Card Games Rules for Kids

Card Games Rules for Kids
Card Games Rules
for Kids
Card game rules for: Old Maid, Solitaire, Go
Fish, Spoons/Pig/Tongue,
Concentration/Memory, Snap, Beggar my
Neighbour, Menagerie, My Ship Sails, Sequence,
Sevens, Slapjack, Snip Snap Snorem, Stealing
Bundles and War
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Old Maid
Old Maid is a constant favourite with
children and lots of fun for families
playing cards together. Colourful decks
made especially for the game are
popular, but regardless of the playing
cards used, the rules are the same.
Suggested Ages - 4 to 10.
Skills Developed - Matching, pairing, and
recognizing numbers.
The Pack - The standard 52-card pack is used,
however, one of the four queens is removed,
leaving a total of 51 cards.
The Deal - Any player shuffles the pack and
deals them around, one at a time to each
player, as far as they will go. The cards need
not come out even.
Old Maid
The Play - Each player removes all pairs from
his hand face down. If a player has three of a
kind, he removes only two of those three
cards. The dealer then offers his hand, spread
out face down, to the player on his left, who
draws one card from it. This player discards
any pair that may have been formed by the
drawn card. He then offers his own hand to
the player on his left. Play proceeds in this way
until all cards have been paired except one the odd queen, which cannot be paired - and
the player who has that card is the Old Maid!
Irregularities - If any player is found to have
discarded two cards that are not a pair, (thus
causing three unpaired cards instead of one to
remain at the end), the player who made the
mistake loses and becomes the Old Maid.
Object of the Game - The goal is to form and
discard pairs of cards, and not to be left with
the odd card (a queen) at the end.
Solitaire is one of the most pleasurable
pastimes for one person. Often called,
"Patience," more than 150 Solitaire
games have been devised. A few of the
most popular are presented here, as well
as some new ones.
Many Solitaire games can be played on
areas smaller than a card table. Others
require a larger playing area, and these
games are often played on the floor or on
a bedspread. Alternatively, in order to
play with large layouts on a card table,
miniature playing cards are available.
These are usually half the size of
standard playing cards.
General Guidelines - Virtually all Solitaire
games are played with one or more standard
52-card packs. Most of the games proceed in
the following way: Some or all of the cards are
distributed face up in some distinctive array,
forming the "tableau." The tableau, together
with any other cards dealt at the outset are
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often called the "layout.
The initial array may be changed by "building"
- transferring cards among the face-up cards in
the tableau. Certain cards of the tableau can
be played at once, while others may not be
played until certain blocking cards are
The first objective is to release and play into
position certain cards called "foundations." In
most Solitaire games, the four aces are the
bottom card or base of the foundations, and
the objective is usually to build up each
foundation, in sequence and in suit, from the
ace through the king. The ultimate objective is
to build the whole pack onto the foundations,
and if that can be done, the Solitaire game is
If the entire pack is not laid out in a tableau at
the beginning of a game, the remaining cards
form the stock (or "hand") from which
additional cards are brought into play
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according to the rules. Cards from the stock
that have no place in the tableau or on
foundations are laid face up in a separate pile
called the "talon" or "waste pile."
Go Fish
Go Fish is a fun game that will amuse and
entertain even the youngest card players.
It is similar to the game Authors,
described below.
In some games, the layout includes a special
packet of cards called the "reserve," which the
player attempts to use by turning up and
playing one card at a time. In many games, a
vacancy in the tableau created by the removal
of cards elsewhere is called a "space," and it is
of major importance in manipulating the
tableau. In some games, a space can only be
filled in with a king The rank of cards in
Solitaire games is: K (high), Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6,
5, 4, 3, 2, A.
Suggested Ages - 4 to 10.
Skills Developed - Matching and pairing
Rank of Cards - The cards rank from ace (high)
to two (low). The suits are not important, only
the card numbers are relevant, such as two 3s,
two 10s, and so on.
The Draw - Any player deals one card face up
to each player. The player with the lowest card
is the dealer.
The Shuffle and Cut - The dealer shuffles the
cards, and the player on his right cuts them.
The Deal - The dealer completes the cut and
Go Fish
receives seven cards. If four or five people are
playing, each receives five cards. The
remainder of the pack is placed face down on
the table to form the stock.
Object of the Game - The goal is to win the
most "books" of cards. A book is any four of a
kind, such as four kings, four aces, and so on.
