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The BEST Easy Card Games for Kids. Classic Fun with Just One Deck!

The BEST Easy Card Games for Kids. Classic Fun with Just One Deck!

Looking for the best fun card games for kids for some good ol’ screen free entertainment? We’ll show you how to play 20 different card games using a simple deck of playing cards that are easy enough for your kids to learn and enjoy. From those geared towards toddlers (hello, War!) to more strategic card games for tweens and teens, you’re bound to find a new favorite card game with this best-of-the-best list.

It’s amazing how many different card games you can play with a classic 52-card deck! But which card games are age-appropriate for your kids? Which ones are good for 2 people to play? Or 3 players? And which can be enjoyed by the whole family?

We’ve done the leg work for you to answer these questions, by pulling together a list of the best card games for kids – where we not only teach you how to play, but also outline the recommended age, number of players, and even provide an online tutorial.

These classic card games can help your kids beat boredom any time of year – they’re perfect to play outside in the summer (bring a deck of cards to the beach or on your next camping trip for hours of fun!), but also for when the family is stuck inside during the cold winter months.

They’re also great games to play on family game night, and can be an amazing bonding experience for siblings to be able to play together. Many can even help sharpen your kids strategic thinking and math skills. And best of all, these simple card games are screen-free fun!

PIN for when you want to teach your kids a fun new card game!

best easy card games for kids

Please note: we have listed these card games in order based on recommended age. So all games that can be played by younger kids (starting as young as age 3) are listed first. So if you’re interested in games for older kids, keep scrolling and you’ll get there!

War

This classic card game is as easy as it gets, and is great for getting younger children involved – it can even help them learn their numbers and number value. There’s not much strategy involved, they’ll just need a little luck on their side to win! 

Alternate Names: Battle

Number of Players: 2 people

Recommended Age: 3 and up

Objective: Be the first player to collect all 52 cards in the deck.

How to Play War:

Step 1: Each player gets dealt one half of the deck (26 cards). Cards are kept face down in a pile in front of each player.

Step 2: Each player turns over the top card of their pile at the same time. The highest-ranking card takes the win for that round. Ace is high, meaning it will beat any other card in the deck.

Step 3: The winner for the round takes both cards from play, and places them on the bottom of their own pile.

Step 4: If the cards in play are the same, that means there’s War! Each player then places 3 cards face down in front of them, followed by one additional card face up.

Step 5: The winner of the War is the player whose final face-up card is the highest. They win all 10 cards and place them on the bottom of their pile. If the War ends in a tie (players reveal the same card again), then the War continues and Step 4 is repeated until there is a winner of the round.

Step 6: A winner is declared when one person has all the cards.

Check out this short video tutorial from Gather Together Games on how to play War!

Go Fish

“Go Fish” is a great card game for players of all ages, from young children to adults. While it can be played with 2 people, it is best with 3-6 players. Kids love asking each other for cards, and saying “Go Fish!” when they have none!

Alternate Names: Fish

Number of Players: 2 to 6 people

Recommended Age: 3 and up

Objective: The player with the most “books” (sets of four matches) wins the game.

How to Play Go Fish:

Step 1: Each player is dealt five cards (if playing with 2 people, deal seven cards instead); the rest of the deck is placed in the center, face down, as the stock pile.

Players hold their cards in their hand so no one else can see them.

Step 2: The person to the left of the dealer goes first. They ask another player if they have a certain card in their hand. For example, John may ask Suzie, “Suzie, do you have any sevens?” but ONLY if John has at least one seven in his hand.

 The player who is asked to give up their cards must then hand over their card or all cards of the same matching rank. For example, Suzie would give John all of the sevens that she has in her hand if asked, not just one of them. This is called “making a catch”.

If a player makes a catch on their turn, they may continue to ask any player for requests.

If a player is asked to give up their cards, but does not have any matches, then they will reply “Go Fish!”. The player then must draw a card from the stock pile, and the next player to their left then gets a turn.

Step 3: When a player is in turn and makes a book (four-card match), they place the cards face up in front of them for all to see.

Step 4: If a player runs out of cards in their hand, they may draw five cards from the stock pile when it is their turn.

Step 5: The game ends when all of the thirteen books are revealed. The player with the most books is the winner!

Check out this video tutorial from Howcast on how to play Go Fish!

Snip Snap Snorem

This is a perfect card game for young kids to move onto after mastering the likes of War and Go Fish, but is still plenty of fun for older children. Play moves quickly as you add to the center pile trying to complete the 4-of-a-kind, and with each card, saying “Snip”, then “Snap”, and finally “Snorem”. It’s quick and easy to learn and the silly name you repeat over and over just adds onto the fun.

