24 answers

What Is the Right Age to Get a Nintendo DS??

My 5 1/2 year old is asking for a Nintendo DS for Christmas this year. He says all the kids on the bus have them and play the on the bus. He has had a hard time riding the bus because he does have a longer ride (I think - about 40 min each way)

So my question is: Do we get him a DS for Christmas or is that a little bit too old for him. I have never been one to buy a Nintendo Wii or Playstation, etc. I never had them when I was growing up, but I know in this day it seems all kids have them. We would of course limit the time/use of it if he did get one.

I have no clue about these things, about what games they come with etc. I haven't researched them yet. Just thought I would get an idea if it is worth my time to research unless all of you wonderful mommies out there say nope he is too young!


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I have a DS that is now more my daughter's than mine. She will be 3 in February. She loves Dora the Explorer, so my mom bought her a Dora DS game. She loves it. She has no problem playing it. There are games out there for younger kids. She has a game that is for three year olds.

My nephew got one for Christmas at 6 years old and he loved it! He still has it and is now 7. He is also excelling in all subjects at school. hope this helps!

Most kids get a DS between the ages of 5-7 I've noticed.

My dd got hers for her 7th birthday but because of how exspensive it was we are strict with it. She has to keep the games and parts all in a shoe box and it cannot leave the house without permission. She can bring it to her grandparents house or in the car.

She CANNOT bring it on the bus or to school no way never.

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Both of my children (5 & 7) have a DS and I would never dream of letting either of them bring theirs to school much less on the bus. Also, there are potential health hazards to excess play on the DS so we don't allow more than 15 minutes of play at a time. The DS in our home is only used as a reward and for long road trips. We keep the DS machines and the additional games in a drawer we call the "DS drawer". They cost us a pretty penny so we don't ever allow the kids to bring them to school or on the bus. A blank notebook and some cool pencils are the way to go for the busride, in my opinion.

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my kids are 8 and 10, and we are getting them for x-mas. I would worry about taking it on the bus though... my daughter has had many items stolen from her backpack during the school day... nothing expensive thank god.

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Our daughter got one as a Christmas gift last year. She was 7. Since then, I would say she has gotten addicted and has lost interest in playing outside. All she wants to do is play that DS. Not saying it would happen to anyone else this way, just our experience. I never grew up with game systems and didn't want her to have one. Right now she's grounded from it for 2 weeks.

1 mom found this helpful


When my kids say that "all the kids have" something, I ask them to start naming names. When they give me an honest count, it's really about 10-20% of the kids, not "all." Our kids got a Wii for Christmas a couple years ago and it's perfect for winters when it gets dark early and too cold to be out for hours at a time. We have a time limit that they can play AFTER all their chores are done. There are games that the kids can play together and they are up and moving, not sitting and playing in isolation.

Personally, I wouldn't let my kids take anything to play on the bus. That's their time to socialize, enjoy the scenery, etc. I am sure that at least half the kids on that bus don't have a DS, but your son envies the ones who do. My kindergarten daughter had a bus ride home that was over an hour. I felt like it was good for her to entertain herself. When kids are given nonstop entertainment, it shows up in their attitude, respect level, attention and focusing capabilities, etc. You shouldn't ever feel pressured to do something just because "everyone" is doing it.


1 mom found this helpful

i never bought these games for my kids when they were growing up...have him read on the bus or do word puzzles-im not against video games-but i do think there more positive alternates....

From preschool until my sister turned 16 we had to ride the bus for an hour EACH WAY. I would read, sleep, socialize, and play those hand/song games with kids.

When I was in 6th grade (12 years old) I brought a basketball to school and that was stolen- right from my locker. I would NOT let him bring an expensive gaming system to school. It would be gone with in a week! And I'd bet that at 5 1/2 they do NOT have locked lockers.....

As for getting him one just to have at home. That is truely up to you and your husband on what you would like to expose him to. My husband and I have decided NOT to buy our kids any gaming systems. If it's in the house, the kids will coninue to ask for more time. If you don't have one, there is no arguement..... My husbands 2 nephews have had gaming systems since they were about 5 and they are horribly addicted. If they are not watching tv or playing their systems, they are on the computer.... I've NEVER seen them go outside just to play. Electronics can be addicting.... So you do need to keep that in mind when considering adding this to your family.

