Best Mobile Games for Kids: Ohana's Top Picks of 2023

Discover this year's highlights in mobile games for kids! Once again, we've searched for apps that are fun, safe, and educational. Our handpicked top 10 guarantee fun and safety for elementary school-aged kids - and peace of mind for parents.

Stefanie Parth
11/24/2023 • 8 min
Older sister shows her little brother something funny on her smartphone

Every year, we strive to pick the best mobile games from the VERY large selection available. And once again, it turns out that it is mostly apps from independent game studios that meet our strict criteria.

Our selection is based on the following criteria:

  • Educational value
  • Ad-free
  • No in-app purchases
  • Age-appropriate content
  • High-quality entertainment

Our experience shows that free mobile games often struggle to meet all these criteria. They are usually financed by advertising or in-app purchases, which can impair both game quality and safety. Therefore, we focus on apps that offer a complete, ad-free, and safe gaming experience for a small price.

1. Under Leaves

"Under Leaves" takes you to a world that is as peaceful as it is colorful. With hand-drawn watercolors, it brings flora and fauna to life and immerses kids in gentle soundscapes. Nine different worlds await exploration, each full of hidden treasures and 29 animated animals. It's a game that awakens curiosity and playfully trains attention.

Here, kids find a peaceful haven, far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. They can dive into a world that invites relaxation yet remains exciting. "Under Leaves" is a special kind of puzzle, one that calms the senses while simultaneously challenging them. Parents and kids can dive into this adventure together, encouraging conversation and building a bridge between generations.

The game is text-free, making it accessible even to the youngest players. Although "Under Leaves" may be suitable for kids as young as 4 years old, we particularly recommend it for kids from 6 years onwards. At this age, they can fully appreciate and value the numbers and challenges.

Age recommendation: 6+
Price: $1.99

Android | iOS

Screenshot of the mobile game Under Leaves

(Source: Circus Atos)

2. Donut County

In "Donut County," the adventure starts with a small, mysterious hole that kids move across the screen. This hole has a very special appetite: the more it swallows, the larger it grows. Initially, it's just small items like bricks and bushes, but soon it can even swallow entire houses.

The game is full of surprises. For instance, kids need to drain water to swallow objects floating on it, and then a bird comes into play, drinking the water from the hole. It's a clever game of cause and effect that's not only fun but also thought-provoking.

In Donut County, kids learn how different elements interact with each other in a fun way. They learn to think creatively and solve problems while immersing themselves in a world full of charm and humor. The graphics are unique and colorful, and the gameplay mechanics are so entertaining that it's a real joy for kids from 6 years old. "Donut County" is more than just a game – it's an invitation to experiment and discover.

Age recommendation: 6+
Price: $4.99

Android | iOS

Screenshot of the mobile game Donut County

(Source: Annapurna Interactive)

3. The First Tree

An emotional journey awaits players in the role of a vixen wandering through a dreamy forest in search of her cubs. "The First Tree" is a narrative exploration game that delves deep into the world of emotions and memories. Alongside the fox's quest unfolds a parallel narrative about love, family, and life's challenges.

The way "The First Tree" tells its story is unique: dialogues between characters shed light on themes like family bonds and coping with loss. This makes the game an experience that appeals to both younger and older kids, and it's especially suitable to be played with an adult's guidance.

The game's world invites exploration and reflection. Kids solve puzzles and interact with their environment, driving the story forward. The simple game mechanics and the absence of danger make "The First Tree" an ideal introduction to the world of video games, even for younger players. The emotional journey is underscored by an impressive soundtrack that deepens the game's atmosphere. "The First Tree" is a calm, thoughtful game that touches the heart and invites a moment of pause.

Age recommendation: 7+
Price: $4.99

Android | iOS

Screenshot of the mobile game The First Tree

(Source: David Wehle)

Lumino City

"Lumino City" takes you into a world that has been lovingly handcrafted and then filmed. This puzzle adventure game stands out with its extraordinary aesthetics, setting it apart from other games.

Kids step into the role of an explorer in a city brimming with creative puzzles and tasks. Their mission: to repair the city's mechanisms and help its inhabitants. From floating gardens to houses built on cliffs, "Lumino City" is full of surprises and original locations.

The game can sometimes be challenging, but the solution is always within reach. On their journey, players encounter fascinating characters and experience unforgettable moments. "Lumino City" is a sensory feast that demands and fosters creativity and problem-solving skills. Fans of the game might also enjoy taking a look at its prequel, "Lume".

Age recommendation: 7+
Price: $4.99

Android | iOS

Screenshot of the mobile game Lumino City

(Source: State of Play)

5. Mini Metro

Planning a subway network? "Mini Metro" turns it into a relaxing and intuitive experience. With minimalist graphics reminiscent of real subway maps and soothing music, designing transit systems becomes a tranquil pleasure.

Players start with a basic network and expand it step by step to keep up with the growing number of passengers. The goal is to create a flowing and efficient subway system that continually meets new challenges.

"Mini Metro" is the perfect introduction to the world of strategy games. Its clear, straightforward interface and straightforward mechanics invite everyone to sharpen their strategic thinking. With daily challenges and different cities, the game grows with the kids' abilities.