Number of Players: 3 or more people

Recommended Age: 4 and up

Objective: Be the first player to get rid of all your cards.

How to Play Snip Snap Snorem:

Step 1: The dealer deals out the entire deck of cards as evenly as possible between all players.

Step 2: Players look at their cards but keep them hidden from others. It is helpful to arrange the cards according to rank.

Step 3: The first player lays down any card they like, face up on the table to form a center pile.

Step 4: The next player must check to see if they have a card of the same rank; if so, they place it on top and say, “Snip”.

If that player has another card of that rank, they can place that card down as well, adding on “Snap”.

If a player does NOT have a card of the same rank to lay down, they simply pass to the next player.

Step 5: Whichever player adds the final matching rank card to the pile says, “Snorem”, and then gets to start the next round with the card of their choice.

Step 6: The player that runs out of cards first is the winner.

Game Rules has a great video tutorial on how to play Snip Snap Snorem that you can check out.

Crazy Eights

Crazy Eights is another easy card game for younger kids to learn. While there are lots of variations, we have outlined how to play in its most simple format that allows for a quick game without any point calculations. You’ll find the basic premise very similar to the popular card game, Uno.

Alternate Names: Crates, Switch, Swedish Rummy, Last One, Rockaway

Number of Players: 2-5 people

Recommended Age: 4 and up

Objective: Be the first player to get rid of all of the cards in your hand.

How to Play Crazy Eights:

Step 1: If there are 2 people playing, the dealer will deal out 5 cards each. With 3 players or more, deal out 7 cards each. Leftover cards are placed face down in the center as the stock pile.

The dealer flips over the top card of the stock pile, facing up. If the card is an 8, it is put back in the middle of the deck, and another card is flipped over to begin.

Step 2: The player to the left of the dealer goes first. They must place a card from their deck on top of the starter pile that matches the card’s rank or suit. For example, if the card is the King of Hearts, the player can play either a King or any Heart.

Crazy 8’s: All 8s act as a wild card and can be played at any time in a turn. The player who lays it down can choose a new suit to play from (regardless of what suit the 8 is). The next player must then play a card from the new suit – unless they can play another 8 to change it again!

Step 3: If a player does not have a card that matches in rank or suit (or have an 8 to play), they must draw from the stock pile. They will continue to draw cards from the pile until they pick up a card that can be played. That card is then placed on top of the pile to finish their turn.

If the stock pile is empty, a player who cannot play from their deck passes their turn.

Step 4: The winner is the first player who gets rid of all their cards.

Check out this short video tutorial from Bicycle Cards on how to play Crazy 8s!

Old Maid

The facial expressions your kids will make as the Old Maid is passed around in this fun card game are truly priceless! The object of the game is simple: you don’t want to be left with the Old Maid, so the disappoint of having the card in hand, or the joy of someone else taking it away, is often hard to keep under wraps! Players of all ages will enjoy this one.

Number of Players: 2 or more people

Recommended Age: 4 and up

Objective: Don’t be the player left with the Old Maid.

How to Play Old Maid:

Step 1: Remove 3 Queens from your deck of cards; the Queen remaining in play becomes the Old Maid.

Step 2: The dealer deals clockwise and passes out all cards in the deck. Each player looks at their own cards and keeps them hidden from their opponents.

Step 3: Any matching pairs from your cards can be placed face up in front of you; if you have 3 of one kind, you may only place pairs on your table, so you must keep one of them in your hand.

Step 4: Each player takes a turn pulling a card (blindly) from the hand of the player to their right.

If a player chooses a card from another player and makes a match with their own cards, they can place the pair in front of them.

Step 5: Play continues until all of the pair matches are face up on the table, and the player who is left with the Old Maid loses!

Check out this video tutorial from wikiHow showing how to play Old Maid.

Spoons

This fast-moving, but easy card game also involves a prop which kids love: spoons! Simply try to get 4-of-a-kind and then grab a spoon – the person without a spoon is out and assigned a letter from the word S-P-O-O-N. Spell the entire word, and you lose! You can play with “fake outs” too, where you can bluff taking a spoon to see if anyone else will grab one – if you grab one without anyone having 4 of-a-kind, you lose that round. A super fun, quick game!

Alternate Names: Pig

Number of Players: 3 or more people

Recommended Age: 4 and up

Objective: Be the final player left after others are eliminated in each round!

How to Play Spoons:

Step 1: Place one less spoon than the number of players in the center of the playing area.

Step 2: The dealer deals each player four cards. The rest of the cards are placed next to the dealer, face down, as the draw pile.

Step 3: At the start of each round, the dealer draws a card from the draw pile and adds it to their hand. They must then choose a card to pass to the player on their left, by placing it face down in front of them. It is OK to directly pass the card that is picked up from the discard pile (ie. not switch it out for a card in their hand).

