In almost all cases the programs don’t really want true administrative access; what they want is write acccess to some particular disk folders or registry keys which are normally read-only to all except admins.
So the trick becomes finding out which disk folder(s) and/or registry key(s) it needs to write to and then altering the access settings on those places, and only those places, so that your kids’ limited user accounts have write access there too. Once you do that, the app will run happily as a non-admin.
Yes, you are opening up the security door, but just a crack.
As to how you locate those places …
The typical technique is to log in as admin and temporarily change the kid’s user to also be an admin. Then log out & log in as the kid-admin. Then you install the app as the kid-admin.
Installing this way is more likely to succeed in the end than trying to use the “install for all users” option, which may or may not exist. A program that needs to run as admin already doesn’t play by the rules, so best to assume it’s totally clue-free on multi-user and user-not-an-admin operations. So install it as the user who’s going to run it.
Then you can make the kid a non-admin, log out, log in as the kid-non-admin & try running. In some cases that’ll work & you’ll be done. In other cases you’ll find the app still won’t run, or run right, as a non-admin. If so, we’ve got to do the long process. Which is …
Run the app as the kid-admin while also running Procmon. Procmon is a tool from MSFT (formerly from SysInternals) which can detect and log all file & registry writes (in addition to a thousand other things going on under the hood).
Within the subject app, you do things like change configuration settings and save them, stop & start the program, and do whatever other UI operations the program has which probably involve it saving state for next time. Then you analyse the procmon log to see where the program read from &, more importantly, wrote to.
Then you adjust the ACLs on those folders or registry keys to grant the kid’s account (by name) to have modify access (or full control). Then make the kid’s account a non-admin, log out, log in as the kid-non-admin, and try the program again.
If it all works normally, you’re done. If not, log in as the real admin, make the kid an admin again, log in as the kid-admin and try the failed actions while using procmon to log what’s going on inside. Use the log to see which settings need to be loosened, loosen them, un-admin the kid, log out, log in …
Lather, rinse, repeat. Per app the kids want to use.
I run as a low-priv user all the time myself and have done this for umpteen apps I use. In most cases it’s a simple matter of locating where the app stores its config info & opening up the access rights to that one folder or registry key.
Sadly, there is not a dirt simple tool (AFAIK) to automate this process of discovery & tweak. If you locate one, please post about it here.
ETA: or, as **jasg **said while I was typing, find another app which does play be the rules.