Be it the scorching heat, the winter chill, or the heavy rains, there are times when children must stay home for their safety. Staying home for long can get boring for the children, especially those that are fidgety and restless and try to sneak out and play.
To prevent that, you need a constructive plan that keeps them away from binge-watching television or playing video games. So here is a list of card games for children that can be both entertaining and educational. Card games can not only help with math skills, but also with memory and focus.
25 Best Card Games For Kids
1. Play or Pay
This easy card game for kids above three years. The objective is to do away with the cards as quickly as possible.
- The dealer distributes the cards equally.
- Cards played are arranged face-up in four rows and four suits. The first player may play any card.
- King holds the highest value and is at the top, and Ace has the lowest and is placed at the bottom. The top to bottom order should be King, Queen, Jack, ten, and so on, until two, and ace.
- Other players follow suit and build a sequence till all 13 cards of the same suit are laid down on the deck.
- Players must follow the pattern and keep playing the card as per the sequence on the deck.
- In case some players do not have the right card to play their turn, they have to pay up by putting candy in the pot placed at the center (that’s pay for no play!).
- The first player to have played all the cards wins the pot full of candies. For those that are health-conscious, payment can be fruit slices or other healthy snacks.
2. Peanut Butter and Jelly
Team spirit and communication are crucial to victory in this game, which is also called Kemps. This game must have an even number of people.
- Make random pairs and ask the teams to secretly decide a sign that tells the other player they have four of a kind.
- Deal four cards to each player and lay down four cards face down on the deck.
- Players get to swap one card from the main deck to make four of a kind. The face-up cards are replaced each time a player swaps them.
- If a player manages to discreetly signal the partner that he has four cards of the same suit, the partner may call out “Peanut Butter!” and the team wins.
- In case the player is caught red-handed by a team while signaling, the team may call out “Jelly!” to win.
3. Card Dominoes
A classic game of cards known as Sevens, Parliament, or Fan Tan, Dominoes is suitable for children above six years and can be played between two or more people.
- The cards are distributed, and the players are expected to put their cards into sequences for each suit.
- The player with the seven of diamonds places it face up in the center.
- Every player then adds a diamond card to the sequence either above or below, to make a set.
- The higher ones are to be placed left to the seven and lower to the right.
- Once done with the diamonds, players can form sets of other suits to continue.
- Those without a suitable match may skip their turn.
- The one player with all their cards used up wins.
4. Chase the Ace
Best played amongst four or more players, this is a fast game and requires instant decision-making skills.
- Right at the start, each player is given a pre-set number of lives. The challenge is not to own the card with the lowest value.
- The dealer gives one card, face-down, to each player who may choose to hold onto it or pass it to the next player.
- The card with any face value ranging from ten to higher is more valuable and is ideal for holding.
- Cards with the lower value may be switched with the players next in line, or, if discarded, the player may draw a new card.
- The player with an ace, considered to be the highest, cannot be forced to desert his card despite the demand to do so.
- The one who owns the lowest score face card after a round runs out of lives and gets disqualified.
5. Rascals and Royalty
This strategy game is best suited for children over the age of eight. A minimum of three players and a maximum of eight can play it together. The highest rank in the deck is held by two, followed by Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and ten to three in the decreasing order.
- The first player puts forth a card, or a set of similar ranking cards face up.
- The next in line may play the same number of cards with a higher rank or pass.
- The game goes on till three players, back to back, fail to compete with the previous cards.
- The first to have played all the cards is tagged as ‘Royalty,’ and the one left with cards till the end is a ‘Rascal.’
A game of patience, this can be played by a maximum of five players above six years of age. In this game, the cards are ranked by face value – cards in the same suit form the sequence.
- Shuffle the deck and deal out equally, placing each card face down.
- The first player should place for the card with the least value face-up.
- Next, the one with the card in sequence of similar suit plays.
- The game continues until the ace of the suit comes in.
- The player with a card that cannot be followed further gets another turn.
- The one left with no cards wins.
This party game is ideal for children above the age of four and can be played by large groups having four to 13 participants!
- Organize cards so that each player has a set of four cards. For six participants, the total number of cards will be 24. The rest may be put aside.
- Shuffle and deal out four cards to each.
- The children then start passing the cards one by one until they continue receiving from the player before them.
- The player who collects a set of four similar cards puts the finger on the nose.
- The others immediately stop passing cards and immediately put their finger on the nose’.
