1. Parenting

Games for Kids to Play Alone

No teammates or opponents needed with these games for kids to play solo.

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Solo play needn't mean sedentary play. With these active games for kids to play by themselves, kids get some of the physical activity they need every day without having to find a play partner. I do recommend that moms and dads play actively with kids (it motivates kids and gets you some exercise too), but it isn't possible or necessary all the time. Suggest these games for kids to play alone when your child needs some physical play but has no one to play with.

Solo Ball Skills

boy outside playing basketball
Stockbyte/Getty Images

Does your child play basketball or soccer? He doesn't need his teammates to practice his skills. Shooting baskets is a great game for kids to play alone. So is practicing soccer skills like dribbling or shooting on goal. If you have a rebounding net, kids don't need a partner to play catch with a football or baseball. And a pitching machine is an inexpensive way for kids to put in some more baseball practice (batting or fielding).

The 7-Up Game

All your child needs is a ball and some open space for this classic, active game that challenges her to master increasingly complex skills.

Chinese Jump Rope

Pick up one of these inexpensive elastic loops and a how-to book and you've got a game kids can play alone or with friends. (To play alone, loop rope around the legs of a sturdy chair to hold in place.)

Racket Sports

Yes, tennis and badminton can be games for kids to play alone! Volley tennis balls off a wall, bounce them on the ground with the racket, or bounce balls and birdies up from a racquet held horizontally. How many can he get in a row?

Hula Hoop

Girl spinning hula hoop in backyard
Catherine Holecko
Kids can practice hula hooping indoors or out. Challenge them to count how many revolutions they can do or how long they can keep the hoop spinning without dropping it. Watch a few hooping videos online so your child can see a few tricks (like working the hoop from hips to neck and back down) and try to master them herself.

Dancing

All it takes is music, although games, such as Just Dance, or Zumba classes help kids build a repertoire of moves.

Going for a Ride

You'll need to set boundaries and make sure kids know and obey safety rules. But a bike or scooter ride makes a great solo activity.

Art Projects

Maybe your child can create his own game (to play alone or with others). These artsy ideas are physical activities, too.

Exergames

While you don't want your child to spend all her playtime in front of the TV, setting her up with some video games for kids to play will definitely get her moving (and may even inspire activity away from the TV, too).

Digging and Building

Got dirt, sand, or snow? Equip your child with some simple tools (shovels, pails, and maybe a few molds) and he just may spend a few hours crafting a castle, roadway, snow creature or even a flower garden.

Solo Balloon Volleyball

Set up a ribbon to act as a net, and blow up a balloon for a ball. Then challenge your child to play volleyball—on both sides of the net! She hits the balloon up and over the ribbon, then scoots under to hit it from the other side, and so on until the balloon wafts to the ground.

Sidewalk Chalk Games

Chalk can make hopscotch, mazes, obstacle courses, and much more.

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