Step 4: The player that receives the card must then put it in their hand and choose a card to pass to the next player.

Step 5: The last player in the round puts their card into a separate discard pile.

Step 6: The next round starts with the dealer taking a card from the draw pile and passing another along. Play happens quickly so players may end up with a pile of cards to pick-up from in front of them.

Step 7: If players run out of a draw pile, then the discard pile can be shuffled and made into the new draw pile.

Step 8: When a player gets four cards of the same rank, that player will grab a spoon; they may grab it quickly, or try to be slow and steady, depending on their strategy, however, once one player grabs a spoon, the other players will attempt to grab a spoon as well.

Step 9: The player that is left without a spoon gets a letter from the word S-P-O-O-N

Step 10: If a player ends up with all five letters, then they are out of the game, and another spoon is taken away from the play area.

Step 11: The game continues until there is only one player left – the winner!

Variation: This game is also called “Pig” because you can spell P-I-G instead of S-P-O-O-N, resulting in fewer rounds and a shorter game.

Watch this short video tutorial from Gather Together Games to see Spoons game play in action.

Snap

In this exciting game of card matching, whoever spots a pair first, yells “Snap!” and wins the cards. Snap requires a keen eye and focused attention and you’ll find your kids really getting into the action. Problems can arise when kids can’t agree who said “Snap” first, but luckily the Snap Pot can alleviate most of those situations. But if you want a more clear cut way to decide who wins the cards, place a Joker in the center of play and whoever hits it first saying “Snap” is the winner.

Number of Players: 2 or more people

Recommended Age: 4 and up

Objective: Be the first player to get all of the cards.

How to Play Snap:

Step 1: The dealer deals out the entire deck of cards. Each player keeps their cards in a stack, face down, in front of them.

Step 2: On each player’s turn, they remove the top card from their own face down pile and place it face up in a second pile next to it.

Step 3: If a player turns over a card that matches another player’s card, the first player to yell “snap!” wins all of the cards in that player’s face up pile.

If two players simultaneously yell “snap!”, then both of their face-up piles are added to the center in one combined “snap pot”.

Step 4: If a player gets a match for the card on top of the snap pot, whoever shouts “snap pot!” first wins all cards from the snap pot and adds them to the bottom of their own face up pile.

Step 5: If a player runs out of cards in their face down pile, then they turn the face-up pile upside down without shuffling.

Step 6: Play continues until one player ends up with all the cards and is declared the winner.

We find it helpful to watch a video tutorial that breaks down how to play Snap, like this one from Triple S Games.

Slap Jack

Slap Jack is a fun, easy card game for beginners to learn, that is also entertaining for more advanced players. While there is no real strategy involved, the rules are simple: be the first to slap the Jacks to win all the cards. If you want to give younger kids a better chance, you can allow them to keep their hands on the table, while grown-ups or older children have to keep their slapping hand on their lap, or behind their back. Put those reflexes to the test with Slap Jack!

Alternate Names: Slaps, Heart Attack

Number of Players: 2 or more people

Recommended Age: 4 and up

Objective: Be the first player to get all the cards.

How to Play Slap Jack:

Step 1: The dealer deals out the entire deck evenly to all players. Players keep their cards in a pile face down in front of them.

Step 2: The player to the left of the dealer starts play by flipping over their top card and placing it in the center of play for all to see.

Step 3: Each player continues flipping over their top card into the center pile in relatively fast-paced play.

Step 4: If a player places a Jack on the pile, then the first player to slap the stack gets to keep all the cards. They will add these cards to the bottom of their personal stack and give them a quick shuffle.

If more than one person slaps the Jack, the person whose hands is directly on top of the card wins the pile. If a player mistakenly slaps the pile without a Jack being played, they must give one card to the player who just played the top card.

Step 5: If a player runs out of cards, they get one final chance to enter back into the game by being the first to slap the next Jack that is played. If they are not the first, then they are out. If they are successful, they pick up the pile and can keep playing.

Step 6: A winner is declared when one person wins all the cards.This video tutorial from WikiHow visually demonstrates how to play Slap Jack.

Speed 

This is a great card game for 2 people, and is aptly named as there are no turns – players play simultaneously, for a fast-moving action packed game.

Alternate Names: Slam

Number of Players: 2 players only

Recommended Age: 5 and up

Objective: Be the first player to get rid of all your cards.

How to Play Speed:

Step 1: The dealer deals two sets of cards to each player; the first set is for five cards each which they pick-up to form their hand, and the second set is for 15 cards each which becomes their personal draw deck.

The dealer then deals four stacks face down in the center: stack #1 has five cards, stacks #2 and #3 have 1 card each, and stack #4 has five cards.

