Lately I’ve been playing a lot of card games with my son. I think he likes to play card games with me partly because of my superior card shuffling, with my specialty being the riffle shuffle.
Now, don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not teaching my six year old son how to play Texas Hold’em or five card stud. In fact, if you can believe it, I’ve never learned how to play poker! Instead we’re playing more kid-appropriate card games – even ones that I played when I was his age.
I like these games because they are a fun and easy way to get children thinking — teaching them about decision making, turn-taking and interpersonal social skills. I also like that you can use a standard 52 deck of cards for any of the games listed below and not have to go out and buy a million different kid card sets. We do have separate Crazy Eight and Old Maid card packs, but they both came in a goody bag take-aways from various birthday parties.
Crazy Eights – The precursor to UNO, Crazy Eights is a fast-paced card game where the object is to be the first player to get rid of all their cards. Depending upon how many players you have (from two to seven) you get dealt five to seven cards. The rest of the cards form a draw pile and you turn over one card to start the discard pile. Players get rid
of their cards by matching either rank or suit with the top card of the discard pile, starting with the player left of the dealer. If a player is unable to match the rank or suit of the top card of the discard pile and does not have an eight, they draws cards from the stockpile until they get a card that they are able to play. When a player plays an eight, they must say the card suit that the next player is to play and repeat the process all over again.
Go Fish – This is a great one for younger, pre-school aged card players who know their primary numbers. Depending upon how many people are playing, each player gets
dealt five to seven cards. The remaining cards are shared between all the players, sprawled out in a non-orderly pile called either the “ocean,” “pool” or “lake.” Players look at their hand and, when their turn comes, lay out any matching pairs of cards they may have. If a player has no matches in a hand, they must ask another player for a card they desire, to make a match with a card in their hand. If the other player doesn’t have that card, they will tell that player to “Go fish.” The first player draws a card from the center deck. The object of the game is to have the most pairs once the center pile of cards is gone.
Old Maid – I have to say that in our “politically correct” world, I was surprised this game wasn’t renamed “An Independent Confidant Woman Who Isn’t Afraid to Be Alone!” Ahem, I digress…To play this game you first need to remove three of the four queens from the deck, with the one that remaining called the “old maid.” All the cards in the deck are then dealt out. Players sort out their cards and remove any pairs. During each player’s turn they offer their cards spread face down to the player to their left. That player selects a card from your hand without seeing it, and adds it to her hand. If it makes a pair in her hand she discards the pair. The player who just took a card then offers her hand to the next player to her left, and so on. The goal is to get rid of all your cards. The player who is left holding the only queen aka the old maid loses.
War – The card deck is divided evenly among the two players, giving each a down stack. In unison, each player reveals the top card of their deck. This is called the “battle” and the player with the higher card takes both the cards played and moves them to the bottom of their stack. If the two cards played are of equal value, then there is a “war”. Both players play the next three cards of their pile face down and then another card face-up. The owner of the higher face-up card wins the war and adds all ten cards on the table to the bottom of their deck. Keep repeating this process until one player has no more cards. The player who gets all the cards, wins.
Now its your turn to share. What is your favorite card game to play?
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