Some children have forgotten, in this day of computers and video games, how much fun it is to play with a simple deck of cards. Additionally, some children have never played card games.  It is up to those of us who remember the hours of fun we had as children to get them away from their computer and video games and teach them some of these old favorites. Card games are educational, teach social skills, and are just plain fun. This article will present fun card games for kids, with all the rules necessary for playing, plus some variations to add variety to even the easiest, most common card game.

Card Games for Kids

Cards decks are inexpensive and portable, making it possible for families to enjoy a game together anywhere. Kids can play in groups at school and some games are designed to play alone. Card games for kids provide hours of fun.

 Card Games for Kids

Beggar My Neighbour

Beggar My Neighbour provides a great deal of excitement, because it is played with a time limit.

Number of Players: Two to six

Age Range: Six and up

Cards required: For two or three players – one standard deck of cards. Two plus players – two standard decks of cards

Instructions:

Deal all of the cards one by one, around the group. Some players may have more than others may, which is fine. Each player collects his cards and puts them in a facedown pile, not looking at them.

The person to the left of the dealer places his top card face-up in the center. The game moves around clockwise, with each player adding one card to the central pile until someone turns up an ace, jack, queen, or king. The player who turns up one of these cards can demand payment from the next player:

  • An ace earns four cards
  • A king earns three cards
  • A queen earns two cards
  • A jack earns one card

The payment cards are each placed on the central pile. If an ace, king, queen, or jack is turned over, then the next player to the left has to pay the required amount of cards. This continues until a payment is complete without aces or court cards. The last player who turned up an ace or court card takes the entire central pile and puts it at the bottom of his own. This last player starts the next round, and the game begins again.

How to win:

The winner is the player who goes out first by using up all his cards.

If you wish, you can play with a time limit. Then the winner is the player with the fewest remaining cards when time runs out.

Go Fish

Go Fish is a card game younger children will love. Older kids can practice learning to memorize what cards other players have.

Number of Players: Two or more

Age Range: Seven and up

Cards required: Either a standard deck or a special “Go Fish” pack can be used.

Instructions:

Dealing depends on the number of players participating in the game.

  • If there are two or three, deal each player seven cards.
  • If there are more than three players, deal each player five cards.

Place the remaining cards face down in the middle of the playing area to form the fish pile.

Players sort their cards into groups of like cards (numbers, pictures, etc.). The person to the left of the dealer plays first, asking another chosen player for a card to match those in his hand. If the player from whom he requests cards has the requested card, they must hand them over. Then the requester asks the same player until he is told to “go fish,” because he has no more cards the requester is asking for. The requester must then draw a card from the fish pile and the person who told said, “Go fish!” plays next.

When a player collects all four of the same cards in a set, he puts them face down in front of him.

How to Win:

The winner is the first person to have nothing left in their hand and have a collection of complete sets. If two people run out of cards at the same time, the player with the most sets wins the game.

Memory

Memory is also known as Concentration. This fun card game can be adapted for all ages and abilities – from very young children to adults. Additionally, teachers like this game for improving memory skills and concentration.

Number of Players: Two or more

Age Range: Three and up

Cards required: One standard deck of cards, adapted as appropriate for age and ability. You can select any number of cards for playing.  You can also use pictorial cards learning cards (colors, numbers, alphabet, etc.).

Instructions: Shuffle the cards and spread them face down on the table between the players. For younger players, lay the cards out in a grid as it makes it easier to remember where the cards are. For older children, use a random arrangement.

The object of the game is finding matching pairs. To do so, you need to remember where the cards are when they are turned over.

Players take turns turning over two cards. It they are a matching pair, the player keeps the pair, and gets to go again. Of not, play passes to the next player.

How to Win:

When all cards have been paired up and removed from the playing area, each player counts the number of cards they have collected. The player with the most cards is the winner.

Variations:

Solitaire version:

Players count how many “turns” it takes them to complete the game and try to beat their record.

Leave a card out:

You can make the game a little harder for older children by leaving one card without its pair.

Rolling Stone

Even though this game can be frustrating, it is still great fun. When a player thinks they are about to win, they end up back at the beginning.