Step 3: To start play, the two middle cards from stacks #2 and #3 get flipped over and revealed at the same time. These two piles become the discard piles.

Step 4: Players may discard cards from their hand, one at a time, if it is one more or one less in rank than the face-up card on the discard pile. Ace can be both high and low. For example, if there was a “2” on the discard pile, a player could play either an Ace or a “3” on top of it. Players do NOT take turns, play happens all at once.

Step 5: After a player discards one of the cards from their hand, they replace it with the top card from their personal draw deck.

Step 6: If players get “stuck” and there are no plays left, then a new card from stack #1 and a new card from stack #4 are turned over and placed face-up on the two center discard piles.

Step 7: If stacks #1 and #4 run out, then the center discard piles can be shuffled and re-dealt to form the same 4 piles outlined in Step 2.

Step 8: The first player to get rid of all their cards yells “Speed” and is declared the winner.

Check out this post with a video tutorial from Triple S Games on how to play Speed!

James Bond

James Bond is a fast-paced card game that’s great for 2, 3 or 4 players. There are not many rules to remember, which is great for young kids, and the objective is simple: turn all your cards into 4-of-a-kind sets to win.

Alternate Names: Atlantis, Chanhassen

Number of Players: 2-4 people

Recommended Age: 6 and up

Objective: Be the first player to collect all of your matching rank sets.

How to Play James Bond:

Step 1: The dealer deals each player a set number of cards based on the number of players:

  • 2 players: 24 cards each
  • 3 players: 16 cards each
  • 4 players: 12 cards each

Players then arrange their cards into smaller four-card piles, face down in front of them:

  • 2 players: 6 piles with 4 cards in each
  • 3 players: 4 piles with 4 cards in each
  • 4 players: 3 piles with 4 cards in each

The final four cards are laid face up in a row in the center of the players.

Step 2: The dealer begins the game by yelling “go!”. Play then starts simultaneously; there is no “taking turns”, so the faster you work, the better.

Step 3: Each player picks up one of their piles, looks at the four cards, and then decides if they want to exchange one of those cards for a face-up card in front of them. Players are looking to create four-of-a-kind matches for each pile.

Players can only work with one pile of cards at a time, and can only exchange one card from that pile at a time.

There must always be four cards in each mini pile and four that remain face up in the center of the players.

Step 4: The first player to match four-of-a-kind in each of their piles must shout “James Bond!”, then turn over their piles to reveal the matches, in order to prove their win.

Check out this great video from Gather Together Games to see how to play James Bond.

Elevens

If you’re looking for an addicting one-player card game for your kids, Elevens is it. The premise is simple, but it’s harder than you’d think to win. We love that there’s math involved, and once they start to play, they’ll be hooked!

Alternate Names: Block Eleven, Number Eleven

Number of Players: Solo, 1 player card game

Recommended Age: 6 and up

Objective: To use all cards in the deck by making pairs that add up to eleven.

How to Play Elevens:

Step 1: Shuffle the cards and deal three rows of three cards each, for nine cards total, all face up. Leftover cards become the draw pile.

Step 2: Look at your cards and determine if any pairs can be made to add up to eleven. Any matching pairs can be removed from play and replaced with a new card from the draw pile.

Each number card holds face value with points (2-10); Aces are worth one point.

Face cards can only be removed from the board as a trio of Jack-Queen-King. These are the only cards that can be removed as a trio instead of a pair.

Step 3: In order to win, all cards must be used from the draw pile.

Watch a few rounds of Elevens being played in this video tutorial.

Rat-A-Tat-Tat 

Rat-A-Tat-Tat is a super fun card game that is part memory, part chance. Kids love that they get to sneak a peek at 2 of their cards, and the special powers of the Jack and Queen allow them additional peeks or blind trades which amp up the excitement. Cards are not held in hand, which is great for those younger kids that may get frustrated trying to hold them. The bonus for this game: kids have to use their math skills to add up their scores!

Alternate Names: Rat a Tat Cat

Number of Players: 2-4 people

Recommended Age: 6 and up

Objective: The player with the lowest score wins.

How to Play Rat-A-Tat-Tat

Step 1: The dealer deals out four cards to each player, face down. All remaining cards are placed face down in a draw pile in the center of the table. The top card gets turned over and placed next to the draw pile, becoming the discard pile.

Step 2: Each player arranges their cards face down in a line in front of them. Players can then peek at their first and last cards. Players should try to remember these card values as this is the only chance to look at them.

Step 3: The first player can choose to either draw from the top of the draw pile, or pick-up the card on top of the discard pile. They can look at their selected card and then decide if they want to swap it for a card in their line-up.

If they choose to swap, they must then place the card from their line-up face up on the discard pile.

