I’ve commented earlier that I always search for games that can include our whole 5 player family if it’s possible. But, there’s also advantages to play one or two player games. So, here’s my quick list of games in that category
Why play one player games?
- Most one player games increase your thinking skills in some way: spatial reasoning, deductive reasoning, logic.
- They can increase your child’s concentration levels.
- It’s a great activity to play when sitting in waiting rooms, cars, or other places where a sibling or parent might not be available to entertain you.
One player games
(Most all of these are Think Fun Games, if you’re not familiar with the company their solitaire games advance in complexity starting with simple and getting bigger)
Cover Your Tracks– This is a great game to work on spatial reasoning. You have to fit all of the plastic pieces on the board AND cover your footprints.
Solitaire Chess– A great way to learn the moves a chess piece makes while being challenged to think ahead to where your pieces need to be. I am not good at this, but then I’m not very good at chess either…..
Rush Hour– You are trying to move the police car (the red car) off the board.
PathWords– It’s scrabble and tetris in one game. I can’t quite decide if I think it’s brilliant or I’d be wanting to throw the game across the room.
Marble Solitaire– There are 2 million versions of this marble jumping game, my kids have one with Captain America and Sentinels. I picked this one because it was pretty, and not crazy expensive. Personally, I’d wander down the back aisle of Wal-Mart or Target and find a version there. That being said, this is a great game for logical reasoning and spatial skills as you jump your way to one marble.
Kanoodle– Recreate the picture on the card using the Kanoodle pieces. I’ve sat there and played this game many a time at our local game store.
Wooden Triangle Solitaire Peg Game– Don’t buy this version, pick one up at the dollar store. My kids love to play this game every time we go to Cracker Barrel.
Games of Patience: or, Solitaire with Cards– This is a book, which I recommend finding one like this, if not this one. You’ll find 100 or so card games in it, and this can keep your kid entertained for hours. Or it did me as a kid. We had the Hoyles book of Solitaire games, or maybe it was Klutz…….. Either way, it’s a good investment.
Why play two player games?
- They let your child experience competition with just one opponent, this is a different dynamic and is good to figure out how to cope with it.
- These games are perfect for the smaller family, and usually you already have the game, or can find it.
- With only one other player the strategy is often simpler, so it’s a good introduction to strategy.
Two player games
Mancala– This is a traditional African game (the post link is to an Ethiopian version), and depending on the rule variation has a simple strategy to it. If you follow the link you’ll get instruction on how to make and play the game!
Nim-I’d played a game like this with my brother and I didn’t know there was a name to it, now I do. You start with 15 or so sticks, rocks, what have you and take turns picking up items on your turn. The version I learned said you can only pick up 1 or 2, this version has different rules.
Chess, Checker and Backgammon– I included all of these together because you can usually find a set that will have all 3 games for not that much (this one is a super pretty wooden set, I love that tactile feel). These are good games to start to learn strategy.
Knightmare Chess– This is a fun variation on Chess, or that’s my theory. I gave it to Jeff a few years ago, and he did not think it looked as fun as I did. Since I can’t play it with the boys yet, I can’t give you a definite review.
Guess Who– This is one of the ones Princess really enjoys, and I encourage this because it teaches deductive reasoning
Most of the Cranium pre-school games are 2 player, but I’m having zero luck with finding them.
For more game ideas to play with your family, check out my pinterest board:
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