The Play - The player to the left of the dealer
looks directly at any opponent and says, for
example, "Give me your kings," usually
addressing the opponent by name and
specifying the rank he wants, from ace down
to two. The player who is "fishing" must have
at least one card of the rank he asked for in
his hand. The player who is addressed must
hand over all the cards requested. If he has
none, he says, "Go fish!" and the player who
made the request draws the top card of the
stock and places it in his hand.
deals the cards clockwise one at a time, face
down, beginning with the player to his left. If
two or three people are playing, each player
Go Fish
the same or another player for a card. He can
ask for the same card or a different one. So
long as he is succeeds in getting cards (makes
a catch), his turn continues. When a player
makes a catch, he must reveal the card so that
the catch is verified. If a player gets the fourth
card of a book, he shows all four cards, places
them on the table face up in front of him, and
plays again.
If the player goes fishing without "making a
catch" (does not receive a card he asked for),
the turn passes to his left.
The game ends when all thirteen books have
been won. The winner is the player with the
most books. During the game, if a player is left
without cards, he may (when it's his turn to
play), draw from the stock and then ask for
cards of that rank. If there are no cards left in
the stock, he is out of the game.
If a player gets one or more cards of the
named rank he asked for, he is entitled to ask
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Spoons / Pig / Tongue
Spoons is a clever card game that can be
played by children and adults
together. This card game also goes by
the names Pig and Tongue, and spoons
are not necessary to play those versions
of the game.
Spoons / Pig / Tongue
Shuffle the cards and deal them to the players.
Each player will have four cards.
Players - 3 to 13 players. Best with 6 to 13
Gameplay - Players simultaneously choose one
If you're playing Spoons, put the spoons in the
middle of the table so that every player can
reach them.
Deck - A standard 52-card deck.
To play the Spoons version, you also need one
spoon for each player except one. EXAMPLE:
With 8 players, you need 7 spoons. For Pig and
Tongue, no extra equipment is needed.
Goal - To be the first to collect four cards of
the same rank. If an opponent beats you to
that goal, to not be the last to realize it.
Setup - For each player in the game, you need
four cards of the same rank from the deck. For
example, with 5 players you could use the
Aces, 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s.
Spoons / Pig / Tongue
Tongue: Quietly, but visibly, stick out your
When one player does this, every other player
must do likewise as quickly as possible. The
last player to grab a spoon, touch his nose, or
stick out his tongue is the loser.
OPTIONAL: While playing Spoons or Tongue,
players who either take a spoon or stick out
their tongue can continue to pick up and pass
cards, making it more difficult for other players
to realize what has happened. (The player who
actually collected four cards of the same rank
must always pass the card they just picked up,
because passing any other card would break
up their four-of-a-kind.) This option is not
available when playing Pig, since one of your
hands will be occupied with touching your
Scoring - The last player to grab a spoon,
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card from their hands, pass that card to the
opponent on their left, and pick up the card
they've received from the opponent on their
right. Each player can never have more than
four cards in his hand, so it's illegal for a player
to pick up a new card before passing one to
the left.
When a player collects four of a kind, he does
one of the following actions, depending on
which version of the game is being played:
Spoons: As subtly as possible, take a spoon
and place it in front of yourself.
Pig: Quietly place a finger on the tip of your
Spoons / Pig / Tongue
touch his nose, or stick out his tongue is the
loser and is eliminated from the game. Remove
a set of four cards from the deck and play
another round.
OPTIONAL: Each player has three lives. The
last player to grab a spoon, touch his nose, or
stick out his tongue is the loser and loses a
life. When a player loses all three of his lives
(which can be represented by the letters P-IG), he's eliminated from the game. Remove a
set of four cards from the deck and play
another round.
Winning - The final two players in the game
are co-winners.
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Concentration / Memory
Concentration, also known as Memory, is
a great family card game. It's easy to
make the game easier or more difficult,
and younger players tend to be able to
compete with older players because they
generally excel at memory-based games.
Players - 1 to 6 players.
Concentration / Memory
When a player turns over two cards that do
not match numbers, those cards are turned
face down again and it becomes the next
player’s turn.
Variants - To make the game easier, cards can
be removed in sets of 4 (e.g. all of the 2s and
Deck - Standard 52-card deck.
Goal - To collect the most pairs of cards.
