The best VR sets for kids should have good sound controls, safe content available, and be light enough to not cause neck strain for smaller children. We put some of the most popular sets to the test, and here’s what we found.
Getting kids involved in this technology early opens many doors. The simulated environments can help build skills, be a fun way to learn new information, and of course be highly entertaining.
When looking for the best VR for kids, it’s important to consider their unique needs and interests. The simulated environments created by VR can sometimes be too complicated or detailed, or the headset will be too large and unwieldy.
To help you find the right model for your family, we’ve outlined four of the best options currently available. These combine quality technology with simple use and enough features to keep kids entertained.
1. Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality Headset
- Personal Viewing: The littlest, big...
- Viewing with Friends: Watch with...
- Portable & Easy to Use: Ready when you...
- Controller: Effortless control. Whether...
- Built-In Audio: Surrounded by sound....
The Oculus Go Standalone system is one of the few virtual reality headsets available which does not need to be connected to a larger gaming platform like a PC or console.
Instead, all of the technology is built into the headsets so kids can play their apps and games directly.
This white headset is comfortable and easy to fit around smaller heads. The foam interior reduces the buildup of sweat and moisture and can be fitted to better suit a broad range of individuals.
Oculus is one of the first and most advanced brands when it comes to VR, and it shows in the quality of its technology.
This headset is available in 32 and 64-GB models and uses a single controller.
The audio is built-in and is high quality. It improves the immersion experience. While pupil tracking technology is meant for an adult, we found it works well for children too.
A single controller is included with this VR headset. The controller is easy for kids’ hands to hold, but does not include a wrist strap or band for extra protection. A carrying case is also available.
Things We Liked:
- Good video quality
- High sound quality
- Suitable for kids
- Multiple memory options
- Includes a controller
- Includes a carrying case
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Limited memory and storage
- Speakers seem closer to the back of the head
- No wrist strap
2. BNEXT VR Headset Compatible Headset
- PERFECT GIFT FOR KIDS & ADULTS - This...
- VR SMARTPHONE COMPATIBILITY - Bnext's VR...
- ADVANCED VR GAMING TECHNOLOGY - This VR...
- COMFORTABLE, EXTENDED WEAR DESIGN - This...
- EXCLUSIVE VR CONTENT & ONLINE SUPPORT -...
BNEXT VR headset is suitable for younger children rather than older ones.
This VR is meant to connect to an iPhone or iPad rather than a PC or gaming console.
It allows users to see their favorite mobile games, videos, and other apps in a virtual reality setting at a low cost.
This VR headset is colorful and easy to set up and fits well around heads of all shapes and sizes. The exterior is made of durable plastic, so it is less likely to break when manhandled by children.
Extra straps are included on this headset so it can fit securely around smaller heads.
The video is good quality, and no audio is included. There is also no controller, so users instead use their hands to switch between apps and games.
Because this VR set is meant for children, the BNEXT has narrow pupil tracking and fewer points for movement tracking.
Overall, this is a simple and straightforward VR headset that is great for children of all ages. If your kid has expressed an interest in VR but you don’t want to get one of the more advanced options, then this is a great choice for your family.
Things We Liked:
- Can be fitted for children
- Simple and straightforward
- Compatible with most phones and tablets
Things We Didn’t Like:
- No audio
- No controllers
- Requires a second person to function properly
3. MERGE Cube and VR Headset Bundle
The MERGE Cube and VR Headset is an excellent combination and STEM toy for children of all ages.
MERGE creates sets dedicated to kids and their needs, and includes many games and educational programs designed to prepare children for higher learning and the STEM fields.
The Cube and VR headset are simple and easy to set up and can be used again and again.
The Cube, in particular, is great for helping kids find their way in virtual space and remain comfortable while trying out new technology.
The headset is strong and durable and designed to be used by kids.
The exterior can be cleaned to remove sticky messes and fingerprints. Plus, new games can be downloaded with ease.
The headset fits children of all ages and has a simple and friendly introduction to the field of virtual reality. The eye-tracking is reliable and the overall system is easy to control.
There is no audio included. To download new games and programs, you need to have a subscription with MERGE. You can then choose whatever apps you would like to explore with your kids.
We found that the online component is limited, so you don’t have to worry about your children having unprotected access to the internet – a feature that gave us peace of mind.
Things We Liked:
- Easy to use
- Cube helps kids find their way in space
- Easy to set up
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Needs a subscription service to use
4. Samsung HMD Odyssey+ Windows Mixed Reality Headset
- 3K anti-sde AMOLED display (2880x1600)...
- Direct Full Array Backlight 4X:...
- Access to Windows mr store and steamer...