Players are trying to get the lowest score in the round, and therefore will want to replace any cards in their line-up with lower ones drawn from the deck/discard piles.

Cards are scored as follows:

  • Kings =0
  • Aces = 1
  • Each number card (2-10) is worth its face value
  • Jack = 11
  • Queen = 11

So a hand with 4 Kings (total score of 0) would be the best score possible.

However, Jacks and Queens also have special powers if drawn from the draw pile:

  • Jack: A Jack allows you to peek at any one of your cards. After peeking, put the Jack on top of the discard pile. The next player cannot pick up the Jack and use it to peek, they must pick-up from the draw pile instead.
  • Queen: A Queen allows you to swap a card with any other player for one of your cards. Cards must remain face down during the swap. The Queen is discarded and the next player cannot use it, they must pick-up from the draw pile instead.

Step 4: When a player believes they have the lowest score, they will knock on the table and say “Rat-A-Tat-Tat”.

All the other players will get one final turn before everyone turns over their cards. Players add up their score and the person with the lowest total is declared the winner!

This video tutorial from Gather Together Games explains Rat-A-Tat-Tat in more depth.

Beggar My Neighbor

Despite the odd name, Beggar My Neighbor is a great game for kids to learn and play, and challenges them to remember some face card “rules”. There’s lots of back-and-forth play, as face cards are revealed and “pay” must be given. You can play with up to 4 people, but it’s plenty of fun as a 2-player card game as well.

Alternate Names: Beggar/Beat Your Neighbor

Number of Players: 2 to 4 people

Recommended Age: 6 and up

Objective: Be the first player to win all of the cards.

How to Play Beggar My Neighbor:

Step 1: The dealer deals out the entire deck to all players. Players keep their cards in front of them, in a face down pile.

Step 2: The first player turns over the top card of their deck and places it in the middle to form the center pile.

If the card is a number card (2-10), then their turn is over, and play moves to the person to their left. They then turn over their top card and add it to the center pile.

When a face card or Ace (court cards) is revealed, then the next player must play what is called “paying an honor”:

  • Ace: the next player must turn over 4 cards
  • King: the next player must turn over 3 cards
  • Queen: the next player must turn over 2 cards
  • Jack: the next player must turn over 1 card

Step 3: If all the cards that were laid down within the honor are number cards, then the player who first laid the court card (A, K, Q, J) gets to collect all of the cards in the center of play.

Step 4: If one of the cards that was turned over while paying the honor was a court card, then that player does not have to finish paying their honor, instead the next player must pay the new honor.

Step 5: This play continues until an honor is paid without revealing another court card. All of the cards in the center are then collected by the player that last played a court card.

Step 6: Each time a player wins the center pile, they put the cards at the bottom of their own face-down deck.

Step 7: If a player runs out of cards, they are eliminated.

Step 8: The first player to win all of the cards is declared the winner.

Watch this video on how to play Beggar My Neighbor from Gather Together Games to watch a game in action.

Egyptian Rat Screw

This game is a great next-step for those that enjoy Beggar My Neighbor, and can be adjusted to different age/skill levels based on the number of “Slap Rules” introduced. Start with 2 rules, and then keep adding more as your kids master them.

Alternate Names: Egyptian War, Rat Slap

Number of Players: 2 or more people

Recommended Age: 8 and up

Objective: Be the first player to win all the cards.

How to Play Egyptian Rat Screw:

Step 1: The dealer deals out all cards as evenly as possible to each player until the entire deck is gone.

Step 2: Players keep their cards in a face down stack in front of them.

Step 3: Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, the top card from their stack is placed face up in the middle, forming a center pile. If the card is a number card (2-10), their turn is over and play continues to the left.

Step 4: Play continues in this manner until a player puts down an Ace, King, Queen or Jack.

Step 5: Once one of these “face cards” is revealed, the next player has 1-4 chances of revealing another face card depending on the card played:

  • Ace: the next player has 4 chances
  • King: the next player has 3 chances
  • Queen: the next player has 2 chances
  • Jack: the next player has 1 chance

For example, if a King is played, the next player will turn over 3 cards, hoping to get a face card. If they do not, then the last player (who played the King) wins the entire stack of cards, and adds them to the bottom of their face down pile.

However, if that player turns over a face card within their allotted number of chances, play then moves to the next player, who now has 1-4 chances (based on the card value) to reveal a face card.

Play continues in this manner until no face cards are revealed within the number of chances, and the last player who played the face card, wins the stack. The player that wins the center pile then starts a new one by taking the top card off their deck and placing it face up in the middle.

Step 6: The center pile can also be won with “Slap Rules”. A player can slap the deck when they find a rule in place, and if they are the first to do so, they win the deck.

