The Best Card Games For Your Kids

Some fun card games for the kids

All that’s needed is a standard deck and away you go.

Cheat

A fun game of deception and lying.

How to Play

The object of the game is to get rid of all your cards before anyone else. All the cards are dealt out to the players; some may have more than others, but it doesn’t really matter. Select at random who should go first and continue clockwise.

On the table is a discard pile, which starts empty. A turn consists of discarding one or more cards face down on the pile, and calling out their rank. The first player must discard Aces, the second player discards Twos, and so on. After Tens come Jacks, then Queens, then Kings, then back to Aces, etc.

Since the cards are discarded face down, you do not in fact have to play the rank you are calling. For example if it is your turn to discard Sevens, you may actually discard any card or mixture of cards; in particular, if you don't have any Sevens you will be forced to play some other card or cards.

Any player who suspects that the card(s) discarded by a player do not match the rank called can challenge the play by calling "Cheat!". Then the cards played by the challenged player are exposed and one of two things happens:

  1. if they are all of the rank that was called, the challenge is false, and the challenger must pick up the whole discard pile;
  2. if any of the played cards is different from the called rank, the challenge is correct, and the person who played the cards must pick up the whole discard pile.

After the challenge is resolved, play continues in normal rotation, with the next player calling the next rank in sequence. The first player to get rid of all their cards wins the game. If you play your last remaining card(s), but someone challenges you and the cards you played are not what you called, you pick up the pile and play continues.

Age Range: Ages 7 years and older

Players: 3 - 6

War

An easy introduction to card playing for kids without too many rules to complicate the game.

How to Play

To start, the cards must be evenly dealt among the players and kept face-down. Neither player can look at their cards. Then, both players turn over the top card in their piles and put them face-up, next to the other player’s card. Whoever has turned over the higher ranking card, regardless of suit, takes up both cards and adds them to the bottom of his pile.

This then continues until two cards of the same value (eg 2 fours) are placed down together. This constitutes “War”. Both players then take two more cards and put 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.

If, of course, two more same-ranking cards are put down, the state of “War” continues until there’s a winner. The game is won by the player who manages to collect all the cards. Because there is no skill whatever involved, kids are on an equal footing with adults in this game: It is entirely luck

Age Range: Ages 5 years and older

Players: 2

Pig

This is a brilliant starter game for children, who enjoy the rhythm (once they get the hang of it) and the silliness of it all. It is one game that even the youngest child doesn't seem to mind losing, which makes it a real winner!

How to Play

For each player, take four of a kind out of the deck and put aside the rest of the cards. If you are playing with younger children, try to make sure that the cards are as different from each other as possible. For example, if you were playing with 3 players you might choose the 3s, 6s and Jacks.

Shuffle the cards and deal them so each player has four. Now each player looks at their hand and sorts the cards out. The aim of the game is to collect four of a kind, at which point you quickly, and quietly, put a finger on your nose. If you see another player put a finger on their nose, you must do so too (regardless of whether you have 4 of a kind or not). The last player to put a finger on their nose gets a letter - first P, then I, then G.

To play, choose which cards you want to collect then choose a card to discard and put it, face down, on the table in front of you. When everyone has a card on the table, simultaneously pass your card to the player on your left and then pick up the card which has been passed to you. Try to establish a rhythm - it can help if an adult says "down - pass - pick up, down - pass - pick up" to keep everyone going!

The first player to reach "P-I-G" is the loser. If you want a longer game, try playing with “D-O-N-K-E-Y” instead

Age Range: Ages 6 years and older

Players: 3-10