To make the game more difficult, require
players to match both numbers and colors, as
opposed to just numbers. (e.g. The King of
hearts would match the King of diamonds –
but neither of those cards would match the
King of clubs.)
Setup - Shuffle the cards and lay them on the
table, face down, in a pattern (e.g. 4 cards x
13 cards).
Gameplay - The youngest player goes first.
Scoring for 1 player - Time yourself to see how
Play then proceeds clockwise.
fast you can find all of the matching pairs.
Compete with yourself by trying to get a faster
time in a second game.
On each turn, a player turns over two cards
(one at a time) and keeps them if they match
numbers. If they successfully match a pair of
numbers, that player also gets to take another
Concentration / Memory
Scoring for 2 to 4 players - Players keep each
pair they find. At the end of the game, each
pair scores one point.
Winning - When all the pairs have been found,
the player with the most points wins.
Snap is a matching game, often played
with custom decks specifically designed
for the game. These rules are for playing
Snap with a standard deck of cards.
Players - 2 to 12 players
Deck - A standard 52-card deck.
Goal - To win all of the cards.
Setup - Choose a dealer randomly. The dealer
shuffles the cards and deals them as evenly as
possible to all of the players. It's fine for some
players to have one card more than other
Each player places his cards, face down, in a
pile in front of him.
Gameplay - The player to the left of the dealer
goes first. Play then moves clockwise.
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On his turn, each player turns over the top
card from his face-down pile. When someone
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turns over a card that matches a card already
face up on another player's pile, players race
to be the first to call "Snap!". The player who
calls "Snap!" first wins both piles and adds
them to the bottom of his face-down pile.
who calls "Snap Pot!" first wins the Snap Pot
and the matching pile. If there's another tie,
the matching pile is added to the Snap Pot.
Eliminating Ties - If you find that your games
When moving a card from his face-down pile
to his face-up pile, each player should do so by
turning the card away from himself. This
ensures that the player does not see the card
before his opponents have a chance to do the
same. (The player should also turn the card
quickly, so that he's not giving himself a
If two players call "Snap!" at the same time,
the two piles are placed in the centre of the
table and combined into a face-up Snap Pot
with one of the two matching cards on top.
Play then continues where it left off.
When someone turns over a card that matches
the card on top of the Snap Pot, players race
to be the first to call "Snap Pot!". The player
NOTE: It's possible that some cards will remain
in the Snap Pot when all the other cards have
been claimed. (e.g., Two of the 10s are
claimed by Alexandra and later in the game the
other two 10s are involved in a tied call of
"Snap!".) If this happens, the winner is the
player who wins all the cards not stuck in the
Snap Pot.
of Snap tend to have a lot of ties, consider
putting something in the middle of the table
that players must put their hand on top of
instead of calling "Snap!" (An index card with
"Snap!" written on it would work just fine). The
first player to put their hand on top of the
index card wins the cards.
Making a Mistake - When a player calls "Snap!"
or "Snap Pot!" at the wrong time, or puts his
hand on top of the index card at the wrong
time, he must give his top card to the player
who just played. If a player makes a mistake
on his own turn, he must give his top card to
the player on his right.
Winning - Play continues until one player wins
all of the cards. That player wins the game.
Beggar My Neighbour
Beggar My Neighbour is one of the alltime favourite children's card games. It is
an exciting game of luck, best played to a
time limit.
Number of Players - 2 – 6
Age Range - 6+
Cards - For two or three players, one standard
deck of cards can be used. Any more than
three players will require two decks.
Instructions - All the cards are dealt, one by
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one, around the group, until there are none
left. It does not matter if some players have
more cards than others. Each player collects
his cards in a face-down pile and does not look
at them.
To start, the person to the left of the dealer
places his top card face-up in the centre. Then
the game moves around clockwise, with each
player adding one card to the central pile until
someone turns up an Ace, Knave, Queen or
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Beggar My Neighbour
King. The player who turns up one of these
cards can then demand payment from the next
An ace earns four cards
A King earns three cards
A Queen earns two cards
A Knave earns one card
Be prepared for a lot of noise with this
card game, which is also known as
"Animals". Great fun!