SLAP RULES: The following are Slap Rules you can put in place. You do not have to use all of these rules. Decide before the game starts which ones you want to use:

  • A Double: You may slap the deck if there are two cards of the same rank played in a row.
  • A Sandwich: You may slap the deck if two cards of the same rank are laid down with one card of a different value in between them. Ex: 2, 4, 2.
  • A Top Bottom: You may slap the deck when the same card as the first card of that round is laid down.
  • Tens: You may slap the deck if two cards that were laid in the pile consecutively add up to ten (Ace counts as one in this case).
  • A Joker: You may slap the deck if anyone lays down a joker (should you decide to use them in the game).
  • A Sequence of Four: You may slap the deck if four cards in a row are played in ascending or descending order. Ex: 9, 8, 7, 6
  • A Marriage: You may slap the deck if a Queen is laid down before or after a King so that the 2 cards are together.

Note: If a card is played on top of a combination that qualified for a Slap Rule, it is now out of play and cannot be slapped. If a player slaps the pile by mistake, they must take 2 cards from the bottom of their pile and add them to the bottom of the center pile as a penalty.

Step 7: If a player runs out of cards, they are not yet out of the game. They can still win cards via the Slap Rules and keep playing. However, if they slap the pile mistakenly, they are then deemed out.

Step 8: The first player who wins all of the cards is declared the winner.

Check out this great tutorial video from Gather Together Games on how to play Egyptian Rat Screw!

Garbage

Garbage is an exciting card sequencing game that doesn’t take long to learn, and if played in its entirety, can take a good amount of time to complete – making it perfect for family game night, summer camp-outs, or those stuck-inside winter days. And with a victory, it’s the only time where it’s acceptable for your kids to call out, “You’re Garbage”!

Alternate Names: Trash

Number of Players: 2 or more people

Recommended Age: 8 and up

Objective: Be the first player to create a sequence (A, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) with your cards. Once all consecutive rounds are completed, be the person with the Ace in the final round to win.

How to Play Garbage:

Step 1: The dealer deals out ten cards to each player, face down in 2 rows of 5 cards each. Players cannot look at their cards. The remaining cards are placed in the center, face down, as the stock pile.

Step 2: In round 1, each player has ten card slots from Ace to 10, starting from the top left side. The first player draws the top card from the stock pile. If a number card is drawn, it should be placed face-up on its corresponding place in the lineup. The face-down card that was in that spot, is then turned face-up and can then be placed in its correct location, if available, displacing the face down card that was there.

This continues until that player finds a card that cannot be placed: a Queen, a Jack, or a number card whose location is already occupied by that number. They must then discard the unplayable card, forming a face-up pile next to the stock pile.

WILDCARD: Kings are wild and can be placed face-up in any location with a face-down card, thereby displacing that card. If a King is occupying the place of a number card you later turn over, it can replace the King and the King can then be moved to another unoccupied spot.

Step 3: Play moves to the next player and they can choose to draw a new card off the stock pile, or pick-up the top card from the discard pile. They will then place that card in the correct location in their sequence, and continue until they find an unplayable card, which they then put on the discard pile to end their turn.

Step 4: The winner of the hand is the first player to complete their Ace-10 sequence. Once this happens, all other players get one final turn to try and complete their sequence.

Step 5: Any player who was able to complete the Ace-10 sequence will be dealt nine cards in the second round to play a sequence of Ace through nine. If a player did not complete their 10-card sequence, that player will be dealt a sequence of ten cards again.

Step 6: For each round, winning players for that round continue to be dealt one less card than the following round; losing players keep the same amount of cards from their previous round until they win.

Step 7: The first player that flips over an Ace in the very last round is declared the winner.

This helpful tutorial from Gather Together Games is a great watch and learn!

Golf (6-card)

Unlike many card games where you aim to earn the highest score, Golf is decidedly different in that you’re trying to get as few points as possible. The fun lies in the mystery cards you’re dealt that you cannot turn over until you’ve replaced them…hopefully with a lower point value, but many times, luck doesn’t fall your way and you’ll end up discarding a gem for your opponent to gleefully pick up. Rounds are quick so it’s a great card game to hold the attention span of younger players.

Alternate Names: Polish Polka, Polish Poker, Turtle, Crazy Nines

Number of Players: 2-4 people 

Recommended Age: 8 and up

Objective: The player with the lowest score at the end of 9 rounds is the winner.

How to Play 6-Card Golf:

Step 1: Each player is dealt six cards, face down. Players do not look at their cards. The leftover cards are placed face down in the center to form a stock pile. The top card is then turned over to start a discard pile next to it.

Players should arrange their own cards in two rows of three cards. They can then select any two cards to turn face-up. The rest should stay face down.

