Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Benefits of Playing Cards With Little Kids

I find that a large part of being a Mom sounds so easy: Just find ways to kill spend time.  However, some days this can be easier said than done...Munchkin Girl's attention span can be smaller than a gnat with ADD.  So, the other day we were at my parents' house, when my Mom suggested that we play cards with the kids, I was skeptical.  My daughter is almost four and my son is only two, and every time I've tried to play games in the past it has been a bust. 

However, we chose a very easy game: Slap Jack.  For those that don't remember, here is how you play:

1.  Pass out all the cards and have each player put down one card at a time (Face-up).
2.  If anyone puts down a Jack, the first player to slap the deck gets all the cards
3.  If anyone puts down two numbers in a row, you can also slap and whoever gets there first gets all the cards
4.  The objective is to get all the cards and anyone who runs out of cards is out of the game

Of course, when you play with little kids, these rules get a bit fuzzy.  We found ourselves reminding them when to slap and whenever an adult got low on cards, we secretly passed them some new ones.

After a few minutes of this, I was pretty shocked.  This game kept us all busy for 45 straight minutes.  The kids cheered for each other and for us and every single time someone slapped the deck the kids laughed hysterically.

Not only was this a really fun way to spend an hour, I quickly realized that it was largely educational too.  They were learning:

1.  To recognize letters.  My daughter (almost four) kept almost slapping when she saw a queen or a jack, but then she would pull her hand away since it wasn't a "J".  She would grin and was so proud of herself for recognizing a "Q" instead of a "J".
2.  To recognize numbers.  She had to keep an eye out for two 7s or two 8s, etc.
3.  To wait their turn.  At first, they both kept trying to just put down a bunch of cards at once, or skip in front of people, but by the end, they were waiting patiently.
4.  To be a good sport.  They cheered for each other and for us when we won a round of cards.

Now I'm excited to teach them poker!  Then they can learn about money!  Haha.  Do you have any card games that little kids can play?

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  1. I loved slap jack. We used to play War as a kid too!

    Perhaps War will come easier than Poker? ;)

    1. Haha, I know, Poker might be a little tough! Remind me...how do you play War?

  2. Yes, my 4 year old loves War! You divide up the deck evenly and each player flips a card. The person with the highest card takes all the cards. You keep doing this ( in theory) until one person wins by getting all the cards. When two people flip over the same card, you have a "war". You quickly put down three cards each, face down, then flip over one more each - the person with the highest gets all the cards out, including the face down ones.

    He also loves Go Fish.