Looking for something fun and inexpensive to do with the kids? How about a game of cards? Here are 15 fun card games for kids:
#1. Gin Rummy
Number of players: Usually 2 players but up to 4 can play in variations.
Cards needed: Standard 52-card deck. King is high; Ace is low.
Goal: to collect a hand where most or all of the cards can be combined into sets and runs. A run or sequence consists of three or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order, such as 4, 5, 6 or 8, 9, 10, J. A set or group is three or four cards of the same rank, such as 7, 7, 7.
How to Play: Shuffle the deck and deal 10 cards to each player. Players should look at and sort their cards.
The next card is turned face up in the middle of the table to start the discard pile. The remaining cards are placed face down next to the discard pile to form a draw pile.
First player takes a card, decides if they are going to keep it in which case they have to discard one of the cards in their hand. Or if they don’t wish to keep the picked up card, they put it face up on the discard pile.
The winner is the first person to collect a full hand of either 3 in a set + 4 in a run / 4 in a set + 3 in a run
#2. Old Maid also known as Scabby Queen
Number of players: 3 or more players
Cards needed: Standard 52-card deck, remove the Queen of Clubs.
Goal: not to end up with the Old Maid!
How to Play: Dealer deals out all the cards to all the players. The players look at their cards and discard any pairs they have e.g. a pair of sevens or a pair of kings.
The dealer then offers your cards spread face down to the player to their left. That player selects a card from their hand without looking at it and adds it to their hand. If it makes a pair, they can discard the pair. They offer their hand then to the next player on the left and so on.
If you get rid of all your cards, you are safe and are out. The last person who ends up with the Old Maid or Scabby Queen is the loser.
Number of players: 3–7 players
Cards needed: Uses standard deck of 52 cards
Goal: to get rid of all your cards
How to Play: Deal all the cards out to all the players (some might have more). Player to left of dealer plays first and play continues clockwise. If he or she has a 7 they must play or pass.
When a 7 is played, it’s laid in the middle of the table as the foundation for other cards to play on.
Once a 7 is played, the 6 and 8 of the same suit can be played, either side of the 7. Cards are then played in sequence up to King and down to Ace.
If you can’t play, you pass. The winner is the person who gets rid of his or her cards.
Number of Players: 3 to 9 people.
Cards needed: Standard deck of 52 cards
Goal: to earn 25 points to win the game
How to Play: Players choose a dealer. The role of dealer shifts to the left after each hand. The dealer shuffles the cards and deals five cards to each player. He deals two cards the first time and then three cards the next. He then turns up the first card on the deck of cards. This card sets the trump suit.
Players who hold the ace of the trump suit can rob the trump card from the top of the deck. Play any card you would rather not have next to the deck of cards and replace it with the trump card. This can only be done on your first turn and only before you make your first play. You can then no longer rob the trump. Anyone who holds the ace can rob the trump, including the dealer, but you do not have to do so.
The player to the left of the dealer starts. She plays whatever card she likes to start. The player to her left lays another card of the same suit, and play continues until every player has laid a card. Players can win the hand by having the highest card in the suit or by laying a trump card. Trump cards automatically beat any suit card, with higher trump cards beating lower trump cards. Once a trump card has been played, the remaining players must play trumps if they can, as the trump suit becomes the new suit of the hand. Players can lay a trump card at any point, even if they have an appropriate suit card. Players don’t have to lay a trump card if they can’t follow suit. They can lay any card they like, simply to get rid of a weak card. Players don’t have to play the top three trumps–which are the five, jack and ace cards in that order–unless they want to play them. They can play a card of another suit, if they like. The winner of the hand starts the next hand.
Players or teams score five points for each hand won. Winning a hand is often called a “trick.” The game ends when someone earns 25 points. The game must stop immediately when somebody earns 25 points, even if the hand isn’t over yet. Multiple games are usually played and players often bet money on each game, with the winner of each game winning the pot. However, players can decide to score one point per game and stop at a predetermined number of points.
Number of players: This wild and crazy game is all about speed and quickness! Suggested ages 8 and up. Any number can play. The more players there are, the wilder the game gets.
Cards needed: One deck per player
Goal: The object of the game is to get rid of all your cards first.