- The last to do so is the pig!
This educational card game for children is based on calculations, making it a suitable card game for six-year-olds. About two to ten players can take part at a time in the game at a time.
In this game, the aces add up to one or 11 points, jacks, kings, or queens are ten each, and the rest are taken at face value.
- Deal out two cards to each participant. They can stick to the two or ask for more until it is a minimum of 18, but not more than 21.
- The one who cards add up to a higher number than 21 gets disqualified immediately.
- Once all are stuck, the one with a hand closest to 21 wins the game.
9. I Doubt It!
Become aware of your children’s lying potential with this strategy game ideal for three to six players over six years old.
- The deck is dealt out without the Joker.
- The one with the Ace of Spades card begins the round by placing the card face down in the center.
- The next let out the 2’s, in the absence of which, can put forth any other card to keep going.
- Similarly, consecutive players put down 3’s, 4’s, and so on, all face down.
- The player who accuses someone of bluffing may call out, ‘I doubt it!’.
- If the guess is right, the accused needs to take in the entire middle stack.
- On the contrary, if the guess falls apart, the caller has to pick the stack.
- The player who is done playing all the cards becomes the victor.
10. Old Maid (Donkey)
The game is meant for children aged above three and is fun playing with three or more players.
- A random card from the pack is picked and kept aside before the rest are dealt out equally.
- Each player needs to match up cards of the same value or color they have and place them face down in front of them.
- The first player then shows the remaining cards to the next player who chooses a card from there.
- If it matches with the second player’s stock, the pair has to be placed face down.
- The game continues until one of the players loses by being left with the card whose match was initially put aside.
Menagerie is a fun card game for kids over six years old and can be played by four or more children.
- Each child needs to choose an animal, write its name on the paper, fold it, and put it in a basket.
- They may take turns to pick a chit. They own the animal mentioned in the chit for the entire game.
- Deal the cards in a clockwise manner face down.
- The first player needs to pick a card and build a face-up pile. Every player follows suit.
- When one player notices another player’s card matches theirs, the name of the other player’s animal has to be called out thrice.
- If the call is right, the player may claim the entire face-up stack of the other.
- A wrong call has to be paid with the caller’s own face-up stack.
- One who gets all the cards finally wins.
12. California Speed
The two-player card game for kids aged six and above needs them to be agile and quick as they try to be the fastest ones to get rid of the cards.
- Cards are distributed equally among the players, and each player places forth four cards face-up.
- Both players have to find cards that match any they have, like two fours, two queens, and so on.
- If a match is found, they must immediately cover that card with a card from their stack.
- With new cards on the pile, players continue to look for new matches and match them as fast as possible.
- Once all the eight piles are stacked up with unmatched cards, each player may pick up and add the four piles in front of them to the bottom of their stack.
- The game continues till one player runs out of cards to win.
Slapjack is for three to four children at least over four years old.
- Shuffle and deal out the whole pack equally among the players.
- Each takes turns to flip the topmost card in their set and place it face up to create another pile for themselves.
- In case one of them flip over a jack, everyone will compete to put their hand first on the card calling out ‘slapjack!’
- The one to slap first gets to win the entire pile, which they then may shuffle and add up to the bottom of their original pile.
- If any player slaps a card that’s not a jack in excitement, the player whose card is slapped deserves another card from the player who slapped.
- The player left without any cards gets one more chance to continue until the next jack is flipped. If they fail to ‘slapjack’ it, they are left without a pile and are out of the game.
14. Go Fish
This is one of the most popular card games for four-year-olds. It can have a maximum of four players.
- After shuffling, the dealer gives seven each for two, six for three, and five for four players.
- The rest are randomly placed in the middle.
- The first player asks another whether the player has any card of a specific value.
- If the player has a card with a similar value, it should be handed over.
- After that, the first player takes another turn.
- In case any participant fails to match the call, the player can ask the caller to ‘Go Fish.’
- The caller then picks any card from the middle. Every time any player gathers four similar cards, they are added to their winning deck.
- The person with the most sets of four cards wins.
15. Happy Family
A simple card game for kids over four years old in which a minimum of two and a maximum of four players can participate at a time. The idea is to collect the entire family of a particular color. It is similar to Go Fish but is played with a deck of Happy Family cards.
- Each player gets six cards.
- The player to the dealer’s left starts by asking the next player for a specific card.
