Monday, July 15, 2013

Card games for kiddos

our homemade card holder

My 5-year-old is a card shark.  It isn't what you think.  We haven't taught her poker (yet), but she is absolutely obsessed with card games.  It started so innocently with UNO.  I thought she would like it;  I had no idea she would love it nor did I have any idea we would soon be playing UNO almost two hours a day, every day, with her never tiring of the game.  After weeks of UNO, I felt a bit desperate for some variety, so I introduced Rat-a-Tat Cat.  Another hit!  She loves it too.

Rat-a-Tat Cat is a game that involves a bit of memory and helps with number order, in case you're the type of grown-up who wants some educational value built into playtime (ahem).  The goal is to have the lowest valued cards: all cats, no rats.  For extra math work, get your older kids to add up the scores and then play round after round to increase the addition challenge (there I go again!)...or you could just play and have fun.  My little one is onto me, so she now insists we play without keeping track of score, which is still good fun.

card shark

But don't you know...I tired of Rat-a-Tat Cat, or more honestly, my 7-year-old did.  She couldn't handle the score keeping (i.e., she needed to have the best score or else) and soon she refused to play.  This was a source of woe for my little card shark, so I introduced Sleeping Queens.

Sleeping Queens is just perfect for my big girl.  There is a tad bit of strategy involved but no score-keeping.  There is a bit of math, if you can handle it.  Along with queens, kings, knights, dragons, sleeping potions and magic wands, there are number cards.  You can trade in one number card at a time or a matched pair or you can trade in an equation (for example, if you have 3, 4 and 7, you can say "3 + 4 = 7" and trade in all three for better cards).  We play with our cards face up so we can help our little card shark with the math.

I can highly recommend all three cards games for young kids.  Trust me, we have played them enough to know.  My little one used to wake up, wander into my room and crawl into bed for a sweet snuggle as we both woke up.  Nowadays, she comes in and says, "Mama, I want to play Sleeping Queens" (or Rat-a-Tat Cat) before I've even unglued my eyelids.  I'm not suggesting you'll get the same bleary-eyed results, but I'm pretty sure your kids will like the games.

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