These payment cards are each placed on the
central pile. If an Ace, King, Queen or Knave is
turned up, then the next player to the left has
to pay the required amount of cards, and so
on. This continues until a payment is complete
without Aces or Court Cards. Then, the last
player who turned up an Ace or Court Card
takes the whole central pile and puts it at the
bottom of his own. He starts the next round,
and the game begins again.
Cards - Two standard decks
The winner is the player who first goes out by
using up all his cards. If playing to a time limit,
then the winner is the player with the least
remaining cards when the time runs out.
Next, all the cards are dealt clockwise and kept
face down. It doesn’t matter if the number of
cards given to each player is unequal. No
player can look at their cards, but simply keep
them in a face down pile.
Now, the player to the left of the dealer turns
his top card over to start a face up pile. Every
other player does the same in turn, continuing
around the circle. When a player notices that
another players face up card is of the same
rank (ie the same number or picture) as his, he
has to shout out the name of the other players
animal three times. The first player to shout
correctly wins the other players face up pile,
which he adds to the bottom of his face down
If a player calls out the wrong name, he gives
all his face up cards to the player whose name
he did shout. The winner is the player who
manages to collect all the cards.
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Number of Players - 4+
Age Range - 6+
Instructions - To start, each player chooses an
animal name which is long and difficult to say
(Amazonian Umbrellabird is
acceptable, Cow, not so much - although this
will obviously be dependent on the age of your
children!) They then write these names of
slips of paper, which are folded up and shaken
about in a hat or box. Each player then takes
out a slip of paper and whichever animal they
have selected is theirs for the rest of the
Everyone must then make sure to learn the
names of all the animals, not merely their
My Ship Sails
This is an easy card game for kids of all
ages (from about 6 up) which is best and
most exciting when played at high speed.
Number of Players - 4 –to 7
Age Range - 6+
Cards - One standard deck of cards
Instructions - Deal seven cards to each player,
one at a time and face-down. The rest of the
deck is not needed.
The aim of the game is to try and collect seven
cards from the same suit (e.g. seven spades).
Keeping the cards hidden, the players sort
their cards by suits and decide which suit to
collect (although they may change their mind
as play progresses).
Then, each player puts an unwanted card face
down on the table and slides it to the player on
the right, who takes it up. Try to do this in a
rhythm so that all players are passing and
picking up at the same time. Continue until
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My Ship Sails
one player's hand is all one suit. He shouts
"My Ship Sails!"
and wins the game.
This game is similar to Pig.
This game is easy to learn, making a
good starter card game for younger kids,
but nevertheless requires concentration
and patience.
Number of Players - Best with 4 to 5 but it is
possible to play with as few as 2
Age Range - 6+
Type of Game - Luck, Sequencing
Cards - One standard deck. For younger
children you could remove the picture cards
and run each sequence from 1 (Ace) to 10.
Aim - To be the first to get rid of all your
Instructions - In this game, cards are ranked in
numerical order: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack,
Queen, King, Ace. Cards in order and of the
same suit make up a sequence.
To start, the whole deck is dealt clockwise
around the group, face-down. It doesn’t matter
if the cards are unequal.
The player to the left of the dealer places his
lowest card face up on the table (not
necessarily a 2).The player who has the next
card/cards in the sequence plays it/them. Play
continues until the Ace of that suit is reached.
Then, the next sequence is begun by whoever
played the last card, who again places his
lowest card.
counter for every card they still hold. The
ultimate winner of the whole game is the
person with the most counters when the
chosen number of rounds has been completed.
If at any time a player plays a card that cannot
be followed (when the higher cards in that
sequence have already been played), he gets
another turn. The winner is the player who is
the first to get rid of all his cards.
Rounds - This game can be lengthened by
playing in rounds. To do this, each player
starts with ten counters and a number of
rounds is agreed upon. Then, every time
someone wins a round, the losers pay him one
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Also known as Card Dominoes,
Parliament or Fan Tan, this is an exiting
card game which is simple for children to
learn quickly.
Number of Players - 2+
also start a new sequence in a different suit by
placing any of the other 7s below the 7 of
diamonds so that a new row can be built in
that suit. If a player can do neither, they
simply skip a turn.
The winner is the first player to use up all his
cards, although if you wish you can continue to
play until all the cards have been used up and
all four rows are complete.
Age Range - 6+
Cards - Standard 52-card deck.
Instructions - The entire pack of cards is dealt
clockwise and face-down around the group.