- Premium, built-in AKG headphones w/360O...
- Adjustable headband, now 10% lighter...
The Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is designed to be used in conjunction with a computer or laptop.
It possesses access to the Windows mixed media library and is suitable for use with a broad range of games and systems, including Steam.
This system has high tech, including a 3K anti-sde AMOLED display (2880×1600) with wide 110O field of view.
The internal IPD is somewhat narrow, making it suitable for smaller children but also kids of all ages. We felt this was a good all-around set for us and the kids to enjoy.
This VR set also has access to the Windows store and can be connected to Steam if you currently have games in that library. Using a secondary store or system like this is convenient if you want a VR set that will be compatible with a broad range of games.
In terms of comfort, the Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is made with improved materials to increase the cushioning around the head, reduce sweating, and also reduce the development of red marks.
The interior has built-in AKG headphones for better sound and immersion. Plus, this kit comes with 2 months of an Infinity subscription and access to hundreds of VR games and apps.
The setup process is simple and easy, and there are two controls that can be held.
Bands wrap around the back of the hands and help keep the system in place.
In general, this is a cool and comfortable system with great visual quality and decent tracking. If you are looking for a great VR system for kids, then this is a good one.
Things We Liked:
- Great video quality
- Excellent sound quality
- Suitable for smaller heads
- Wide field of view
- Compatible with most modern computers
- Large field of view
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Clunky controllers
- Difficult to wear with glasses or contacts
VR sets are not simple. There are many features you need to consider before settling on a model for your kids, and also quite a few technological capabilities you should understand. Before choosing a set, consider the following features and understand what technology you currently have available.
Field of View (FOV)
Your field of view is going to be everything you are able to see while wearing the headset. This is important because it can affect how invested your kids are in the virtual reality environment, but having a broad field of view can also reduce motion sickness and discomfort.
Sometimes, though, having a limited field of view can help smaller children who struggle with the concept of a simulated reality.
Honestly, though, your field of view will not be the most significant feature to consider unless you really dislike having black bars or lines in your vision.
If you are comfortable with a couple of these, then you can choose a reduced field of view. This will help you invest more of your money in other special features.
Degrees of Freedom
Your degrees of freedom determine how much you will be able to move within the virtual reality and simulated environment.
When you have a larger number of degrees of freedom, more of your body’s movements will be tracked. Most VR sets can be divided between 3 and 6 degrees. These will be labeled as 3DoF and 6DoF.
The majority of inexpensive VR sets for children will typically only have three degrees of movement. This is because the technology is simpler and more suited for kids’ games.
These three degrees of freedom are less fluid and will typically not track the legs and lower half of the body.
If you choose to invest in six degrees of freedom, then you will have greater access to smoother movements and are less likely to experience motion sickness and similar problems.
However, this technology is more in-depth and less likely to be standalone.
A proper VR system will typically come with controllers that are held in the hands. These will determine the body’s movement, such as where the hands and arms go.
There are typically two controllers, one to be held in each hand. However, the style of controllers can vary.
One popular form of controller is a model that is just clutched in the hands. These look like sticks and are good, simple tools for kids.
Other controllers will wrap around the palms and fingers so users don’t drop them. These are more rare, though, and tend to come with more expensive, dedicated sets.
Finally, there is the IPD or interpupillary distance. This determines the distance between your eyes when wearing the headset.
Depending on the optical design of your chosen VR headset, having a wider or more narrow IPD will affect how comfortable the system is to use and wear.
In general, you will want a narrower IPD when shopping specifically for children.
Types of VR
Perhaps the most important feature to consider is the type of VR available and what type of technology it will be compatible with.
Most consumer-oriented VR equipment is meant to be compatible with a specific type of technology, whether it be a game console, computer, iPhone or iPad, or even just the headset itself.
These categories can be summarized as standalone, PC, and console.
If you are looking for a VR set for kids, then a standalone is one of the best options available to you.
These sets do not require any additional technology and will instead incorporate all of the necessary technology into the headset itself. You don’t need to worry about having any of the available preexisting technology such as a game console or a PC.
Most standalone sets will incorporate their own games and educational programs, so you want to make sure you have a headset that has the programs you will enjoy.
Many will also include controllers and their own technology that will read and track body movements. These are one of the best options for children, especially younger kids since you don’t have to worry about getting extra stuff.
A PC VR set will require a constant connection to a computer in order to work properly. To play the majority of games, you will need to have them downloaded and installed directly on the computer.
Many users prefer to use a preexisting PC gaming platform like Steam or Origin to download their games. You can then wear the headset and use the controllers while playing on the computer.
