I am looking for computer games for a 4 year old child. He knows the alphabet, but can hardly read words.He counts to 39, but cannot do arithmetic yet. He knows how to use the mouse. However, reaction time is slow.

The game(s) should

  • not have time limits (or time limits which are ok for 4 year old children)
  • not need key-combinations, one key at a time must be enough
  • no monsters, no cliffs to fall down and die
  • be simple to start, best would be some command line options so that the game starts immediately without pressing any buttons.
  • have levels which can be completed in 5 to 10 minutes
  • be available as a demo version so that I can try whether it is ok for him. Other than that, it needn't be gratis (~20 € is ok).
  • provide German language support if language is important (e.g. word guessing games etc).
  • run on an Athlon XP CPU, 3 GB RAM, no 3D graphics card
  • run on Windows, preferably Windows XP (sorry, but I had that license left)
  • not need Internet connection

Other than that I have no special genre requirements. I don't know yet what he likes or not. We e.g. tried jump'n'run games, which is quite ok, but the ones I've tried with him are too frustrating. Just collecting some coins with no chance to die would be enough.

BTW: we don't have a TV, so I guess it's ok to let him use the PC for a limited time per day.

3 Answers 3


My son grew up on Humongous Entertainment games since he was 3. They're very easy to understand, it's really just a lot of moving the mouse around and clicking on stuff. Your child might need some small amount of supervision if anything becomes difficult to understand (like moving from screen to screen might not be 100% intuitive for a 4-year-old at first), but he'll be able to play the majority of them by himself. Even today (he's 21 now!) we still quote some of the lines from the games.

At the time, we were playing these on a 484 before Pentium chips even existed, so I'm sure (even with any graphic upgrades they've done) your setup is fine.

Their website leaves a lot to be desired, but the games were great. You can probably pick them up used on ebay really cheap. The Freddi Fish and Pajama Sam ones were our favorites.

  • Maybe I'm too stupid... I can't find a trial version. Could you post a direct link to one of them, please? Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 20:39
  • I haven't used them in forever. I did a quick Google and this site seems legit, but take all ncessary precautions when downloading from unknown websites. games2download.com/publishers/humongous-entertainment-games.htm Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 20:47
  • It was not possible to download any of the Freddi Fish games in a XP VM with IE8 and no Flash Player installed. I also tried scummvm.org/demos, but IE8 is crashing regularly there. Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 21:40

Here's what we found suiting him

SuperTux 0.1.3

SuperTux is a 2D jump'n'run game. The default levels are quite hard, because the protagonist dies immediately when touching an enemy.

However, SuperTux comes with a level editor, so I created a few levels without any enemies and no possibility to get stuck or fall down. The level editor can also set the timeout and 500 seconds is ok for a 100 tiles level (usually he completes in ~250 and keeps getting faster).

SuperTux is free (open source, GPL) and quite old (Version 0.1.3 is from 2005), so it runs on Windows XP and an older PC.

The level editor is a bit unconvenient, but my son has no expectations, so everything is fine. No need to design a beautiful foreground or background.


There are some games from the Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection that may be of interest. I've tried at least one, Inertia, for a 4-year old, with some success. For a 5 or 6-year old I would say Map and Untangle.

Threes is also a puzzle that you may find interesting.

I should also recommend this one: http://contraptionmaker.com/. Although I've never played it, it seems to be the natural heir of The Incredible Machine, which I grew up playing (the original The Incredible Machine can be found for download or play in the browser through emulation, I guess, but I haven't tried), but I probably was a little older when I did that (I do remember my father liking it a lot too, despite discourses against games he used to make).

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