Number of Players: Four to six

Age Range: Six and up

Cards required:  One standard deck.  Six players: Twos removed. Five players: Twos, threes and fours removed. Four players: Two, threes, fours, fives and sixes removed.

Instructions:

Aces are high. The players cut the deck and the highest card deals eight cards to each player, dealing clockwise.

Players sort their cards by suit and the player to the left of the dealer plays one card face-up. The next player must play a card of the same suit. Play continues until a player cannot play a card, at which point they have to pick up all the face-up cards and add them to their hand. The player who picks up the face cards starts the next round with one of their cards of a different suit.

How to Win:

The winner runs out of cards first.

 

Snap

A popular, noisy game that is likely go on forever. Quick reflexes are necessary, as well as sharp observation. Especially fun as a family game.

Number of Players: Two or more

Age Range: Six and up

Cards Required: A standard deck. Use two decks for more than three players.

Instructions:

Deal out all the cards, face-down. Players do not look at their cards; they set them in a stack in front of them, face down.

To begin, the player to the left of the dealer takes his top card, turns it over, and places it face-up next to his own pile. The next player does the same, starting a pile of his own.

Play continues until a player notices that two cards on top of any of the face-up piles are the same. Whoever notices this, shouts, “Snap!” The first to do so receives all the cards in both of the matched piles and adds them to the bottom of his facedown pile. The game continues, with the person to the left of the winner continuing play.

If, at any point, a player runs out of cards in his face-down pile, he simply overturns his face-up pile and starts again.

If two players shout “Snap!” at exactly the same time, the cards form a snap pool. The two matched piles of cards are placed together, face-up, in the center of the paying area. Play continues as normal, until someone turns up a card which matches the top card in the snap pool. Whichever player shouts “Snap pool!” fastest takes the whole pool.

If a player incorrectly calls “Snap!” at any point, they must give every player one card from his face-down pile.

When a player runs out of both face-up and face-down cards, he is out.

How to win:

Get all of the cards.

Variations:

  • Easy Snap: For younger children, play with one central, face-up snap pile. Players take turns adding a new card to the snap pile until the top card matches the one beneath it. The first player to shout “Snap!” takes the whole center pile and adds it to the bottom of their own face-down stack. If a player runs out of cards, he is out. The player who ends up with all the cards, wins.
  • Speed Snap: This very fast version of the game, everyone turns their cards over at the same time, instead of taking turns.

 

Snip, Snap, Snorem

Another card matching game, this one is suitable for mixed age groups and younger children.

Number of players: Three or more

Age: Four and up

Cards Required: Standard deck of cards

Instructions:

Deal out all the cards. Some players may have more cards than others, which is okay. Have players sort their cards in their hands by rank.

The player to the left of the dealer begins by setting any card down on the table. The next player checks his hand to see if they have a card of the same rank. If he does, he places it on top of the card and says, “Snip!” If they have another card of the same rank, they play it also, saying, “Snap!” They can play again if they have another card of the same rank, saying, “Snorem!” The turn passes to the next player when a player does not have a card of the same rank. The player who is able to say, “Snorem!” gets to start the next round with a card of their choice.

How to Win:

Be the first to get rid of one’s cards. Easier to do if players lead with a card rank they have more than one of.

 

Easy Card Games for Kids

Easy Card Games for Kids

Old Maid

A popular, easy card game for kids, OId Maid makes a good introductory card game for kids. Old Mad is also called “Pass the Lady.”

Number of Players: Three or more

Age Range: Five and up

Cards Required:

A standard deck of 52 cards is used with one of the Queens removed leaving a pair of Queens in matching colors and a single Queen – the Old Maid – in the other color.

Instructions:

Deal all the cards face down. Some players may end up with more cards, which is just fine. Players sort their cards into pairs and keep them hidden from all the other players. The players sort their cards into pairs, still keeping them hidden from the other players. Pairs are placed face up in front of each player. If someone has three cards, they keep one until they have a pair. Four matching cards create two pairs.

The player to the left of the dealer fans his cards in his hand, keeps them hidden from the other players, and holds them in front of the player to his left, so that he can take a random card. Play continues in the same manner, with players setting down pairs whenever they can until all of the cards have been put down in pairs. The person left holding the Old Maid loses the game.