The game is like a Zen garden for the mind – relaxing yet challenging. It's ideal for kids from 7 years old to develop logical thinking and strategic planning in a playful way.

Age recommendation: 7+
Price: $0.99 on Android | $3.99 on iOS

Android | iOS

Screenshot of the mobile game Mini Metro

(Source: Dinosaur Polo Club)

6. Down in Bermuda

"Down in Bermuda" invites players to join the brave pilot Milton on his adventurous journey, trapped in a time loop in the Bermuda Triangle. Milton needs the player's help to find his way home.

The adventure leads through six unique islands, each with its own challenges and puzzles. From matching symbols to deciphering complex switches and pipes, there's something for every little puzzle enthusiast. With each task solved, players collect orbs necessary to unlock gates to new, exciting islands.

"Down in Bermuda" is a true playground for the imagination. Alongside the puzzles, kids encounter fun enemies and hidden bonus levels. The game encourages exploration of every corner of the lovingly designed island world. With a gradual increase in difficulty, "Down in Bermuda" offers exciting challenges for both younger and older players.

This game is a journey that fosters creativity and problem-solving skills while telling a captivating story about the return of a brave pilot.

Age recommendation: 8+
Price: $4.99 on Android | $0.99 on iOS

Android | iOS

Screenshot of the mobile game Down in Bermuda

(Source: Yak & Co)

7. Hidden Folks

An adventure for sharp eyes and quick minds - that's Hidden Folks. In this seek-and-find game, players immerse themselves in lovingly hand-drawn worlds designed to sharpen observation skills, attention, and the joy of discovery. The game delights not just kids but also offers exciting challenges for adults.

The world of "Hidden Folks" is full of detailed scenes where players search for specific people. Every object becomes a potential hiding spot: windows can be opened, flaps lifted, and much more. It's about using eagle eyes and a bit of combination skills to spot the sought-after characters. A target display and helpful tips assist players on their search mission.

The hand-drawn scenarios give "Hidden Folks" a distinctive charm. Each scene is a little work of art, stimulating the imagination and inviting a journey of discovery through a world full of surprises. Whether young or old – in "Hidden Folks," everyone becomes a detective, experiencing an exciting adventure that sharpens the senses.

Age recommendation: 8+
Price: $4.99

Android | iOS

Screenshot of the mobile game Hidden Folks

(Source: Adriaan de Jongh & Sylvain Tegroeg)

8. Old Man's Journey

In the picturesque world of "Old Man's Journey," players accompany an elderly man on his moving journey of self-discovery and reflection. This narrative game is more than just entertainment – it's a deep engagement with life, memories, and the twists of fate.
The landscapes in "Old Man's Journey" are not only beautifully designed but also full of meaning. Each scene offers unique puzzles that players must solve to continue the old man's story. These interactions with the world are key to gaining deeper insights into his life and the challenges he faces.

Kids become the architects of the journey, shifting and adjusting landscape elements to open new paths for the old man. Each puzzle solved is a step further in the narrative and metaphorically reflects the protagonist's life struggles.

"Old Man's Journey" invites an emotional and thoughtful experience that goes beyond ordinary gameplay. It is a journey that encourages reflection on one's own life, long remembered for its touching story and stunning graphics.

Age recommendation: 8+
Price: $1.99

Android | iOS

Screenshot of mobile game Old Man's Journey

(Source: Broken Rules)

9. The Gardens Between

"The Gardens Between" unfolds a puzzle adventure where time travel is more than just a metaphor. In the roles of best friends Arina and Frendt, players travel through enchanted island gardens, manipulating time to solve puzzles and collect light orbs.

In this fascinating game, kids uncover the deeper meaning behind each puzzle and interaction. With every puzzle solved and light orb collected, a part of Arina and Frendt's story unfolds, centered around their friendship and shared memories.

The visual design of "The Gardens Between" is as impressive as it is empathetic. With clear lines and a thoughtful color palette, it creates an atmosphere reminiscent of the magical moments of childhood. Surrounded by oversized everyday objects, the characters experience a world that is both familiar and fantastical.

For kids from 9 years old, the game is a wonderful opportunity to dive into the world of time travel. It not only challenges their problem-solving skills but also encourages reflection on the significance of friendship and the lasting value of memories.

Age recommendation: 9+
Price: $4.99

Android | iOS

Screenshot of the mobile game The Gardens Between

(Source: The Voxel Agents)

10. Unpacking

"Unpacking" is an award-winning, meditative game that is as simple as it is ingenious. In this puzzle game, players discover the story behind each item they unpack. Each room they set up reveals a new chapter in the life of the unseen owner.

Without time pressure or scores, players methodically place items in their right spots. Each object, from an old photo to a teddy bear, is a piece of the owner's life puzzle. Kids learn about their preferences and watch as they grow and change.

"Unpacking" is particularly suitable for kids and families. Without dialogue or narrative prompts, it encourages players to create their own stories for the items. It's a playful way to think about life and its many phases – from moving to new beginnings.

Age recommendation: 9+
Price: $9.99 on Android | $8.99 on iOS

Android | iOS

Screenshot of the mobile game Unpacking

(Source: Witch Beam)

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