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Before you go dealing your seven year old in to your late night Texas Hold ’em tourney, consider a more age appropriate game. There are hundreds of kids card games on the market, and even more kids card game possibilities using cards you already own.
Card games are a great way for kids to practice visual coordination, math skills, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. I remember my grandfather teaching me to play card games and dominoes from a very early age, and I’m glad for the experience mostly because I learned all of his tricks. Besides being a great educational experience, playing card games is a time set aside for just you and your children.
While you can spend a ton of money buying themed card decks or pre printed decks for kids card games, there are plenty of games you can play with a standard deck of cards.
Here are the basic rules for three classic kids card games.
Go Fish uses a standard 52 card deck
The object of the game is to collect the most sets of four identical cards.
Go Fish has very few rules, making it ideal for younger children as well as experienced card players.
Go Fish has a very simple premise and can be picked up in very little time.
Go Fish is best with between three and six players. Each player is dealt five cards, or seven cards if playing with less than three people. The remaining cards in the deck, called the stock pile, are put on the table.
The object of the game is to collect the most books (a book in Go Fish is four of a kind). Play usually starts with the person to the dealer’s right, or you could flip a coin or choose randomly.
You begin by picking another player around the table and asking that player if they have a card that you need. For instance “Do you have any threes?” If the person has threes in their hand, that player must hand over all the threes in their hand to the player asking.
If the person does not have any of the requested card, then they say “Go Fish.” The player then has to draw a card from the deck “fishing” for the card they want.
Play moves to the next player and repeats over and over until a winner is established. You are required to ask for cards that you already have in your hand no asking for cards that you can’t form a book with.
The game is over when one player runs out of cards or the stock pile is gone. The person with the most sets of cards is the winner.
War is the first card game that many people remember learning. It is a simple matching game but can be played with very little effort and a lot of excitement.
War is a “battle” between two players using a standard deck of playing cards. Remove the jokers from the set and you’re ready for War.
Deal all cards evenly between the two battling players. Each round of the game is made up of two cards the opponents flip over the top card of their pile and compare. The person with the larger value card takes the two revealed cards and places them on the bottom of his/her pile. Remember that in War, Ace is the highest value card while the 2 is the lowest value. Remember also that the suit of a card has no significance in the game of War.
If the two cards are the same value, then “War” is declared War is a side game to determine the winner of the original matching cards. During a “War”, players lay two cards one face down and the next card face up. The player with the higher card value after this flip takes the cards as well as the original identical cards.
If there is another tie after the the first War is played, then another War takes place until there is a clear winner. The winner then takes all of the previously tied cards and adds them to their deck. Since the object of War is to collect all the cards, “Wars” can be really profitable.
Game play continues until one person has all of the cards and is declared the winner.
Combining kids love of games with their love for slapping things, Slapjack is the ultimate in kids card games.
Slapjack is best with higher numbers of players though eight seems to be the top end.
Using a standard deck of 52 cards, deal out all the cards to all of the players. It doesn’t matter if all players do not have the same number of cards, just deal them out.
Players should not look at their cards. It helps if everyone makes their cards into a stack the game will move much more smoothly.
The play moves clockwise, and people should take turns going first. The first player places the top card from their deck face up into the middle of the table. The next person does the same. Play continues like this until a Jack appears.
When you see a Jack, any Jack, the first player to slap their hand onto the Jack takes the entire stack of cards beneath the Jack and adds them to the bottom of their stack.
The fun part is there will always be at least two people slapping for the Jack, but the first hand down is the one that wins. Play continues like this until a player has all of the cards in the deck.
Slapjack played this way is pretty simple you can add house rules like “Jacks and 8s” or “Slap Red Jacks”. The original version is good for younger children who may have a tough time remembering more rules.
Remember that if a player slaps a card that is not a Jack, there is a kind of “penalty”. The person who slapped the wrong card must give the person whose card they wrongly slapped the top card from his/her deck of cards.