One Deck of Cards Equals Hours of Enjoyment
My son is five years old and we have begun teaching him how to play cards. No, we haven't taught him poker just yet, but just some good old-fashioned card games that I enjoyed as a child. It is truly amazing all of the games that can be played with one deck of cards, and so many of these games are appropriate for younger children. Instead of buying those specialized decks of cards from the dollar store, invest in a regular deck of cards and learn how to play all the card games using these instead. Games like Old Maid & Crazy Eights can also be played with a regular deck of cards, you just need to know how to do it.
Imagine, one long rainy afternoon or being stuck in a hotel room on a vacation... Imagine if you could pull just one small deck of cards out of your purse and create an afternoon of activity, how awesome would that be? That is why I am trying to learn how to play these games and I hope someday that Emily & Ethan will be able to play them together and I can prop my feet up on the couch and read a magazine. Pipe dreams, I know, but that is the ultimate goal.
The first game I taught Ethan as how to play, "War." This was a favorite game of mine growing up and one that my sister & could play for hours on end.
Rules for War
Shuffle the cards well. Deal the entire deck, keeping all of the cards down and no peeking. To begin, both players turn their top cards simultaneously and place them side by side, face up, in the center. The one who plays the higher ranking card gets to keep both the cards (Aces are high in this game). These cards are added to the bottom of the winner's stack.
When both players turn over cards of the same rank (you have an Ace, they have an Ace), "war" is declared. Smaller children really get into this and we started to shout, "War!" out together. Each player then places the top three cards from his stack face down on the original card. Then each places a fourth card face up on top of the three face-down cards. The higher face-up card will win all of the ten cards. If these match you can declare a, "DOUBLE WAR!" (be sure to shout it for added enjoyment) and then the battle continues.
Whomever ends up with the entire deck of cards is the winner. A player can also win if their opponent runs out of cards in the middle of the war.
There are variations on War that I am looking forward to exploring, but I wanted to start with an easy game for a 5 year old.
You can also add in your own rules. Ethan decided that, "The loser gets lots of popcorn," but only when he lost. The winner also, "got more lemonade," but only when he won. When I lost though, I "just lost." Yes, those can be the challenges when playing with a 5 year old kid!
The second game I have taught him is how to play Old Maid. This was the first card game that I learned and we had a funny deck of cards with an old lady in a rocking chair. Just to be politically correct though, you can switch this up and play a game of "Old Boy," and make the Jack the old lady.
Rules for Old Maid
This game is great for kids between 5-10, because it is easy to learn and to play. This game is more fun if you have 3-6 players, but you can play with two players (which is easier for smaller children and putting together matches).
Before you can begin, remove all of the Queens in the deck except for one. Shuffle and distribute the cards, one at a time and face down.
Each player looks at their hands and pulls out any two cards that match in rank. Each player lays his match face down in a pile beside him. If a player has three cards of the same number, one stays in his hand.
After matches are all sorted, fan out your cards for the other player to grab from. Keep taking turns and making matches. Since there is only one Queen, the Old Maid, no match can be made for her. At the end of the hand, the player left holding the Old Maid loses the game.
Sound Off: What are some of your favorite games to play with your children?