Tag Archives: Card Games

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It’s in the Cards: Card Games and Card Reading

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Playing cards have captured people’s imaginations since 10th century China, when they depicted coins instead of today’s symbols. I usually pack a deck in a backpack for family outings, and it will keep us busy for hours. Chances are you have a deck of cards somewhere in your home or can buy one inexpensively at a nearby store. Your kids will enjoy discovering the card games of your own childhood, as you enjoy playing them alongside. Snuggle together in sleeping bags on a cold night or start a Family Card Night tradition.

These are some of the most popular and child-friendly card games. They can be played with two or more players.

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Slapjack

This fun, noisy game inspires hand-eye coordination and thinking on one’s feet.

The Deal: Cards are all dealt, one at a time, to all players. It doesn’t matter if some players have more cards than others.

Object: To win all the cards, by being first to slap each jack as it is played to the center.

Players take turns lifting one card from his or her pile and placing it face up in a common pile at the center of the table. Players must be careful not to see their own cards first. Whenever a jack is turned, the first player to slap it takes all the cards in the common pile and places them in his or her own pile.

When more than one player slaps at a jack, the one whose hand is directly on top of the jack wins the pile. If a player slaps at any card in the center that is not a jack, he must give one card, face down, to the player of that card. When a player has no more cards left, he remains in the game until the next jack is turned. He may slap at the jack in an effort to get a new pile. If he fails to win that next pile, he is out of the game. Play continues until one player has won all the cards.

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I Doubt It    

This easy game incorporates some of the bluffing aspects poker. If you’re playing with a large group, use two decks.

The Deal: The dealer gives two or three cards at a time to each player in rotation. On the last round of dealing, the cards are dealt out one at a time as far as they will go.

Object: To be the first player to get rid of all of his or her cards.

The first player places between 1 and 4 cards face down on the table and announces that he or she is putting down as many aces as the number of cards. For example, the player may put down three cards and say, “Three aces.” Each player in rotation discards similarly, announcing the number of cards, and their rank in descending order (A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, etc.) Discarding players may or may not be telling the truth. Any player at the table may say “I doubt it” after any discard, and the player who put the cards down has to turn them up. If the player who discarded turned out to have a true statement, the doubter must take the cards in question, along with all the other cards in the pile.

If the statement was false, the player who didn’t tell the truth must take all the cards on the table, including those just put down, and add them to his or her hand. If two or more players doubt the statement, the one who spoke first is the doubter. When a statement is not doubted, the cards remain face down in the pile until they are subsequently picked up. When the play gets down to 2s, the next player begins again with aces. The first player to get rid of all his or her cards wins.

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 Go Fish

This classic matching game is good for the very young.

The Deal: Cards are dealt, one at a time, until an even number of cards has been distributed. Leftover cards go face-down in the center to form the stock.

Object: To get the most pairs.

The first player asks any opponent “Got any threes?”, or another rank card that he or she already has one of. The player who is asked must hand over all the cards requested. If that player has none, he or she says, “Go fish,” and the player who made the request draws the top card from the stock. If a player gets one or more cards of the rank he or she asked for, either through the stock pile, or by “fishing” from others, that player is entitled to take another turn.

Players put down pairs, face-up. If at any time a player is left without any cards in the hand, he or she may draw from the stock pile, and then ask for cards of the rank they just drew. The game ends when all the cards are face-up. The winner is the player with the most pairs.

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Crazy Eights

This fun game involves wild cards and a little memory and strategizing.

The Deal: Cards are dealt, one at a time, until an even number of cards has been distributed. Any leftover cards go face-down in the center to form the stock. One card from the stock pile is turned up to form the starter pile.

Object: To be the first player to get rid of all of his or her cards.

The first player must lay face-up onto the starter a card of the same suit or the same rank. Players follow in turn. If someone has no match, he or she must draw cards from the stock pile until a match occurs. If there is no stock, a player who is unable to play any card in the hand must pass. All eights are wild. A player putting down an eight gets to call the suit that the eight is to represent. The next player must put down a card of the designated suit or another eight. The first player to get rid of all his or her cards wins.

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Card Reading

Cartomancy, or fortune telling with cards, was especially big in 18th century Europe. Even Napoleon was said to have consulted the cards.

You’ll need:

A regular deck of playing cards

Remove the 2-6 cards of each suit. That will leave a 32-card deck with the Aces, face cards (King, Queen, Jack), and 7-10 cards of each suit.

Shuffle cards.

Spread the deck, face-down, and instruct the person who’s having his or her fortune read choose any three cards.

Lay the cards in a row, face-up.

The cards will represent, from left to right, the past, the present and the future.

Ask a question of the cards and see what answer you think the meaning of the cards reveal.

Here are some common meanings of the cards:

Hearts – Love and home

Ace – Happy home, friendship, a love letter

King – A fair-haired man

Queen – A fair-haired woman

Jack – A kind, fair-haired friend

Ten – Good luck

Nine – A wish come true

Eight – Visitors and parties

Seven – Harmony and calm

Diamonds – Business, travel and change

Ace – Good news

King – A fair-haired man

Queen – A fair-haired woman

Jack – A kind, fair-haired friend

Ten – A change bringing good fortune

Nine – A new project, gift or travel

Eight – A pleasant journey

Seven – Surprise news or gift, a small argument will be resolved

Clubs – Business and power

Ace – Happiness and wealth

King – A dark-haired man

Queen – A dark-haired woman

Jack – A kind, dark-haired friend

Ten – Luck with money or friends, travel

Nine – Achievement, possibly through a helpful friend

Eight – A small amount of money, need to surround the self with trusted others

Seven – Success from hard work, a small problem will be resolved

Spades – Fate and caution

Ace – Possible conflict

King – A dark-haired man

Queen – A dark-haired woman

Jack – A dark-haired friend who may be untrustworthy

Ten – A problem that will be solved

Nine – A new beginning

Eight – The need to be careful and flexible

Seven – Advice that is best not taken

These activities are adapted from Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World, which contains 300+ more fun family activities.

Photos: Hycrest, Judith2You, World of Playing Cards

 

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