Variation:

Le Vieux Garcon – “Old Boy”

The French version of the game, with only the Jack of Spades – the Old Boy. All the other Jacks are removed.

How to Win:

Do not be the person left holding the Old Maid or Old Boy.

 

Crazy Eights

A game for kids of any age, this game can be more challenging if you record points.

Number of players: Two to four

Age Range: Five and up

Cards Required: A standard deck of cards

Instructions: Deal the cards as follows:

  • Two players, deal seven cards to each player.
  • Three or four players, deal five cards to each player.

The remainder of the cards form the draw pile. Turn over one card to begin the discard pile. The player to the dealer’s left must match the top card on the discard pile in number or suit. If a player does not have a match, they may play an eight and name the suit in play. If a player has neither a match nor an eight, they must draw until they get one.

Variations:

You can make the game longer by adding up the cards remaining in the losers’ hands and giving the points to the winner: 10 points for each face card, 50 points for each eight, and face value for the other number cards. Play continues to 200 or another designated point level.

How to Win:

The first player to discard all their cards wins.

 

My Ship Sails

A game that is the most fun when played at high speed, this easy card game is fun for kids of all ages.

Number of Players: Four to seven

Age Range: Six and up

Cards Required: One standard deck of cards

Instructions:

Deal each player seven cards, one at a time and face down. Set the rest of the deck aside, as it is not needed. Players attempt to collect seven cards from the same suit (e.g. seven hearts). Players keep their cards hidden, sort their cards by suits, and decide which suit to collect. A player may change their mind about what suit to collect as the game progresses.

To play, each player puts an unwanted card face down on the table and slides it to the player on the right, who picks it up. Players should try to pass and pick up at the same time. When a player’s hand consists of all one suit, they shout, “My Ship Sails!”

How to Win:

Have a hand that is all one suit and shout “My Ship Sails!”

 

Slapjack

An easy card game, suitable for very young children, who may need supervision to avoid arguments. This game can get wild!

Number of players: Two to five

Age Range: Five and up

Cards Required: Standard deck of 52 Cards

Instructions:

Deal the cards out completely, face-down. Players may have an uneven number of cards, which is fine. The player left of the dealer begins by turning the card on the top of his pack face-up in the center of the table. Play continues with each player adding one card to the face-up pile, until somebody turns up a Jack. All the players try to be the first to “slap” their hand over the stack. Whoever gets their hand there first, takes the pile and adds it to the bottom of their pack.

The player to the left starts a new face-up pile, and play continues.

If you lose all your cards, you have one more chance to stay in the game, if you succeed in slapping the next Jack that appears first. If you miss, however, you are out of the game for good!

How to Win:

The last person left in the game is the winner.

 

War

A game with hardly any rules to complicate the game, War makes an easy introduction to card playing for kids.

Number of Players: Two (three with the variation given)

Age Range: Six and up

Cards Required: Standard deck of 52 cards

Instructions:

All the cards are dealt and kept face down. Player are not to look at their cards.

Both players turn over the top card in their piles and put them face-up in the center of the playing area. Whoever has turned over the highest-ranking card, of any suit, picks up both cards and adds them to the bottom of his pile.

Play continues until two cards of the same value (e.g. two 6s) are turned over at the same time. “War” commences. Each player takes two more cards. puts 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 cards. Play continues until one has all of the cards and wins.

Variation:

War for Three:

Do not give out the last card so that all three players have the same number of cards. If two cards of the same rank are turned up, all three players go to “War.”

If three cards of the same rank are turned up, the players play “Double War.” Players put two cards face-down in the center and one card face-up. If the cards happen to match, they continue with “Single War”.

How to Win:

Collect all the cards.

 

Sequence

Another easy card game for kids, this game does require concentration and patience.

Number of Players: Two to five, but best with four to five

Age Range: Six and up

Cards Required: One standard deck.

For younger children you can remove the picture cards and run each suit sequence from 1 (Ace) to 10.

Instructions:

In this game, cards are ranked in numerical order from two to ten, and from Jack through Ace. A sequence is cards in order of the same suit.