- If the player has it, they must hand it over to the one who had asked for it. If not, they can tell them to ‘pick a card.’
- If the player who asked for the card picks the card they asked for, they must say ‘lucky dip’ and continue another turn. Otherwise, the next player gets to ask.
- Thus, the game continues until one person collects four cards of the same family and calls out ‘Happy Family.’
16. My Ship Sails
This card game is for kids aged six years or above and can be played by four to seven players.
- The aim is to sort the cards by their suit in secrecy and strategize to collect a particular suit, which can be decided based on the cards picked.
- Shuffle and deal out seven cards to each player and put the remaining away.
- At every turn, the players put one unwanted card face down, which the next player picks.
- The player with all the cards of a suit wins and yells, “My Ship Sails!”
Two to four players can play this game of luck and skill.
- Each player is dealt four cards face-down.
- The players aim for a lower total than the opponents’ cards.
- The winner is decided based on the score of nine rounds.
The players may only look at any two out of the four cards they possess and are unaware of the other players’ cards.
An exciting and educational card game for children above four years of age, Scat could improve their calculation skills.
This game is similar to golf, but players draw and discard the cards while aiming to score higher than their competitors.
A player scores only when all the cards in his stack are of the same suit.
19. Crazy Eights
The crazy eight card game for kids is perfect for a group of five children, all above the age of four.
The core idea is to strategize and let go of all the five cards before the other players.
- Each player is dealt five cards, and the remaining stack stays in the center.
- The top card of the pile needs to be flipped to create a faceup pile.
- Every player takes their turn to match the suit or number of the face-up card, else- play an eight.
- The one playing eight gets to choose which suit the player next will play.
- The player who finishes the earliest wins.
20. Snip Snap Snorem
Two to ten players aged above four may participate in the game.
- After the cards are dealt equally, the first player chooses to place any card right in the middle, face-up.
- If the next three consecutive players can match the card, they call out ‘Snip! Snap! Snorem!’ one after the other.
- The player who calls last starts the next round.
- The player who loses all the cards fastest wins the game.
This is a double player game, in which each owns half the deck face-down right at first.
- Each player flips one card each, and the one with the maximum points gets to hold both.
- When both cards match, it becomes a ‘war,’ and players may continue with three cards face down, followed by one face-up.
- The one with the highest score wins all the ten cards.
- The war card game for kids goes on till one of the players runs out of cards entirely.
This fun card game for kids aged three or more can be played by up to four players. It is a great game to teach focus and strengthen memory.
- After dealing out equally, each player takes a turn to flip-over two cards.
- If the pair matches (in color or value, as decided at the beginning of the game), they win it and get another turn.
- If not, it is the next player’s turn.
- The one left with the maximum cards wins.
23. Kings in the Corners
Luck and skills are what the children need to play this game designed for a minimum of two and a maximum of four players, each above five years.
- Shuffle and deal seven cards to each player.
- The top four cards of the remaining deck of cards are turned face up and placed in four sides – North, East, West, and South.
- The first player starts the game by drawing a card from the pile and plays to discard the cards in their hand if they form a sequence with the four cards.
- Each player can discard as many cards as possible in one go. When they have no valid moves, the next player gets a turn.
- The first one to play out all cards wins.
A card game for eight-year-olds, this can be played amongst three to 13 players. The ultimate deal is to put together four cards of a similar suit.
- Organize four cards of the same suit for each player before dealing out.
- At a point, each player should have a maximum of four cards.
- Place as many spoons as players, minus one, in the center.
- Players may choose a card from their hand and pass it to the next.
- If any player has four cards of the same suit, they may take a spoon and place it in front of them.
- The last one to grab the spoon is disqualified.
- The two players who continue playing till the last round are the winners.
Snap is a card game for kids ideal for children over three years and is played best with three or more players.
- Divide the cards equally and ask everyone to place it face down.
- The idea is to match the cards with the ones in the center pile that the first player starts building.
- Everyone takes turns to turn over the card at the top of their pile and add it to the center.
- The moment two cards match, the first player to tell ‘snap’ wins all the cards in the center pile.
- Those who run out of cards get disqualified.
Kids’ card games can keep the little ones busy while aiding in their overall cognitive development as they strategize and play the game to win. Organizing, strategizing, and spontaneous decision-making are integral to children’s card games and may help your child’s general skillset and social skills go a notch higher.
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