We got our oldest son a DS for Christmas one year when he was 5 years old. I think it's fine, as far as being age-appropriate. The Nintendo products, in my opinion, have the most games for the younger set, completely non-violent, etc.

We limited the time he spent on it, but most of the time I honestly didn't have to worry about it. He was such an active little kid, loved being outdoors, etc. Mostly I just kept on eye on it and on occasion had to put an end to "video game time" on a given day. Wasn't a big problem for us.

I would check and make sure he's really supposed to be playing a DS on the bus. I'm pretty sure those types of things are off-limits for kids in our school district. Pretty much, they aren't supposed to have anything on the bus that they shouldn't have at school. Also, I would consider the possibility that it might be stolen in a situation like that (I'm assuming it's going to be sitting in his backpack at school all day).


My nephew got one for Christmas at 6 years old and he loved it! He still has it and is now 7. He is also excelling in all subjects at school. hope this helps!

yeah, i think hes too young.

remember, even if every single one of his friends have one, you are still the parent. getting him one just because all his friends have one is NOT a good enough reason. besides, then you cant control what games he plays when you arent around... who knows what he will end up with. you just dont know what kind of parents all the other kids's parents are... and what kind of games they will be playing. there are some that are HIGHLY inappropriate for a 5 year old. and besides, at 5, kids should be concentrating on other types of active play, not playing video games. i know you would restrict his time, but its so easy to lose track of time, or for him to find it and use it when you arent around.....

its just not time yet. and you dont have to explain your choice to your son. you just have to say no. you arent his friend, you are his parent, and you have the final say. besides, in this economy, can you really afford it, along with any games that will follow? that money i would think would be better spent on food right? or some other necessity....

Most kids get a DS between the ages of 5-7 I've noticed.

My dd got hers for her 7th birthday but because of how exspensive it was we are strict with it. She has to keep the games and parts all in a shoe box and it cannot leave the house without permission. She can bring it to her grandparents house or in the car.

She CANNOT bring it on the bus or to school no way never.

My son just turned 5 in September and we got him a DS for his birthday. He loves it and plays it alot. Some of the games that he likes are lego star wars, hot wheels, and spongebob. I do not think your child is to young for one. Hope this helps.

I have a DS that is now more my daughter's than mine. She will be 3 in February. She loves Dora the Explorer, so my mom bought her a Dora DS game. She loves it. She has no problem playing it. There are games out there for younger kids. She has a game that is for three year olds.


I bought one for my daughter last Christmas; she was 9. I think the games are quite complex and involved; even I have trouble trying to figure some of them out. And as one poster commented, some of the games have readings posted throughout, so he would need a fairly good grasp of English in order to read them and know how to play the games. At 5.5 years, I think he's a bit young for a Nintendo and would become very frustrated and discouraged. I did watch a boy that age, however, play a game on an Ipod, and he had no problem playing it. I have no idea, though, what an Ipod is or how you play games on it. I just know it kept him occupied while we listened to a speaker talk.

I think 5 is much too young. Our 7yr old has a DS, and he got it last year for Christmas. He was 6.5 then, and looking back he was much too young for it. We put a very strict time limit on it, 1/2hr per day after homework and before dinner, that was it. HE still has that strict time limit, and he does fine with it. He could read by age 4 so he had no problem playing the games, and he enjoys the board games on it, like Risk, Clue, Moustrap, etc. He also has a couple Mario games, and a couple racing games like Matchbox racing, Four wheeler/hot rod racing, Mario Cart, Cars racing.

The system itself is not meant for little hands. Wehave a case on his and the hinges still broke after 3mos with minimal careful use (remember he only uses it 30mins a day if that) Its delicate and not one of the games are educational, and IMO there are much better ways for a 5yr old ot entertain himself.

And I certainly would NOT allow him to take it on the school bus, I'd guarantee you would be out $150 the first day or two he brought it, because it would be stolen, broken, or lost. A 5yr old doesn't have the maturity to bring something like that to school with him. Plus the games are the size of a memory card, very small and easily lost.

I am sure he would LOVE one for Christmas. I got my 8 yo one for her bday and my 6 yo is getting one for Christmas. 5 1/2 is a fine age. He will be thrilled. Just watch age suggestions on the games you buy and he will do fine.