To begin the game, deal the entire deck clockwise and face down. Players may have an unequal number of cards, which is okay.

The player left of the dealer places the lowest card in his hand face up on the table. Any player with the next card or cards in the sequence of the same suit plays the cards they can. Players continue playing until the Ace of the suit is reached.

Another sequence is started by whoever played the last card, again with the lowest card.

If at any time a player plays a card that cannot be followed (because the higher cards in that sequence have already been played), he gets another turn.

Variation:

Rounds:

Create a longer game by playing in rounds. Each player starts with ten counters. A number of rounds to be played is agreed upon. Then, every time someone wins a round, each loser pays him one counter for every card they still hold. The ultimate winner of the whole game is the person with the most counters after the number of rounds is completed.

How to Win:

Be the first to get rid of all your cards.

 

Sevens

Known as Fan Tan, Card Dominoes, or Parliament, this exciting card game is simple for children to learn quickly.

Number of Players: Two or more

Age Range: Six and up

Cards Required: Standard 52-card deck.

Instructions:

Deal the entire pack of cards clockwise and face-down around the group. Have players sort their cards into sequences in each suit. The player who has the 7 of diamonds starts the game by placing this card down in the center of the playing area. Players continue (clockwise) by adding a diamond card to the sequence, either working from lower card to higher, or higher card to lower. The cards are placed to the left of the seven if the sequence is going up, or the right if the numbers go down. A player can start a new sequence of another suit if they have a seven. If a player cannot play a card, they skip their turn.

How to Win:

Be the first player to use up all his cards.

You can continue to play until all the cards have been used up and all four rows are complete.

 

Fun Card Games for Kids

Fun Card Games for Kids

Pig

This is a wonderful starter game for children, who enjoy the rhythm and the silliness of it. Even the youngest child doesn’t seem to mind losing, which makes this game a real winner!

Number of Players: Three or more (as many as 13 using one pack of cards)

Age Range: Six and up

Cards Required: Standard 52-card deck

Instructions:

For each player, take four of a kind out of the deck. Set aside the rest of the cards. Try to make sure that the cards are as different from each other as possible when playing with younger children. For example, if you are playing with 3 players you might choose the 3s, 7s and Kings. Shuffle the chosen cards well.

Deal four cards to each player. Each player sorts their cards into those that are the same. The goal of the game is to collect four of a kind. When a player does so, they quietly put a finger on their nose. If a player sees another player put a finger on their nose, they must do so, too, even if they do not have 4 of a kind. The last player who puts a finger on their nose gets a letter – first time P, then I, then G.

The players choose which cards they want to collect, choose a card to discard, and put the discarded card face down, on the table in front of them. When everyone has a card on the table, players simultaneously pass a card to the player to their left, and then pick up the card which was been passed them. It works best to establish a rhythm, such as down – pass – pick up, down – pass – pick up to move the game along.

How to Win:

The first player to get each letter of “P-I-G” is the loser.

Variation:

For a longer game, play with D-O-N-K-E-Y instead.

 

Menagerie

A game also known as “Animals” is a great deal of noisy fun for kids.

Number of Players: Four or more

Age Range: Six and up

Cards Required: Two standard decks

Instructions:

Each player chooses an animal name, one that is long and difficult say and remember, for example, Artic Polar bear. The names are written on slips of paper, folded, and put into a basket or box. Each player chooses a slip of paper and the name of the animal they choose is theirs for the rest of the game.

Now everyone learns the names of all the animals, not just their own.

Cards are dealt clockwise and kept face down. Some players may have more cards than others, which is fine. Players put their cards in a face-down pile and do not look at them.

The player to the left of the dealer turns his top card over to start a face up pile. Each player does the same in turn. If players notice that another player’s face up card is of the same number or picture as the one turned over, they must shout out the name of the other player’s animal three times. The first player to shout out correctly wins the player’s face up pile, which he adds to the bottom of his face down pile.

If a player calls out the wrong name, he gives all his face up cards to the player whose name he shouted.

How to Win:

The winning player is the person who manages to collect all the cards.

 

Card games for kids are easy, fun, and can be played anywhere. Use them in a school classroom, at a party, or as a way to pass a rainy afternoon. Have fun!