Step 2: On each player’s turn, they may draw from the stockpile or from the top card of the discard pile.

The card drawn can be swapped out for one of their six cards or discarded; if swapped out for a face-down card, then the new card must stay face up from this point forward. Players are aiming to have the lowest card value, and therefore try to swap out cards that would score higher.

Step 3: The round ends when one player has turned over all 6 of their cards. Points for that round are counted and recorded for each player.

Step 4: Each game has nine rounds or “holes”, and the player with the lowest combined score is declared the winner.

Scoring:

  • A pair of same-rank cards in the same column = 0 points for the column
  • King = 0 points
  • Ace = 1 point
  • 2 = minus 2 points
  • 3 though 10 = face value
  • Jacks and Queens = 10 points each

For full instructions, check out this video tutorial on how to play 6-card Golf from Triple S Games!

Cheat 

Cheat is always a kid-favorite because when else do they get to lie without getting into trouble?! It’s a fairly simple game, and can involve a lot of strategy in trying to get rid of all your cards. It’s also fun to read their facial expressions and try to call other player’s bluffs. A great card game for kids to play with siblings, friends or the whole family.

Alternate Names: Peanut Butter, I Doubt It, Bullsh*t, BS, Baloney, Baloney Sandwich, Bluff

Number of Players: 3-6 people (you can play with more, but you’ll need to add another deck of playing cards!)

Recommended Age: 8 and up

Objective: The first player to get rid of all their cards is the winner.

How to Play Cheat:

Step 1: The dealer deals out the cards to all players until they are all gone. Players pick up their cards and hold them in their hand so no one else can see.

Step 2: When play begins, cards need to be played in sequence with Aces first, then twos, then threes, and so on. Once Kings are reached, play starts over with Aces.

Step 3: On a player’s turn, they must play 1-4 cards from their hand and announce what they are laying down on the pile, even though the cards remain face down. As stated above, play starts with Aces, so the first player will discard their single or duplicates of that rank, announcing what they are discarding. For example, they would say “one Ace” while lying down one card.

Step 4: However, the player may “lie” and place down a card that is not the correct rank if they do not have the card that is in play for that sequence. For example: If a player does not have any twos, they could discard a Queen and announce “one two”.

Step 5: If another player believes that their opponent is not telling the truth, they can call out “Cheat!”. This must be done before the next player starts their turn. The cards that were laid down must then be revealed to see if they were truthful or not.

Step 6: If the cards were actually correct, then the player who called out “Cheat” must take the ENTIRE stack of discarded cards and add it to their own personal hand of cards.

Step 7: If the player did actually lie, then THEY have to take the entire discard pile to add to their hand.

Step 8: The first player to run out of cards is the winner. If the last player runs out of cards but is called “Cheat” by an opponent, they are not the winner unless they have been truthful. If it was an actual Cheat, they pick up all the discarded cards, and play continues.

This video from Rulies demonstrates how to play Cheat.

Kings Corner

If you have a Solitaire lover in your family, they will fall head over heels for Kings Corner as it uses the same general concepts of card sequencing and stacking. Once you have the set-up down, the game play is relatively simple, yet can be highly strategic.

Alternate Names: Kings in the Corners

Number of Players: 2-6 people

Recommended Age: 8 and up

Objective: Be the first player to get rid of all your cards.

How to Play Kings Corner:

Step 1: The dealer deals out seven cards to each player; all leftover cards go in the center of play as the stock pile.

The top four cards of the stock pile get turned over and one is placed on each side of the middle deck (north, south, east, west) to form foundation piles in a cross shape.

If a King is drawn as one of these four cards, it is moved to the corner of the deck, to start a corner pile, and another card is drawn to take its place as a foundation card in the cross formation.

Step 2: The player to the left of the dealer starts the game by drawing the top card from the stock pile in the center. The player then tries to play as many cards from their hand as possible within their turn.

Players may place their cards on top of the four foundation piles in the cross if they are immediately below the foundation card in rank, and of the opposite color. For example, a red 9 can be placed on a black 10. Kings are the highest card, and Aces are the lowest.

Kings are the only cards that can be played in one of the 4 open corner spaces. Once a King is placed in the corner, players can lay cards on that pile following the rules of the foundation piles (one lower in rank, opposite color).

Entire foundation piles can be moved on top of another pile IF the bottom card of that pile and the top card of the moving pile creates a valid sequence. Players can they play any card from their hand to fill the vacated foundation pile.

Once a player has completed their turn, play moves to the player on their left, and the process is repeated.

Step 3: If the middle deck runs out, players can continue to play cards from their hand without drawing.

Step 4: The first player to lay down all their cards is declared the winner!

