The Six Best Wii Games to Play with Your Kids

As someone without kids, I think of giving kids video games as a way to make them leave you alone, but some parents tell me video games are a great thing to play with their children. Who knew? I’ve asked around, and here are the six Wii games parents say they most like playing with their kids. These are all games that are fun at any age; so this list is good even if your kid is 25.

If you've got a Wii U, I also have equivalent suggestions.

The best mini-game collection for the Wii turns out, unsurprisingly, to be a great game to play with kids, who can appreciate the joys of virtual ping pong and archery as well as adults can. The original Wii Sports is also popular with kids and their parents, although it lacks the MotionPlus goodness of Resort. If you've got a Wii U, you can try Wii Sports Club, an updated version of Wii Sports that does support the MotionPlus.

Rated as suitable all ages by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

One parent told me Mario Kart Wii was a game she liked to play with her kids, and then amended that by saying, “Mario anything, really.” Nintendo’s Mario games are consistently engaging and kid friendly, and Mario Kart Wii’s fast-paced racing action, colorful graphics and imaginative tracks make it almost endlessly entertaining. For the Wii U, try Mario Kart 8.

Rated as suitable all ages by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

This is a good game for young kids, because the difficulty is very low. But it’s also an excellent game for adults who just want to goof around in a low-pressure game. Containing amusing Lego versions of the six Star Wars films, Saga is a nice value for the price and also a game that feeds off of the never-ending appeal of the movies. While Saga was the most popular choice of the Lego games, any of the others, like Lego Indiana Jones 1 & 2 or Lego Batman are also good choices. If you've got a Wii U, go for The Lego Movie Videogame.

Rated as suitable for ages 10 and up by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

I can’t think of Super Smash Bros. Brawl without the word “frenetic” coming to mind. The game is built around Nintendo characters like Donkey Kong and Princess Peach battling with special attacks and a lot of jumping around, and players are hitting buttons like mad to knock their opponents down. The game is easy to pick up and play, but has enough depth that a determined player can decimate opponents. Expect all but the most determined parents to find themselves at the mercy of their young children. For the Wii U, there's .

Rated as suitable ages 13 and up by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Parents agree that the games in the Rock Band and series are great to play with their kids, but no one expressed a preference for any particular game. Whatever band game you choose, it is tremendous fun to play with guitar and drum peripherals. This is the priciest choice on my list: my favorite band game, Beatles Rock Band, will cost almost $150 for the game with one guitar and one drum peripheral. If you’re willing to give up the drums you can try a Guitar Hero bundle that excludes them. If you’re a big Lego fan you might want to just wait for Lego Rock Band, due out this November. Whatever game you get, just try and keep your kids from using the guitars as weapons. There are no full band games for the Wii U, although there is the guitar-and-vocal-only Guitar Hero Live. Unfortunately not all the songs have lyrics that seem kid-appropriate, so watch out for that. And remember, since the Wii U is backwards-compatible you can still play any of the Wii games on it.

ESRB rating varies from game to game based on song content.

I'll be honest; this was not something parents told me was good to play with their kids; the game came out long after I'd written this article. But I played it with my non-gamer girlfriend and she loved it: it's easy, it's aimed at kids but very entertaining for adults, and it just strikes me as a perfect game to play with a kid or two. So if you'll take the word of someone without any kids, try this out. And if you've got a Wii U, play the equally fun .