Basic card games

10 kid-friendly card games

Playing cards is a fun way to teach kids basic skills such as counting, taking turns, strategy and being a good sport, of course!

Go Fish

Age: 7+
Number of players: 2+
Cards: Standard deck of 52 cards

How to play: Choose a “dealer” to hand out cards. If there are two or three players, each player is dealt seven cards. If there are more people taking part, each player is dealt five cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in a pile. This is the “fish pond.”

Each player sorts their cards into groups of the same number or suit (i.e. group of threes or group of kings), making sure not to show anyone. The “requester” (person to the left of the dealer) starts the game by asking another player for cards that will match his hand. For example, if the requester has two kings, he will ask the other player for kings. If the other player has these cards, he must hand them over. The requester continues asking the same player for more cards until the player does not have the cards he wants. If the player does not have the right cards, he can tell the requester to “Go fish.” The requester then has to take one card from the “fish pond.” The player who told him to “Go fish” becomes the new requester.

Anyone who collects all four cards of a set (i.e. all four eights or all four Queens) puts them face down in front of him. The winner is the first person to have no single cards left, only complete sets. If two people run out of cards together, the player with the most sets wins the game.

Crazy Eights

Age: 5+
Number of players: 2-4
Cards: Standard deck of 52 cards

How to play: In a two-player game, each player is dealt seven cards. In a game with three or four players, each player is dealt five cards. The rest of the deck goes facedown in a pile, with the top card turned up beside it. This is the discard pile. The player to the left of the dealer discards a card from his hand that matches either the number or suit of the top card in the discard pile. For example, if the card is a five of hearts, he could play any heart or any five. If he does not have a matching card, he continues picking up cards from the deck until he gets one that is playable. Eights are wild and can be put down on any suit. For example, an eight could be played to match a heart. The next player must match their card to the number or suit that the eight was meant to cover. Play continues with players matching the card at the top of the discard pile. The first player to use up all his cards wins. If the deck runs out before the game is over, the discard pile can be used.

Old Maid

Age: 5+
Number of players: 3+
Cards: Standard deck of 52 cards is used, but with one queen removed. This leaves a pair of queens in one colour and a single queen (the old maid) in the other colour.

How to play: All cards are dealt face down to players. Some players may have more cards than others, but this is okay. Each player sorts their cards into matching pairs of the same number or suit, keeping them hidden from other players. Players holding pairs of matching cards lay them down on the table face up. If anyone has three matching cards, he only puts down one pair and keeps the spare card. If anyone has four matching cards, he puts down two pairs.

The player to the left of the dealer offers his cards to the player on his left, who cannot see them. That player selects a random card from his hand. If the new card he picks matches any of the cards he already he has, he can put down the pair. If not, he keeps it. He then offers his cards to the player on his left. This continues until all the cards have been put down in pairs, except the Old Maid, which is left alone and cannot be paired. The person left holding this card is the old maid and loses the game.

War

Age: 6+
Number of players: 2
Cards: Standard deck of 52 cards

How to play: All cards are dealt to the two players and kept face down. Neither player must look at their cards. Both players turn over the top card of their piles and put them face up in the centre of the table, beside the other player’s card. Whoever has turned over the highest ranking card takes both cards and adds them to the bottom of his pile. This continues until two cards of the same value (i.e. two sevens) are put down together. The game is now in a state of “war.” To continue, both players take two new cards and put one face down on top of the card they have already placed in the middle and one face up. Whoever puts down the higher ranking face up card wins all six. The game is won by the player who collects all of the cards.

Concentration/Memory

Age: 3+
Number of players: 2+
Cards: Standard deck of 52 cards

How to play: Older children can use the whole deck of 52 cards, but younger children may want to use fewer cards. Make sure the deck you use is made up of pairs.

Shuffle and spread cards face down on a table between the players. Cards can be laid in a random pattern or in a grid. The object of the game is to find matching pairs. Players take turns turning over two cards and letting all the players see them and study them. If they are not a matching pair, try to remember what and where they are, then turn them back over. The next player turns over two cards. If they are a matching pair, that player removes them from the table and keeps them, and then has another turn. When all cards have been removed from the table, each player counts up the number of cards they have collected. The player with the most cards wins.
Snap

Age: 6+
Number of players: 2+
Cards: Standard deck of 52 cards. Two decks can be used for more than three players.

How to play: Choose a card dealer. This player deals all the cards around the group until there are no cards left. Some players may have more cards than others, but this is okay. Players do not look at their cards but keep them face down in individual stacks.

To begin, the player to the left of the dealer turns his top card over and places it face up next to his own pile. The next player does the same. (Note: If a player runs out of face down cards, he can shuffle his face up pile and use them.) This continues until a player notices that two cards on top of the face up piles are the same, such as two jacks or two sixes. The first player to notice and shout out “snap!” receives all cards in both of the matched piles and adds them to the bottom of his face down pile. The game continues with a new player turning a card over.

If two players shout “snap!” at the same time, they form a snap pool with the two matched piles of cards placed together in the centre. Play continues until someone turns up a card that matches the top card in the snap pool. Whoever shouts “snap pool!” first takes the whole pool and adds it to the bottom of their face down pile. If a player mistakenly shouts “snap!” he has two options: 1) give every player one card from his face down pile, or 2) his entire face down pile becomes a new snap pool. If a player has no more face up or face down cards he is out of the game. The winner of the game is the player with all of the cards.

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FAQ

avatar
Why are playing cards black and red?

black is contrast to white back ground
red is contrast to both white and black ; and also red is perfect colors for heart and Diamond

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