Card Games That Can Be Played by Children

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Kids love card-playing from almost their earliest years and card-playing could be both educational and character-building for them when they’re guided to its paragons of analytical thinking and sportsmanlike behavior. Here are some games that are tried and true in their popularity with children.

FISH

Fish is a simpler kind of Authors, better fitted to children. It’s a good game for two players or more, up to around five players. A regular deck is used. The cards are dealt one at a time, and when there are two players, each gets seven cards. If more than two, deal five cards to every hand. Put the rest of the deck face down in the middle of the table, to be the stock.

Each player in turn calls another by name, and calls for for cards of a specified rank, like “Lucy, hand me your sevens.”

The asker should have at the least one card of this rank in his hand. If the one addressed bears any other cards of that rank, he must give them up. The asker’s turn carries on so long as he succeeds in getting down cards. Having none of the named rank, the one addressed exclaims “Fish!” The asker then draws the top card of the stock, and the turn goes to the left.

Each time a player catches a book (four cards of the same rank), he must display them and put them in front of himself. The one who acquires the most books wins the game.

Kids often make a rule of their own, and you should not pull the rules book on them when they are set on it. This is the rule that the turn carries on so long as the caller is successful in any way—such as when the card drawn when he is told to fish is of the rank he last named, or if it completes a book.

CONCENTRATION or MEMORY

Concentration might be played by any number from two up. Take a regular deck, shuffle it, and lay the cards out one at a time on a large table, with their faces down and so separated that they do not overlap.

Every player in turn should turn up any two cards, one at a time, putting them in their original positions on the table. If they are a pair, he takes them and likewise turns up two more cards. If they’re not a pair, he turns them face down again (still in their original place) and the next player to his left plays.

The point is that by mindful watching you can keep in mind where cards of certain kinds are. After showing up your first card, you may remember what card to turn up to determine its mate. The objective is to get as many pairs as possible, and the one who acquires the most wins the game.

This is a game that interests individuals of all ages.

OLD MAID

From a regular deck, discard one queen. Deal the remaining cards out, one at a time, until all are dealt—they don’t have to come out even. Two to eight could play. Each player throws away, face up, all his pairs (never three of a kind). Then every player in turn shuffles his hand and extends it face down to his left-hand neighbor, who draws one card, discards a pair if he has drawn one, and extends his shuffled hand to his left. Naturally one player must be left having the odd queen and is the “old maid.”

WAR

Two play. A regular deck is split up into halves, one for each player, face down. Each turns up a card and the greater card wins the other, the two cards going face down under the winner’s packet. This goes on till the turned cards are a pair; then there is “war.” The pair are laid in the center, each player adds up three cards face down, and so each player turns a card, the high card winning all ten. If these third cards also are a pair, they get into the center, each adds a card, and the whole group goes to the winner of the next turn. Because it takes a long time for either player to gain all 52 cards, it is normally agreed that the first to win 3 wars is the winner of the game.

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