A console headset is one that works in connection with a popular gaming console such as a PlayStation or X-Box.
These need to have compatible technology in order for you to play games and connect with the programs you enjoy.
Most of these sets need to be purchased directly from the manufacturer or through a brick-and-mortar shop like GameStop or BestBuy.
Finally, before you purchase any VR set for your children, you need to know what technology you currently have.
For example, if you have a computer and you want to get a VR headset that will work with it, you must know what type of system and hardware you are working with.
You can check the type of hardware in your computer by either reading the manufacturer’s label or using a website that will read your system and give the data to you.
If you have a console, make sure it is modern enough to be VR-compatible. An old Xbox 360, for example, will not be able to handle virtual reality. A contemporary Xbox 1, meanwhile, will be much more suitable.
Best VR Brands
A major problem for moms and dads trying to find a good VR for kids is weeding through the junk and faulty models on the market.
Because the technology is hot and new, there are many manufacturers creating and selling deliberately defective products. While most of these aren’t harmful, it can be frustrating purchasing something only for it to not work properly.
To avoid this struggle, we recommend buying VR from a trusted company or brand. There are many manufacturers leading the field who create technology compatible with kids of all ages.
Some of the most ideal brands include Oculus, BNEXT, and MERGE.
Oculus began as a small company founded by specialists through Kickstarter, but would eventually go on to be acquired by Facebook.
This brand was one of the first interested in expanding head-mounted VR technology to include entertainment capabilities.
For example, the original headsets focused on making video games more immersive for a broad audience.
Oculus continues to be top of the line when it comes to VR, even for kids. These headsets include warranties and are available at multiple hardware levels and price points, so there is always something available for anyone.
BNEXT is a smaller technology brand that focuses on making state-of-the-art equipment and technology affordable. Their headsets and VR equipment tend to be smaller, lighter, and more comfortable.
They have many of the capabilities of more complex brands but are also more affordable and suitable for smaller children who are more likely to break their toys.
Plus, BNEXT is one of the only brands also willing to create VR headsets in multiple colors and with lower memory capabilities.
MERGE is one of the best brands to invest in if you would like VR for your kid.
They are a technological company that creates VR sets specifically for children as a form of education and entertainment. They often include their own games and simulations to teach kids about a broad range of subjects.
Combined with the Cube they create, MERGE allows children to experience 3D environments and enter a virtual classroom.
Some examples of the things available include simulated diagrams of the world and the earth’s core, and also the universe.
Q: Will my child suffer motion sickness from using a VR headset?
A: It is common for new users of VR technology to feel motion sick during their first uses. This is because being immersed in the virtual world can be disorienting since the body moves slightly differently than it would in real life.
To reduce the initial outburst of motion sickness, limit the time your child spends in VR during the first few sessions. Some recommend only allowing 30 minutes of continuous use a day for kids so they can become accustomed to their new toy.
Q: Do I need any other technology to work with these VR sets?
A: Sometimes. There are many different styles of VR available. Some are standalone machines that have their own worlds and games already uploaded into the headset. Others can be connected to a computer, iPhone, iPad, or game console to take advantage of the games there.
Remember to do your research and see what is available and compatible before making a final decision on a set.
Q: Is a lot of space needed for a kid to play with VR?
A: Yes. Because the VR headset places your child in virtual reality, they will not be able to see their surroundings.
To avoid injuries, most manufacturers recommend having your kid play in a room that has 6 x 6 sq. ft. free of furniture, toys, and other obstructions on the floor. This helps prevent tripping and similar injuries.
Q: Will VR hurt my kid’s eyes?
A: VR is designed to reduce eye strain and not affect long-term vision. However, it is normal to feel disoriented once the headset comes off.
To help reduce sickness and strain, limit how much your kid plays with the VR set during the first few days. This allows their body to adjust and become used to wearing the headset.
Q: Will my new VR set work on my computer?
A: Before purchasing any set for you or your child, it is important to make sure it will work with your current technology.
You need to know what kind of drivers and graphics cards you have and make sure the internal specifications match what is required to keep the VR set running properly.
If you are unsure of what is inside your computer, there are many websites that can read the information for you and tell you what works.
VR is a new and fascinating technology, and children are rapidly becoming intrigued by this new, virtual world. Out of all of the current headsets and VR options available for kids, our personal favorite is the MERGE Cube and VR Headset Bundle.
The Cube is educational for children and focuses on helping introduce kids to STEM fields, making it a great toy that will also teach your kids new skills and information.
If you would like a VR set focused solely on games, then the Oculus Go Standalone is a good choice. You won’t have to worry about exterior technology and can even benefit from the enclosed sound.