Honestly, I'd say the Switch is the most viable console for kids right now. You have your NES and SNES classics that are part of the service. It offers many of the same games that the Wii U offers (Toad Tracker, New Super Mario Bros) plus a lot of acclaimed new titles. Since it's basically a hybrid console, you'll also get mainline Pokemon games. And you don't have to worry about the wonkiness of some of the Wii U features.
I know you're trying to avoid it but it would be my recommendation. Or you could always just buy the NES and SNES mini consoles if you just want a simple 2 player system.
I know this is going to sound like an extremely stupid question axum but can I set up the switch as a home console and let the kids play with the pro controllers instead of the portable tablet-like controllers? Are all games playable with just a traditional controller and television-set? I'm afraid of purchasing games that are mandatory tablet.
Soren. Thank you for the amazing suggestions. I'm going to make the purchase tomorrow but thanks to axumblade, I'm considering the switch instead of WiiU. I'm assuming all the games you listed can be played on the switch?
The UAE just announced the shutdown of all non essential stores... so I'm going to have to do this sooner than I thought
I think every game should be able to be played in docked mode. You might have to detach the joycons controllers for games that require motion controls like Super Mario Party and Just Dance but otherwise, the pro controller works great for 99% of the library.
(Not sure if this was geared at me or not) All of the games I listed are available for the Switch. They have a decent amount of the Wii U library and likely more to come this year.
Here's a link to the NES and SNES games that are included with Nintendo's online service (which is really cheap compared to other systems).
Here's some of the popular family games.
The list doesn't include Animal Crossing and it is missing a lot of games that are popular with kids like Minecraft (then again...that's on every system almost). My neighbor and friends sometimes bring their kids over to play Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros or New Super Mario Bros.