Playing Cards Develop Reasoning, Mathematical and Social Interaction Skills in Young Children

Playing cards can be a great deal of fun for young children.  Many reasoning, mathematical and social interaction skills can be developed and reinforced by playing cards.  Simply buy a deck of playing cards (the kind adults use to play cards) and teach your child a few simple games.

  1. He/she can sort the cards, by color, by shape or by number
  2. He/she can play fish.  The object of the game is to collect matches of cards and collect more cards than the other player.  Deal out 7 cards to each person and then hold the cards in your hands.  The players take turns asking each other for a card that might match a card in his/her hand.  If the opposite player has a match for the card the child who asked for it, takes the card and now has a match.  When this happens he/she may ask for another card.  When a child asks and the opponent does not have a match, the opponent says “go fish.”  (which means take a card from the pile of cards that have not been used yet) If the card taken from the ‘go fish’ pile is a match, the person continues to draw another card, but if the card is not a match, the opponent now takes a turn asking.  The process then repeats itself.  When a player runs out of cards he/she may take 3 more from the ‘go fish’ pile.  When the pile is completely gone the game continues until all matches in the hands are matched.  The person with the most matches wins.
  3. War, or Challenge, whichever you prefer to call it.  Deal out the entire deck evenly between 2 players.  Each person keeps their stack of cards face down in a pile and then together both players flip over one card, the person with the highest card showing wins both cards.  If the cards match, then the players count out 2 cards facing down and turn over the 3rd card.  The person with the highest cards gets all of the cards on the table.  This game usually goes on and on and on and ends when one person just tires out.
  4. Playing cards is a good time for your child to practice social etiquette skills and learn to take turns and to be a good player and a good sport about winning or losing.
  5. Get out that deck of cards and see what fun you and your child can have tonite.
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