Games or puzzles for kindergartener

Due to COVID concerns, we're keeping our not-quite kindergarten aged child home for this 2021-2022 school year. I work from home full-time, my partner is self-employed and also working from home, so our family spend basically all day together. We squeeze in "lessons" on letters/pre-reading, math, cooking, arts/crafts, sports (baseball and swimming mostly), and trips to the nature parks through out the week, but we're out of ideas for indoor puzzles or games that can be played by one child during the times when my partner and I both have to be on calls. Legos, marble run, and jigsaw puzzles can only carry us so far. 

Anyone can give me some good ideas? Our criteria:

Non-electronic games only. 

Games/puzzles that can be played by single child (assume 6 y.o.) or multiple persons.

Available for purchase online (doesn't have to be Amazon, actually prefer not...), either new or used.

We don't mind paying more for QUALITY toys if it will be engaging.   

We're not interested in games that require us to buy add-ons to make it worthwhile, or take up a lot of room, because we will likely be moving in about a year. 

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- Crankity by Fat Brains Toys

- Rush Hour Traffic Jam Logic Game

- Dog Crimes

- regular deck of cards

- Sleeping Queens (2+ players)

There are many wonderful educational games which can be found on an iPad.  Your child is at the ideal age to learn programming.

Oakland Public Library has a wide variety of toys and games for checkout (for free with your library card which is also free, in case it needs saying), and with automatic renewals, you can keep them for a couple of months. You can also put a hold on them through the website and then pick them up from your closest branch -- or you can go in and let your kid pick something out. The main library on 14th street has the most comprehensive collection. We checked out a set of Magnatiles a couple of months ago and our kid still plays with them every day.

Thinkfun makes a great series of solo-player games that my kids loved at that age. Rush Hour was a favorite. We also liked balance beans and gravity maze. All terrific. Cat Crimes is also great. All these are pretty compact and travel well.

I gave my son a book of instructions on how to play different versions of solitaire.

Personally, I loooooooove this game/activity called Turing Tumble. My kids don't like it as much as I do, but maybe your kiddo will be into it. It's a physical approximation of the way a computer works, and you build various configurations to complete challenges. You are working through each challenge as part of a narrative story in a book that comes with the game. It is pricey but pretty darn cool. (Whether or not it's great for a 6 year-old will depend on the 6 year-old.)

Over the years, I have gotten GREAT ideas from the toy/gift list on the website The Kids Should See This.

Look up Montessori games on Amazon or Google

Magnatiles combined with other toys/small cars



A friend of mine has an Instagram site called theteachablemoments. 
She is a former Special Ed teacher and a mom of two young girls. Check this site out for lots of fun, educational activities. Most supplies you will have at home. 

Most games for this age would require a grown up, not to mention that most games require 2 or more players anyway. So if you want something for your child to play by themselves, maybe focus on imaginative play like a toy kitchen or blocks? Or else art supplies to draw and color by themselves. I also highly recommend Fort Magic, which is a fort building kit. This saved us through the Pandemic by keeping all the kids occupied! A young child will probably not be able to construct this without help, but once built, it provides hours of fun. I bought white sheets for very cheap on Amazon and used them as walls.

Could it be that you don’t have Magnatiles yet?!  If not, you’re in for a treat. We actually prefer the “PicassoTiles” brand - excellent magnets, amazing durability, bright colors and great shapes, and slightly cheaper than the brand name “magnatiles”. Yes, sold by Amazon, but everywhere else too. They will keep your child occupied for hours. And they have staying power! They’re one of those great toys that grows with your kid, in that the older they get, the more complex and sophisticated structures they can build. Don’t mess around with a small pack - get at least the 100-pack to start with. Our 4 year old and 8 year old have two 100-packs, plus an add-on pack of some different shapes and it they always use them all and want more. Have fun!! 

When I was that age I could spend hours (okay, probably not hours, but it seemed like it) playing Memory by myself, where you flip over cards to find matches. Eeboo makes some pretty ones in different themes ( It can be a single-player game or you can take turns. I'm not sure what the age range is for Connexio (, but it's a wonderfully open-ended game. Lastly, it's not really a game per se, but my other favorite things to do by myself when I was that age were to make paper dolls (and endless outfits) and imaginary worlds (habitats for my toy animals, houses for my little people, etc.) out of boxes and scraps and things - maybe there are some similar solo crafty things your child would be interested in that don't have to be a "lesson" but just something they can pick up and self-direct.

Hi there,

How about dominoes (Hape has a nice wooden set), building Rube Goldberg-type machines, or systems?

Activity books with mazes, logic puzzles? Brain Quest books

Rubik's cube

Metal brain teaser puzzles (we get these from Amazon, but have also found them at games stores locally)

Teaching your child embroidery, and setting up a craft station

These are just a few ideas, but I'll keep thinking on it. : )

I'd like to recommend our local gem of a store, Toy Go Round, as a resource.  Not only do they have a selection of games and puzzles that are ideal for your child, but the staff is knowledgeable about child development and age-appropriate games.  Plus, you can take games and toys out of your home to sell on consignment there to make room for the new items!  They are in Albany on Solano Ave.

Tinker Toys & Lincoln logs, building train track set-ups, making an in-home or backyard obstacle course (with activities at each challenge), musical instruments like a keyboard/piano/accordion/autoharp, dexterity toys like yo-yo, hula hoop, paddle ball, & jacks; crafts like making god's eyes, doing 'embroidery' or making patterns with embroidery floss on fabric in a hoop (makes it way easier for child to handle fabric); problem-solving toys like Perplexus (maze within a sphere), shoot the moon (classic wooden base + 2 metal arms, trying to get metal ball as far as possible along track), pattern shapes (using geometric shapes to make other figures - there are sets of shapes and outlines of pictures to figure out how to array the shapes), mazes - solving readymade ones & making their own, sliding number puzzle (square with numbered tiles to try to array in various orders), books (picture books, simple fiction, gee whiz type like National Geo kids books - amazing animals, etc.).    These aren't all puzzles and games but they are ideas for a K kid to potentially entertain themselves for a while :)   

One more non-puzzle/game idea: my child got their 1st camera at age six and it has ended up being a many-years interest :)

We like this game called Izzi - it says for 8+ but my almost 5 year old can busy herself with it. Also this brand of toys (Think Fun) which makes has many cool learning / spatial puzzle games that we have found great.


I thought of a few more ideas:

Kinoptik City by Djeco- Kids have limitless creation possibilities with the various tiles

Pattern Play: Bright Colors by MindWare

Microscope- how about setting up a science study area, with different natural objects to explore?

Hope these are helpful to you,


Consider dor to dot books and word searches. There are all levels of these for kids, some category specific like animals.  Some supermarkets carry these in their magazine section, some toy stores and book stores, and of course online stores or maybe even downloads. Nothing too expensive, a nearly needs supply of options, they could color in the for to for image too! Counting, reading, and focus all while having fun!