WOW that is a long bus ride for such a little kid - but that aside, you might see if there is a good shop in your town that sells used games - we have Gamers here and they sell everything you can imagine - and at very good prices - that way if you get him one and he gets tired of it you are not out a big price. Of course they may be some problems with other kids letting him play some of their games on it that you would not like him to play - so you will need to talk to him about that -

Most games for DS require that you can read. My neighbor got one for her daughters 6th birthday, and it sits and gathers dust. So when my daughter turned 6 we got her a Leapster instead, much more age appropriate, educational, and half the price! (game prices are similar though.) We did get our 9 year old a DS for her birthday.

At 5 1/2 your son would probably be able to play some of the games fine. Ours did not come with any games but some of them are bundled with one game. But, this is an expensive system and the games are very small in size and expensive too.

My son raised money (extra chores at home and odd jobs for neighbors, and a car wash!) and bought this one for himself. I have bought a few of the games for him. He was 10 years old when he got it. As a couple of other posters said though, I would never let him take his to school or on the bus. Its too expensive to lose and small enough to be stolen. Even at my sons age now (11 years old) he would end up losing it or part of it. He still manages to misplace it at home! I made him buy it himself because at the time he was asking for it, he couldn't find the Gameboy Advanced that he already had. So I figured raising/saving his own money for the DS would give him an extra sense of responsibility towards it because he worked hard for it. I also told him if he lost it I would not replace it (for financial reasons), he freaks out if he can't find it or part of it. He does do better with this one though, partly I think due to his age but also because we have the "no replacement clause" and he worked for it.

So to answer your question, yes I think he would be able to play it fine, but I would re-think the sending it on the bus/to school. I just have a hard time with sending a hundred and some dollar toy on the bus. Look into it and see what you think.


Last Christmas we bought a DS for our 6 year old daughter. We had an 8 year old son that already had one. They absolutely love it. The kids can play each other on the games. They can actually turn on the games and play 2-4 people on them. We also have a 3 year old son that plays the DS and has NO problems figuring out how to play. As long as the time is limited I think it's a great investment. They don't come with games. You have to buy them separately. That will cost you also. If your son doesn't know how to read yet you have to be careful which games to buy him. Some of the games require reading to get to the next level, etc. We bought "The Cheetah Girls" and "Hannah Montana" for our 6 year old and she doesn't play them because they require so much reading. Good luck with your choice.

my son had one age 6 - i think i like it more than him lol, seriously though he absolutely loves it, there are some games that are educational, some for pure fun, get the DSi if you can, it has some great features

My kids are 8 and 10 but they got their ds 2 years ago when they were 6 and 8. They have been a blessing for long car rides or doctors visits. We have a strict rule that they don't go to school. There are alot of kids who do take them to school and alot that get stole. If you don't want to spend the 130.00 on them go to a reputable pawn shop. I think it teaches kids responsibility. They know they have to put it up or their little brother will get it and we will not buy them a new one. We also have rules on playing it. They can have a half hour of play time a day and that's it except for car rides or doctor visits. I don't want them sitting playing all the time.

My son started playing with my husband's at 4-5. I agree, just look at the games and decide. My husband and I also play i t, there are some really cool games..brain games as well.I am not sure I'd let him take it to school, but if his ride is so long and other kids are taking it and you feel he can handle the responsibility, then it's entirely up to you. Good luck.

HI M.,
I have 2 older boys who had Nintendo DS and when they got older they didn't want to use them anymore so we passed them down to our yonger boy who likes to play with the DS when we go for long car rides, or when we know we are going to be somewhere for awhile it gives them something to do for a little while.
I don't think it's a bad idea for them to have one just has long as you give them a limit has to how long they can play the DS for.
Sometimes when u purchase a DS you can receive games with them, but i would keep an eye on the games that come with some can be out there. We just purchase the games seperate so we know for sure what we are buying.
Hope this helps a little.


My husband bought the DS for his bus ride to work, but my 4 year old loves it. I bring Mario Kart with to the Dr. for the long wait ect. I don't think your son it too young to enjoy a DS. If money is tight I do think it is to expensive to take to school, I'm wondering if there is a less expensive electronic game that would be a good tester to see how long it lasts. (I'm thinking it could get lost, taken away, or broken.)
A 40min bus ride is a long time and at that age there isn't a lot of home work to get done.
Hope this helps,

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