DS for 4 1/2?

Stephanie Asks – Do you have a recommended age for the DS lite?  My Daughter is 4 1/2 and had the leapster but seems almost bored with it.  I have heard the DS lite has many games that require reading… Are there enough games she could use to keep her attention?

Sort Answer?  No.

Long Answer? No. Maybe. Sorta?

First of all, your daughter sounds pretty smart if she’s getting bored with the Leapster. 4 1/2 is pretty young and yeah, the biggest problem is that almost all the games don’t have voice and require reading. You can imagine how annoying it would be to have to read everything for her out loud (but it is a good way to encourage reading).

That said, there are lots of games for smaller children. Just go into a local store and look for the stuff that … looks like a Leapster game. See what I mean? I’d suggest holding off until she is 6 or so and keep buying Leapster games. Unless, y’know, you think you’d like to play with the DS.

I’d like to make a point to game developers. Will you please start putting a Reading Level on the box? Something like that?

No Responses to “DS for 4 1/2?”

  1. Thought I’d throw in that the DS is my 4 year old’s preferred hand held gaming device. She’s been playing with it since about her 4th birthday. It started with her borrowing her older brothers DS a few times and observing how she handled it. She also did well iwht our old GBA. She has a used DS and we visit used game stores to find recycled titles for her. Disney makes a few titles that, while reading exists, the game is intuitive enough that it doesn’t slow her down much.

    Her favorite games are surprisingly the ones that require more dexterity which she borrows from her older brother. Games such as Kirby or Mario Brothers. Anything from the Dora franchise is also an easy win. There are even some fun girlie games such as the Tinkerbell and Princess line of games from Disney she seems able to handle.

    I wouldn’t buy her a new DSi due to the abuse the unit will take, but in my opinion a used DS and a hand full of inexpensive used games can go a long way for a 4 year old. She is going to be 5 soon and I’m sure a new DS game will be on her birthday list.

  2. Great point. It’s definitely a Your Mileage May Vary kind of thing so I like when people add to my answer.

  3. Charlotte (4 1/2) has been playing with a DS Lite for a year or so. I will say that reading is not a problem at all for her, but the games she plays the most could be learned without much reading anyway.

    Her favorites are Rhythm Heaven, Warioware, and the Smart Girls / Kids / Boys Gameroom series. I would say there are enough games on there for many 4 year olds, but many of the platform games (such as Super Princess Peach) can be frustrating for Charlotte, that’s when Dad has to step in.

  4. Do keep in mind that we are gamers. My wife, despite being married to me, has a hard time helping the kids with games. What I’m saying here is, I don’t the the questioner is a hardcore gamer and that does change the answer a bit. Plus the younger child is generally more skilled because the older child paves the way. As far as the question goes, I sense a non-gamer with her first child here.

    Aside from that Simon’s suggestions are pretty good.

    Also I forgot to mention that the DS Lite plays GBA games and there are a lot of GBA games for kids. So there’s that. I still feel more comfortable recommending the DS for 6+. It’s not cheap and it is clearly not aimed at 4 1/2. Or maybe your kids don’t lose styluses… Stili?

  5. Spot on, GamerDad. While Charlotte now has her own rose pink DS Lite, it was only after she was comfortable with my – uh, I mean my wife’s – DS Lite that I decided to splash the cash for a new (used) one. And why did I have to buy a new one anyway? Because the old one broke – after being possibly mishandled by the four year old in question.

  6. I highly recommend Hamtaro Ham-Ham Challenge for a 4-year-old girl. Almost no reading, super-cute, and the activities / mini-games are a lot like real-life educational games you’d give to a preschooler — arranging shapes, doing mazes, building with blocks… I wish there were more games that “fit” this well for kids this young.

  7. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  8. My eldest is now 3 1/2 and he’s been playing with my old, original DS for about a 6 to 9 months. He has a Leapster and will prefer to play that most of the time, but we both have a blast writing notes to each other on the DS using the built-in communication application (I highly reccomend it for playing with your young kid…)

    I bought Disney’s Cars for the DS, and while my eldest will fiddle with it, it doesn’t hold his attention long (since he doesn’t really get anywhere with it…) The Leapster is where its at for him… (Oh,, and he’s already lost the stylus for my old DS… 😉 had to buy new ones…

    Don’t get me started on how well he handles my iPod touch though, lots of cool apps and as long as I keep my eye on how he handles it (doesn’t run with it, etc) he’s becoming quite the pro, even switching between apps and paging through the pages to find which one he wants… I suppose that’s an endorsement of Apple’s interface…

  9. My 4.5 year old son has really started getting into the handheld games (he has an 8 year old brother, so they’re around the house). He plays on both the DS and an old square GBA (nice because it also plays old GB games that he enjoys such as the Warioland titles and various Kirby). On the DS, he especially loves Kirby Superstar Ultra. He plays it on his own, but also has a great time playing it with his brother. We had to pick up a 2nd copy used so they could do some of the 2P games, but it’s been worth it. Kirby’s Squeak Squad (DS) and Kirby’s Nightmare in Dreamland (GBA) as well as Mario Party DS are others he likes a lot and that are not too difficult for a pre-reader. (Though really, by now, he recognizes many of the game-related words/phrases like “start”, “continue” and “next level”.) We stay far away from most games marketed towards little kids; they always seem to be crap.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!