Abstract Children's goals for learning on their video game performance and patterns of attention were examined. Before playing a game, second- and fifth-graders were instructed to adopt an evaluative, process, outcome, or no specific goal focus while playing. Children were then interviewed about their game strategies and the game features they paid attention to while playing. Older children and more frequent players showed better performance. Among frequent players, process goal instructions facilitated performance. Younger children's interview references to process goals also were predictive of better performance. Their references to attention strategies, however, were predictive of poorer performance while older children's references to attention strategies were predictive of better performance. These findings highlight the efficacy of process goals for learning among younger and older children.