How to Play: Each player has his own deck and begins by placing the top four cards from his deck face up in front of him in a row. There should be lots of empty space in the middle of the table between the two players. (In fact it is best to play on the floor, since cards often go flying once play starts.) Players hold the remainder of their deck in one of their hands during play.
Rank of Cards. A (high) K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
There are no turns taken in this game, everyone plays at the same time. When both players are ready, one of them says “spit” and immediately each player takes the top card from his deck and plays it to the center of the table. These first cards should be far away from each other, forming two play piles between the players. Then, the players immediately begin playing their cards, as fast as they can, from their layout onto one of the piles in the center. A card can be played only if it is one higher or one lower than the card on the top of the pile. The card’s suit does not matter, and an ace can be played high or low (so that the sequence can “wrap around” between kings, aces and deuces).
Related Articles: Playing Cards
#6. Go Fish
Number of Players: 2-4 Players
Cards needed: Standard 52 card deck
Goal: to collect the most sets of 4 cards
How to Play: Shuffle the cards and if 2 of you are playing, 7 cards are dealt to start with. If more than 2, deal 5 cards to each player to start wiht. The rest of the cards are placed face down in the middle.
The player to the left of the dealer starts and asks another player for a card that they need e.g. “John, do you have any 4s?”. If the player has any of the card requested, they must hand them over to the player. If you get a requested card you get another turn. If the player you have asked doesn’t have a card, they say “Go Fish” and you have to pick one from the middle pile.
If you collect 4 of a kind, you can put them down on the table.
The game continues until all the cards are finished, the winner is the person with the most sets of 4.
Number of Players: 1
Cards needed: 104 cards (2 standard packs)
Goal: Get as high a score as you can.
How to Play: Shuffle the two decks of cards thoroughly. Deal a 3×3 square of cards, face up. Look at the 3×3 square. Remove a pair (two of a kind) or triple (three of a kind) if you see any. As soon as you remove a pair or triple, deal cards to the 3×3 square to replace the cards you’ve removed. Keep all of the removed sets separate from each other. Repeat this process until you have matched up all of the cards or until you cannot remove a pair or triple from the 3×3 square (all nine ranks are different). Score your pairs and triples as follows:
- Pairs: 3 points
Exception: A pair of identical cards (example: 2 Fives of Diamonds) is worth 7 points.
- Triples: 15 points (if two of the cards in the triple are identical, score 21 points)
- Using all cards: 104 point bonus
#8. Knockout Whist
Number of Players: 2 or more
Cards needed: 52-card pack is used, with four suits ranking from high to low A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2.
Goal: to be the surviving player
The player on dealer’s left leads to the first trick. Players must follow suit if they can, otherwise they may play any card. Each trick is won by the highest trump in it; otherwise by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of a trick leads to the next trick.
After the first hand, a second hand is dealt, by the next player in order around the table, with only six cards each. The game continues like this, with one fewer card per player on each hand, until the final hand consists of one card each.
The winner of most tricks on a hand chooses the trump suit on the next hand. If there is a tie for who took most tricks, the players involved in the tie cut cards for the right to choose trumps.
A player who takes no tricks at all in a hand is knocked out, is dealt no more cards, and takes no further part in the game.
There is one exception to the rule about being knocked out: the first player during the game who takes no tricks on a hand is not knocked out immediately but is awarded the “dog’s life”. On the following hand, she is dealt just one card, and may decide on which trick to play it. In the course of the play, a player “on a dog’s life” may, when it is her turn to play, either play her card or knock on the table to indicate that she wishes to keep it for a later trick. If she is the player on the dealer’s left, she is not compelled to lead her card to the first trick; she may either do so, or knock, allowing the next player to lead.
If two or more players take no tricks on the same deal, no one having previously used the dog’s life, these players get one dog’s life each. Apart from this case, there is only one dog’s life available during the game. Players who take no tricks in later deals are eliminated immediately.
If a player on a dog’s life manages to take a trick with her card, the player on her left leads to the next trick, and the dog’s life player is dealt a normal hand on the next deal, and treated like the other surviving players. If the dog’s life player doesn’t manage to win a trick, she is knocked out of the game, like anyone else who takes no trick.
The game is won by the winner of the one trick on the final hand. Or if all but one of the players are knocked out before this, the surviving player is the winner.
Related: 10 Best Family Board Games