Turn a pack of cards into a fun way to learn Math! Educational card games for kids!

In the modern world we live in, there are so many technological wonders out there. Children are increasingly using things such as tablets and electronic games as learning tools. When used in a controlled way, there is nothing wrong with this! But, lets not forget some of the traditional or “old fashioned” ways that children can learn in a fun way.

This article aims to inspire you with some examples of fun card games for kids. It is in no means a definitive list of ALL games. If I did this, you would probably fall asleep reading the article!!

When I was a child, we always had a pack of cards available in our house. My sister and I spent many hours playing various games! And, without even knowing it, we were learning!

math card games for kids

In this article, we want to remind you about the importance of having a pack of cards in YOUR house!

The beauty of cards is there are a wide number of games you can play, ranging from preschool age all the way up to adulthood!

Also, children love to use real items that they see adults using. Your child will love using a “real” pack of cards, rather than a dumbed down version especially for children.

Before we start, I want to give a word of warning about playing potentially competitive games with young children. Some people might advise you to never play these kind of games with children, as they may get upset and cry! My advice is to bring your child up in an environment that encourages competitiveness but also demonstrates the art of losing gracefully.

After all, children will have to deal with these feelings at some point, so you might as well start young! Even some adults struggle with losing!

The way I deal with this, is to often talk about how it’s OK to lose sometimes. Can we always win? No, it’s impossible! Can we all be good at everything? No, it’s impossible.

Also, demonstrate that even you (as the adult) sometimes loose and model the correct way to loose gracefully 🙂 These are the conversations you need to have with your child to help them compete hard but not be a sore loser!

CARD GAMES FOR THE YOUNGER CHILD

Why are card games good for kids?

SNAP

Yes, it’s a classic game. And, yes, hopefully you have heard about it before! But, you wouldn’t believe how much young children love playing snap.

Its simple too. Shuffle the cards and deal them out to the players. Each player holds their card deck face down and takes turns to place the top card in a middle pile. When the last two cards placed have the same number the winner of the round is the one to first shout “snap”. They then pick up all the cards from the middle pile. The winner of the game is the one left with all the cards.

Like I said, an oldie but a goodie!!

CARD MEMORY GAMES

There are two main ways to play memory games with a pack of cards. Both ways will provide great mental exercises for your young child’s memory.

The first way is as follows. Simply place a selection of cards down in front of the child. Give them a few seconds to memorise all the cards. Then, ask them to close their eyes while you take away one card. When they open their eyes, the child needs to tell you which card is missing. You can make this harder by having more cards that the child needs to remember, or by taking away more than one card.

The second way changes the method up slightly. Find 4 or 5 pairs of matching cards. Place them face down in front of your child, making sure to mix up the position of the cards.

Take turns to turn over two cards. If the cards match, you can keep those cards. The winner is the player with the most cards at the end of the game. Your child will need to remember the position of the cards already turned over in order to win.

CARD HUNT

Again, this is a simple concept, but one which a lot of young children love! Simply hide a selection of cards around your home, or a room in your home. Ask your child to go and find these cards. Every time they find a card, they can tell you which card it is. To make this competitive, you could pretend to be racing to find the cards with your child. Or if your child has a sibling, they can race to find the cards together.

You can also give your child a turn a hiding the cards when they are familiar with the game.

PAIRS GAME

I can remember spending many hours as young child playing this game! As with all these games, simple but fun!

Deal each player 6 cards and put the rest of the cards in a pile in front of the players. Before the game starts, if any players have matching cards or pairs they need to place them face up in front of them.

Each player takes turns to “throw away” one card at the bottom of the pile and take a new card from the top. When the player finds any new pairs of cards, they place them in front of them. The winner is the player to get rid of all their cards first.

CARD GAMES FOR OLDER CHILDREN

What are some fun card games?

GO FISH

I have put this card game in the older children section, but you may find that a younger child can pick it up too. It’s a simple game that is a great introduction to basic strategic thinking.

First, deal six cards to each player and put the remaining cards face down in a centre stack. The aim of the game is to make sets of cards that are the same. These sets are four cards that are the same but different suits (spades, diamond, hearts and clubs).

Once the players have organised their cards, the game starts. The first player will ask the next player “do you have a 10?”, meaning that 10 is a number they need to make a set. If the player has the card, they must give it to the player that asked. If they don’t have that card, the player that asked will need to pick up the top card from the centre stack of cards.

The winner is the first to get rid of all their cards in sets.

I found a short but sweet Youtube video that explains the game, in case my explanation confused you!

Feel free to adjust this game as you wish. For example, you could make it slightly easier by saying that players need to find pairs of cards rather than a full set of four cards.

GIN RUMMY

I know, the name sounds weird right!! This game is another one from my childhood. I can remember some good times playing this with my sister!

Anyway, on to the game. Although it has a weird name, this card game is a great one to start your slightly older child thinking about tactics.

At the start of the game, you deal each player ten cards. You place the rest of the cards in the middle of the playing area face down.

The object of the game is to make “runs” or sequences of cards. Usually the Ace card is considered a low card in this game (although there are multiple variations on this game!).

These runs can either be matching cards of different suits (diamond, hearts, spades or clubs) or a number sequence of cards of the same suit. For example, Ace – 2-3-4.

Once the players have organised their cards into runs or potential runs, they will have an idea which cards they don’t need.

The player going first will turn over the top card from the stack of cards placed in the middle of the table. If this card is useful for their runs, they can keep it and replace it with another card from their hand of cards. The next player can either pick up the discarded card or pick up a new one from the deck. As before, if they draw a new card, they will decide whether to keep it and replace with a card from their hand, or place on the discarded cards pile.

I realise that, when we are talking about these more complex card games, it can be hard to explain well in words!

However, I found an excellent Youtube video here that explains the whole game very well!

When I played this game as a child, the winner was the one to be able to get rid of all their cards in a sequence or in pairs. When you have no more spare cards you are the winner.

The video above describes a more complex process and scoring system. I will let you decide which version to use. Or why not come up with your own family’s rules about how to win!

This game was a staple of my childhood, and I am sure a lot of other children will grow to love it too (despite the weird name).

To Finish….

That is the end of my roundup of great card games for kids. Of course, there are many more cards games in the world! Far too many for me to include here. So, I hope that this article simply opened your eyes to the world of opportunities a simple pack of cards holds for your child.

I would encourage you to search on the internet to find even more games your child would enjoy.

If you manage to find any cool card games for kids, we would love to hear all about it in the comments section below! Hey, I might even add any new games to the article!

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