Family Game Night: Understanding the Rules of Popular Children Card Games
Family game nights are a great way to connect with your kids. Card games are some of the easiest options.
A few of the most popular classic card games for kids are Old Maid, Go Fish, Crazy 8s, and War.
It’s easy enough to learn and teach Old Maid instructions, so why not start there?
Old Maid Instructions
If using a standard deck of cards, remove one of the queens before starting. Using an Old Maid deck, you’re good to go off the bat (and probably already have the Old Maid instructions on hand).
One player shuffles the deck, then deals the cards to the players, round and round until all the cards have been dealt. Depending on the number of players, hands may or may not be perfectly equal; that’s ok.
All players simultaneously put down all pairs they can match from their hands. The dealer then offers their cards, face down, to the player on their left. That player picks a card at random. If the new card forms a pair, the player discards those two, then offers their remaining cards to the next player.
Play continues until one unrepairable card is left. The player left holding this card loses.
Go Fish Instructions
When playing with two or three people, deal with each player with 7 cards; when playing with four or more people, deal with each player with 5 cards. Whatever cards are left after dealing are placed face down in the middle, either in a stack or, for a little more fun, in a messy pile, aka the pool or ocean.
On their turn, a player can ask any other player for all their cards of a given face value (3s, queens, etc.); the player asking must have at least one of the same value they’re requesting. If the player being asked has those cards, they have to give them up. If not, they say, “go fish,” and the player whose turn it is takes a card from the pool. If this happens to be the card just asked for, that player gets another turn; otherwise, the turn moves on.
When a player has all four suits of a given face–a complete “book”–they lay it down. Alternately, you can play in pairs. When all books or pairs are laid out, the player holding the most sets wins.
Crazy 8s Instructions
Deal each player with 5 cards. Set the remainder in the middle of the table, and place one card face up. If the starting card is an 8, put it back in the deck and pick a new one.
Each player plays a card from their hand on the face-up pile in the middle. The card played must match the last card in either suit or value. 8s are wild; they can be placed on any card, and the player gets to choose a case the next player must lay down. If a player can’t make a match, they draw from the deck until they can.
The first player to empty their hand wins.
Game of War Instructions
Even easier than the Old Maid instructions!
Shuffle and deal the whole deck evenly between two players. No one looks at their cards.
Players flip up the top card of their hand simultaneously. The player with the higher card takes both. If the cards are of equal value, a war is declared. Each player sets out three cards face down and a fourth face up. The player with a higher face-up card takes everything on the playing field.
The player who gets all the cards wins.
Play around tonight!
Try out a family game night if you’re looking for a fun way to connect with your kids. Whether you go with War, Go Fish, Crazy 8s, or Old Maid instructions, you’ll have a good time.
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