Game Variation: Scoring can be incorporated into Kings Corner so when one player is out of cards, all other players add up their score from the cards remaining in their hand. Kings are worth 10 points, and all other cards are worth 1. Before you start playing, agree on a point total at which to stop play. Once one player reaches that point total, the player with the lowest total score is the overall winner.

We find it helpful to see Kings Corner played in real-time, so check out this video tutorial from Gather Together Games.

Blitz

Blitz is a fun card game that will sharpen your child’s math skills as they keep a running total of the points in their hand. The key to winning is part skill, part luck, and knowing when to knock to end the round!

Alternate Names: 31, Scat

Number of Players: 2 or more people

Recommended Age: 8 and up

Objective: Obtain a hand that totals 31 in cards of the same suit, or have the highest scoring hand in the round.

How to Play Blitz:

Card Rank: Ace is the highest, then King, Queen, Jack, 10 and down to 2 as the lowest.

Scoring: It is important to note that when adding up your hand’s score, only cards of the same suit can be counted.

  • Aces = 11 points
  • King/Queen/Jack = 10 points each
  • Number Cards = their face value
  • Any 3-of a-kind = 30 points, no matter the face value (this is the exception to the same-suit rule)

As an example, if you end the round with the King of Hearts, 9 of Hearts and 2 of diamonds, your score is 19 (King = 10 + 9). The 2 is not added because it is not of the same suit.

Step 1: The dealer deals three cards face down to each player, and places the rest of the deck in the middle as the draw pile. The top card of the draw pile is then flipped over to become the discard pile.

Step 2: On each player’s turn, a card can be picked up from either the draw pile or the discard pile. This card can be used to replace a card from their own hand, or discarded. If the card replaces another from their hand, that card must then be discarded so players always have 3 cards in their hand at one time.

Step 3: Players continue in this manner until one person believes that the cards in their hand have the highest score. At this point, they can knock on the table.

Step 4: After a player knocks, all other players get one last turn before players reveal their hands and add up their score.

The player with the highest total value of cards within the same suit wins.

Note: If a player knocks and there’s a tie, the knocker loses.

Check out this video on how to play Blitz by Elephant Playing Cards.

Kemps

Kemps is one of the very best card games for kids and a much-loved favorite! The fun lies in working with a partner and having to decide on a super secret signal that will  prompt the partner to say “Kemps”. Kids soon learn that they can fake out the other team(s) with a whole bevy of funny signals, in order to throw them off from the real one (so they don’t steal the point!). Great for sibling bonding!

Alternate Names: Peanut Butter Jelly

Number of Players: Kemps must be played in pairs, so you need an even number of people – 2, 4 or 6 players

Recommended Age: 8 and up

Objective: Obtain four-of-a-kind and then use a secret signal so your partner calls out “Kemps” to win a round. Win rounds to gain points. Reach a pre-determined point value to win the game.

How to Play Kemps:

Step 1: Each pair should talk in private to decide upon a secret, subtle non-verbal signal. For example: winking, scratching head, rubbing eye, etc. Partners should sit across from one another to play.

Step 2: The dealer deals 4 cards to each player which they can pick up and hold in their hand. An additional 4 cards are dealt in the middle, face up.

Step 3: There are no turns, all play happens simultaneously. When the dealer says “go” (right after dealing the 4 middle cards), each player can discard a card from their hand, and replace it with any card from the center. A player cannot have more than 4 cards in their hand at any time.

Players are trying to get four of the same rank in their hand.

Step 4: Play continues with unstructured turns swapping cards in the center. If play stops and no players wants to trade for a middle card, the dealer removes all 4 cards and deals out 4 new cards.

Step 5: Once you have 4-of-a-kind, use your secret signal to try and get your partner to say “Kemps”. If they do, your team gets a point and wins the round.

If you or your partner yell “Kemps” but they/you don’t have 4-of-a-kind, then your team loses a point.

You can also say “Cut” and point to an opponent if you think they have 4-of-a-kind. If they do, your team wins a point, but if you are incorrect, your team will lose a point.

Step 6: A team is declared the winner when they earn 5 points (or whatever point value you decide upon before starting play!)

Watch how to play Kemps with this concise video tutorial from Triple S Games.

So there you have it, 20 of the very best easy card games for kids. Choose a new one to learn and play with your whole family for some classic, screen-free fun!

Let us know in the comments below which one is your favorite! Or is there a card game you love that we didn’t include?

Jill C

Jill C

​Jill is a Creative Director at a marketing agency who also runs her blog, Kentucky Makeup Junkie. She lives in Northern Kentucky with her ten-year-old daughter, five-year-old son, and firefighter husband. She’s a beauty fanatic, fashion lover, and Mompreneur that loves to get her hands on anything creative. Follow along with her on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

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