Games for One Player

Hands-on, real-world games teach kids a lot of good things--sportsmanship, collaboration, problem-solving, conflict resolution and more. But, sometimes, if only one child is around (or wants to play) a stack of games won't provide any lessons or entertainment. And often that might lead to more screen time than is healthy. That's why I have put together a list of one-player non-electronic games, most of which can also be played by more than one player. 


Girl drawing Hopscotch board

Bryce Pincham / Getty Images

Hopscotch is a good single-player game because it provides a little physical activity too. And it gets your child outside! There are tons of different ways to play this old fashioned game. Plus the fact that it takes chalk to draw the game gives kids another thing to do when they get tired of hopping and turning.

One player or more, ages 3 and up


Playing solitare

Michael Pollak / Flickr / CC 2.0

Solitaire is the most obvious one-player game, but it is still a really good one for kids to learn. Once they know how to play, all it takes is a deck of cards. Kids benefit from playing solitaire with cards (as opposed to on a computer) because shuffling and laying out the cards helps fine motor skills. And they have to learn to resist the urge to cheat!

One player, ages 7 and up

Radica 20Q

20 Questions

Courtesy of Amazon

The typical game of "20 Questions" is definitely not a one-player game. But this nifty little electronic toy makes it one. Think of something, then hit go. It will ask you 20 questions and then take a guess to what's on your mind. And it is--amazingly--right most of the time! Shop Amazon

One player, ages 7 and up


I SPy Memory Game

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Of course, you can play this old game with just regular playing cards, but there are lots of options. And since I'm such a big fan of the I Spy books I highlighted this memory game but there are so many others. While it may be more fun with multiple players, this is a good single-player game to start little kids on. You can scale the difficulty level based on the number of cards you use. Shop Amazon

One to six players, ages 5 and up

Simon Trickster

Simon Trickster

Simon isn't exactly old-fashioned like hopscotch or solitaire, but the game has been around for a long time. I remember playing it as a kid! The Simon Trickster has a few new twists but basically, it's the same concept: follow the pattern of flashing lights until your memory gives out on you. Shop Amazon

One to four players, ages 7 and up


SET game

With multiple players, SET is a fast-paced card game that requires quick deduction skills. It's a good game to have for the whole family to play together. However, one player can play alone too.

The game helps children recognize patterns. The object of the game is to identify sets of three cards with three of the same characteristics. Each card has one of three symbols (squiggles, diamonds, ovals) in varying numbers (up to three), three colors and degrees of shading, so each card is unique. Shop Amazon

One player and up, ages 6 and up.



Courtesy of Amazon

Bananagrams is similar to Scrabble but with fewer rules. The object of the game is building words. Unlike Scrabble, you build your own chain of words with no one stealing your space for the perfect word, even in the multiple player version of the game. Basically, the idea is to see how many words you can build. Shop Amazon

One player and more


Classic Jenga

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Stack the hardwood blocks and see who makes the tower fall. While Jenga is meant for more than one player, one person can play alone and still have fun while perfecting his or her skills for when an opponent comes along. After all, it takes practice to have a steady hand to successfully pull a block from the bottom of a wobbly tower and place it on top. Shop Amazon

One to any number of players

Brainteasers and Puzzles Toys

Perplexus Original

Courtesy of Amazon

While many of the other games for one on this list are also good for more than one player, brainteasers and puzzles are another kind of game for one person. Browse a list of ​brain teaser games and puzzle books for more ideas on how to keep one kid busy.

By Laureen Miles Brunelli
Laureen Miles Brunelli is an experienced online writer and editor, specializing in content for parents who work at home.