A standard deck of 52 cards is a beautiful thing. In that portable box of cards lies hundreds of ways for kids and families to stay entertained. And yet, kids get stuck in the repetitive rotation of Go Fish and War. Now, there's nothing wrong with playing the same game a million times if you love it (but what parent actually loves Go Fish?), but when you want to switch things up, here are 10 cards games for kids that are easy to learn and fun for all ages.
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The best part? Just like our dice games in which all you need is a handful of standard dice, all you need to play any of these easy card games is a single deck of cards. No need to buy anything!
10 Must-Play Card Games for Kids
Deal 5 cards to each player, unless playing with only two players, then deal 7 cards each. Place one card face up for the "starter pile." (If it is an 8, return it to the deck and turn over a new card.) The rest of the cards make the draw pile.
The first player lays down a card on the starter pile. He may only play a card that matches either the denomination or the suit. For example, if the starter card is an ace of hearts, the player may lay down an ace of any suit, or a heart of any denomination. If the player cannot play (or does not want to), he must draw from the stock pile until he either draws a playable card, or the stock pile is emptied. Play continues clockwise.
The first player to get rid of all the cards in his hand wins.
What about the 8s? 8s are wild. An 8 of any suit may be played at anytime. The player who lays down an 8 announces what suit is now in play. For example, a player can play an 8 of hearts and announce that the new suit is spades. The next player then must play a spade in any denomination, or an 8.
Go Boom is an excellent choice for kids and families who want to try something different that the better known card games. It is best played by 2-6 players and is a "trick taking" card game. We have really enjoyed having this card game in our regular rotation.
Read the full instructions here: Go Boom card game instructions.
This game is even more fun if you play with a dragon deck of playing cards.
Golf is a very easy card game for kids to learn. Anyone who has played "Rat a Tat Cat" will recognize the premise of attempting to get the lowest score possible by replacing mystery cards you already have in your hand with cards from the draw pile.
Golf can be played with 2 or more players. If there are 2-3 players play 9-Hole Golf; if you have 4 or more players, start out with 6-Hole Golf.
Read the full instructions here: How to Play the Golf Card Game
Most people are familiar with traditional solitaire; if not, watch Bicycle's how to play Solitaire video. However, get your kids to switch things up a little bit and teach them how to play Clock Solitaire, which is played in a 12 point formation.
Get the full instructions here: How to Play Clock Solitaire
Egyptian Rat Screw
I detest the name of this game but every kid I know loves playing it. For 2 or more players, it's similar to War. But there is a twist. Players can slap played cards if they meet certain conditions. The first player to slap the cards gets to keep them. The objective is to be the last one left with any cards left.
To get the full instructions watch the video here.
Another card game with a crazy name! Garbage is a good one for families with children starting to learn how to count, but, amazingly, it is also enjoyable for adults! The objective is to be the first player to turn their initial 10 card hand of random cards into a hand of cards from ace to 10. But watch out, because if you draw a card you don't need, it's "garbage!"
Get the full rules here: How to Play Garbage
Kings in the Corner
We play Kings in the Corner a lot. It's best with 2-4 players, but we primarily play a quick game with just two of us.
Start by dealing seven cards to each player. Place the remaining cards in the center of the table, face down in a stack. Turn four cards face up and place them on the table, surrounding the stack in a north-south-east-west orientation. If one of the cards is a king, slip it back into the stack and choose another card.
The objective is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards, by placing them on the starting stacks on the table. Cards are played as they are in solitaire, counting upwards, alternating red-black.
On their turn, the first player draws a card from the middle stack, they then play as many cards in their hands as possible. Play passes counterclockwise to the next player, who draws a card and plays any cards they can.
Kings: When a player draws a king, they place the king in one of the four corners, thus creating an additional starter stack on which to play cards.
The interesting thing about this game is that it almost always lasts until the very last card of the deck is played. Occasionally, a player will go out early in the game, but that is rare.
If you need a demonstration, watch this how-to video.
One reason it's a great idea to teach your kids how to play Rummy, is that there are quite a lot of rummy-related games. The basic game is quite simple and involves collecting matched sets of 3 or 4 cards (e.g. 3 queens, 4 9s, etc.) and sequences of 3 or more cards of the same suit (e.g. 3, 4, 5 of spades). Here's a great how to play Rummy video.
Like Go Boom, Hearts is a trick-taking game. However, the rules are more complex and therefore a better choice for tweens and teens. Once you've mastered all the other games on this list of card games every kid should know, tackle learning how to play Hearts.
Once you get the hang of it, it's not difficult. Watch this video to learn how to play.