The players then sort their cards into
sequences in each suit. The player who holds
the 7 of diamonds starts by placing this card
down in the centre. The game then continues
clockwise, with each player, if they can, adding
a diamond card to the sequence. This can
either go up (8, then 9, then 10 etc) or down
(6, then 5, then 4 etc). Any cards played are
placed on either side of the 7, as appropriate,
so that the diamonds form a row. A player can
This is an easy card game - suitable for
very young children - but it can get wild
and start off a few sibling arguments!
You might want to supervise young
Number of players - 2 to 5
pile, and play continues.
If you lose all your cards you have one more
chance to stay in the game, by slapping the
next Jack that appears. If you miss that one,
you are out for good!
The last person in is the winner.
Age - 5+
Cards - Standard deck
Instructions - Deal the cards out completely,
face-down - don't worry if the numbers are
uneven. The player to the left of the dealer
starts by turning the card on the top of his
pack face-up in the centre of the table. Play
continues with each player adding a card to
the face-up pile, until somebody turns up a
Jack, at which point all players try to be the
first to "slap" their hand over the stack.
Whoever gets their hand there first takes the
pile and adds it to the bottom of their pack.
The player to their left starts a new face-up
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Snip Snap Snorem
This is a popular - and noisy - card
matching game, suitable for younger
children and mixed age groups.
Snip Snap Snorem
places the final card of that rank says
"Snorem" and wins the right to start the next
round with the card of their choice.
Number of players - 3+
Children will soon learn that it is best to lead
with a card in which they have more than one
of a kind.
Age - 4+
Cards - Standard deck of cards
Instructions- Deal the cards out completely
(don't worry if some players get more than
others). Players sort the cards in their hands
by rank: the object of the game is to get rid of
all your cards.
The player to the left of the dealer starts by
placing any card down on the table. The next
player looks to see if they have a card of the
same rank. If they do, they place it down on
top of the card, saying "Snip". If they have
another card of the same rank, they place it
down too, saying "Snap". If they don't, play
passes to the next player, and so on. Whoever
Stealing Bundles
Also known as Stealing The Old Man's
Bundle, this unpredictable game is very
popular with kids, who love being able to
steal each other's cards! It is an early
version of Casino.
Number of Players - 2 - 4
Age Range - 6+
Type of Game - Luck
Cards - Standard 52-card deck
Aim - To have the biggest "bundle" of cards at
the end of the game.
Instructions - Each player is dealt four cards,
which are kept separate and face-down. Then,
another row of four cards in put, this time
face-up, in the centre. The rest of the cards
are put aside. The player to the left of the
dealer has first turn. In each turn he does one
of three things.
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Stealing Bundles
1.If he has a card which is of the same rank
(ie: twos, Queens) as any of those in the
centre, he can “steal” the centre card (or
cards) and put it face-up with his own, in front
of him, in a stack. This is his “bundle”. If he
wins more cards in future turns, they all go
onto the top of this bundle, with only the top
card showing.
2. If he has a card which is of the same rank
as the top card in someone else’s “bundle”, he
can steal their bundle!
3. If he has no cards which match the central
ones or another’s bundle, he “trails”, putting
one of his own cards face-up in the centre.
When everyone has played all four of their
original cards, they are dealt four new ones
and the game continues.
When all the cards have been dealt and
played, the player with the most cards in their
bundle wins.
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War makes an easy introduction to card
playing for kids without too many rules
to complicate the game.
Number of Players - 2 (although 3 can play
with our variation below)
Age Range - 6+
Type of Game – Luck
Cards - Standard deck of 52 cards
Aim - To win all the cards
Instructions - Deal out the cards and keep
them face down. Player must not look at their
Both players turn over the top card in their
piles and put them face-up in the centre.
Whoever has turned over the higher ranking
card, never mind which suit, picks up both
cards and adds them to the bottom of his pile.
If, however, three cards of the same rank are
turned up, the players play “Double War”,
where everyone puts two cards face-down in
the centre and one card face-up. If the cards
happen to match, they continue with “Single
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Continue in the same way until two cards of
the same value (eg two 4s) are turned over at
the same time. 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 is a winner.
The game is won by the player who manages
to collect all the cards.
War for Three - This is nearly the same as War
(for two), except that the last card in the deck
is not given out, to make sure that all the
players have the same number of cards. Then,
if two cards of the same rank are turned up, all
three people have to go to “War”.
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