Nintendo Wii and Wii U for Kids
Are you thinking of getting a Nintendo Wii or Wii U for kids to use? Let's look at how children can use the Wii and Wii U for games, fitness, drawing, music and more.
Are the Nintendo Wii and Wii U Good for Kids?
The Nintendo Wii U is due for release in the second half of 2012. The Nintendo Wii is the original Wii games console for connecting to the TV.
The Nintendo Wii has been a great success with families and kids. And while the Wii U has the more powerful hardware needed to play some adult games, I'm sure Nintendo won't be forgetting the kids.
In this article we'll take a look at what your children will be able to do with a Nintendo Wii or Wii U. I'll cover currently available software and accessories for the Wii. I also look at what we know about Wii U for kids and update with the latest news.
Nintendo Wii U Console
|Nintendo Wii U|
Nintendo Wii Console
Wii or Wii U?
If you don't yet have a Nintendo Wii console then you might be wondering whether to buy one now or wait until the Wii U is available in the second half of 2012.
It's worth noting that Nintendo have said that Wii games and controllers will work with the new Wii. (There may be expections.) We may find that there aren't a huge number of kids games for the Wii U initially and that Wii games will still be popular even with the new Wii U console.
Younger kids will get plenty from the current Wii Console. It has loads of kid-friendly titles and if kids don't know about the newer model then they'll be quite happy!
Older kids will be more aware of the newer Super Mario titles and other games their friends have.
And if you're a tech lover household like ours then it's the adults who will want a new toy, and the kids will get to share it too.
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Consider a Used Nintendo Wii
If you have a child who is the right age to enjoy a Wii now, then you could consider a used Nintendo Wii, they often sell for under $100. You will be able to reuse controllers and games and can sell the console on to someone who can't afford a Wii U.
Click on the image above and when the page loads choose the used option to find previously owned Wii consoles at a lower price.
Wii and Wii U Family, Group and Party Mini Games
One of the genres that the Nintendo Wii excels at is games that everyone can join in from kids to grandparents. These are little games that are quick to take a turn at and use the Wii Controller in intuitive ways. Great for family get-togethers, groups of friends and sleepovers.
We've had four generation of the family playing Wii Play games in our living room. Very funny!
With the Wii U, Nintendo have a new controller to play with so we're sure to get a title like Wii Play which shows off all the cool stuff you can do.
I've already seen a neat golf demo where you put the controller on the floor and see the golf ball - you swing using a Wii remote.
Super Mario Bros Mii (Wii U) Demo Video
Super Mario for Wii U
Nintendo have been using a demo of Super Mario Mii to demonstrate some of the features of the new console and controller.
It has HD graphics and uses the Wii U controller including the ability to just use the display on the controller if someone else is watching TV. You can also use your Mii characters in the game.
I'm sure we'll be seeing more from Mario on the Wii U.
(We also know that there will be a new Super Smash Bros game which features Mario, but that will is likely to have a teen rating with quite a bit of cartoon violence.)
Super Mario is as popular as ever. My sons have older friends and learnt about Mario as preschoolers. My 5 year old is starting to play the games. They've been to a Super Mario birthday party and have Mario shirts! Mario is more that just a game, he's part of the culture now.
The New Super Mario Bros platform game and the Mario Kart racing game are very popular titles on the Wii. For many kids Super Mario is the reason for first wanting a Nintendo.
The Nintendo Wii games are excellent. It will be interesting to see how the new features of the Wii U get used in new games.
Fitness and Dance Games for Kids on Wii U?
Ubi Soft have confirmed that there will be
Nintendo Wii Fit for Kids
I have a Wii Balance board and the Wii Fit game. My kids kept wanting to have a go! So we had a look to see what was available for them and found the superb Nickelodeon Fit.
It's an interactive fitness game for kids that works with the Wii Remote and Balance Board.
Nickelodeon Fit features Diego, Dora, The Backyardigans and Kai Lan. My boys are serious Diego fans so this is perfect.
Just like the Diego TV show this game is guaranteed to get my boys up off the sofa.
We don't really think about it as getting fit, just working off any extra energy they still have after wearing their parents out!
The gameplay is really intuitive and some of the games do actually wear the kids out. My older son just loves flying like a condor with Diego and doing tricks.
Expect to spend a bit of time with younger kids the first time they play this (and more than that if they're very young) but they'll quickly get the hand of it.
Nickelodeon Fit Video
There are also several fun dance games for kids who love to dance. Nickelodeon Dance is a good choice for the preschool and little kid crowd. For bigger kids try the Just Dance Kids titles.
Dance games are lots of fun. They're brilliant for sleepovers and groups of friends. And quite a few Moms have been known to join in.
It's not just older kids that love the Nintendo Wii. The intuitive Wii remote controller means that kids just need to hold it and move in the right way to control games. There are even Wii controllers that are designed for kids with smaller hands.
You can get a range of preschooler-friendly games for the Nintendo Wii including games that feature favorite characters from TV shows. Go Diego Go Safari Rescue is very popular in our house! My boys are mad about animals and love Diego.
The Nintendo Wii UDraw tablet and stylus brought drawing and art to the Nintendo Wii and has proved very popular with kids.
The Wii U has a controller with a touchscreen and stylus that will enable drawing and art without the need for an extra accessory. Drawing on the touchscreen is one of the capabilities that has already been demoed.
My older son loves drawing. We haven't bought the Wii UDraw yet because we want to see what the Wii U offers first.
The Wii U drawing game demo shows the kind of app that the Wii U controller will be able to support. I can imagine some great games for teaching kids, even very young kids, pen control and drawing techniques.
Wii U Drawing Game
Wii and Wii U Music Games for Kids
Music titles have been another popular area for Nintendo. The instant feedback, fun and ability to play with friends works very well. For the Nintendo Wii there have been lots of additional musical-instrument accessories for realistic interaction.
For the Wii U I think we're going to see the Wii U touchscreen controller used in interesting ways. There are lots of interesting music apps for the iPad for playing the piano, guitar or drums and mixing music.
We've had some really awesome Wii games that tie in with the Lego universe. Lego Star Wars is a favorite in our house. My boys are Lego Star Wars mad and love to watch their dad play these games. Of course they're really for bigger kids to play themselves.
And we're definitely getting more Lego gaming for the Wii U. Lego City Stories for Wii U (and Nintendo 3DS) has been announced. It will be a game where you get to explore Lego City and solve challenges.
I'm sure we'll also see tie-ins with the new Lego themes. There are new Lego sets for 2012 featuring DC and Marvel superheroes, dinosaurs, Ninjago and Lord of the Rings. That could lead to some very cool games.
Wii U for Kids
The new Wii U console has lots of potential to be a great gadget for kids. A lot of the buzz is around the fancy graphics which will enable more advanced adult games. Let's hope the kids get plenty of attention too!
More Gadgets for Kids
Gadgets for Kids 2012
An overview of the gadgets for kids available this year.