Card games can be a wonderful way to enjoy family time together, but especially when young kids are involved you need to find the right game. It can’t be too simple or the grown-ups get bored and never want to play. Similarly, it can’t be too complex or the kids get frustrated when the rules go over their heads. But games that are fun for adults and preschoolers do exist – and today I’m going to share three of our favorites with you.
This one is a play on the classic “Crazy Eights” game. Instead of “Crazy Eights” you’ve got “Crazy Mates,” as in pirates! While I’ll never understand how pirates became caricatures appropriate for children, the munchkin loves this game and especially likes shouting Shiver Me Timbers!! when he wins. (The winner is required to shout in pirate-speak, you see.)
The great thing about this game is that it’s genuinely fun for adults and gives kids a chance to practice their numbers, colors and matching skills. Although rated for kids 5-9 years old, the munchkin caught on pretty quickly at 4 1/2 years old and frequently asks to play. The game comes with a set of instructions and you can find it at Amazon.com.
In this kid-friendly version of “Go Fish” players match fish-shaped cards by color. Each player is given 5-7 cards (depending on the number of players) and then the remaining cards are spread out on the table, face-down, to create a “fish pond.” When it’s your turn you ask another player if they have a particular colored fish. If they do, they give it to you and you put your match down on the table. If they don’t, they say “go fish” and you then take a fish out of the pond to see if you have a match. When all the sets of cards have been matched the player with the most matches wins. (Or, the first player to match all their cards wins, either way works.)
This was the first card game we introduced the munchkin to and he took to it immediately. It’s fun for everyone and lets children practice colors as well as memory skills. Like Crazy Mates, the game comes with instructions and can be found at Amazon.com.
This is the newest card game we’re playing and it’s also been a hit with everyone in our family. The game has been somewhat simplified in that each card has an animal and a suit, but there are no numbers on the cards. Otherwise the rules are similar to the original version of Rummy. The goal is to build “books” (3 or more cards of the same animal) or “sets” (4 or more cards of the same suit). The first player to use all the cards in their hand wins.
Of all the card games listed here, this one is probably the most complex in that you need to match specific kinds of cards in specific ways in order to play your hand. But with a few rounds of play we all caught on and were having a great time together. This game is also rated for ages 5+, comes with instructions and can be found at Amazon.com.
Do you play a card game with your preschooler that’s not on this list? I’d love to hear about it!