Are you looking for gifts for a young child, ages 3 to 6? You might be surprised to learn that young kids love card games like Old Maid, Go Fish, Crazy Eights, and more.
My sister Pam, known as Mema to her grandkids, started teaching her grandson card games when he was about 3 ½. She taught him each new game by playing with the cards face up, or open hand. Once he learned the basics, they’d switch to playing closed hands.
If Pam had the old maid card, she liked to make it stick up above the other cards in her hand, just like our grandparents did to us when we were kids. Of course, her grandson took the bait and picked that card, at first.
“He used to love getting the old maid until he got wiser,” Pam said. “His favorite game now is Go Fish. Dave (Papa) plays with us and it is much more fun with more than two people.”
In the photo below, he’s playing with a deck of cards Pam sent home with him so he could practice shuffling the cards because he was fascinated watching Mema shuffle them, and he wanted to learn to do that, too.
Is it any wonder young kids love card games?
Card games and board games make for great family time and bonding. My oldest daughter asked all the grandparents to hold off buying the kids any new toys because they have plenty, but if the grandparents wanted to buy the grand kids board games or card games, those would be perfect for fun family activities they could play together once a week.
Donya Booth, Brookridge Day School Music Instructor lists nine benefits of playing children’s board and card games.
Her list includes educational benefits:
- Number and shape recognition
- Grouping and counting
- Letter recognition and reading
- Visual perception
- Color recognition
- Eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity
Here’s her list of social skills benefits:
- Verbal communication
- Taking turns
- Group interaction
George and I are following Pam and Dave’s lead and are teaching our grandchildren how to play Old Maid and dominoes and board games such as Chutes and Ladders and Operation, for starters.
A deck of cards is inexpensive. You can find them at your local dollar store. Check out my post here.
Here’s a good article, Benefits of a Family Card Game, by Sue Shellenbarger. This is full of excellent points why you should teach your children card games. For example:
“Card games can teach math and memory skills, as well as strategic thinking, psychologists and sociologists say. Also, the conversation and friendly rivalry that come with sitting down to play cards can strengthen family ties.”
I grew up in a card-playing/board-game-playing family. When my siblings and I were young kids, we loved card games. Once we outgrew Old Maid and Crazy Eights, we learned Hearts and Spades and board games like Clue and Monopoly.
We always had loads of fun and tons of laughs. These are memories we treasure, especially when grandparents, parents, and the kids get together to play. We’re hoping by passing the traditions on to the grandkids, one day they’ll look back at these times with fond memories and teach their children how to play, too.
Do you like to play card games, board games, or dice games? Video games? What’s your favorite and why?
I’d love to hear from you.
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It’s me, mema…just reading your article made me smile because the highlight of our time with “grandson” is when we sit down to play cards. We sit on the floor and he loves to take turns sitting close to either me or “papa.” It is a true bonding time, and we always make it fun and laugh when we don’t win, because who cares if we win or lose. We played cards together so we all won!
That’s the perfect attitude for playing cards with grand kids and other family members. I love that he takes turns sitting close to you and papa. That’s so precious. He’s such a darling little boy. You’re so right about how it’s a true bonding time. We, too, have lots of laughs and precious moments when playing games with the kids. Thanks, mema, for leaving your comment. Such a beautiful reflection on the relationship you guys have!
We play all of those. Each one has something special about it.
You’re right, Alex, each one has something special about it. You rock! Thanks for stopping by!
My grandmother taught my brother and I to play canasta and pinochle and I love both games to this day! Playing cards is stimulating yet relaxing, and a fun way to socialize, and yes, those are among my favorite memories of childhood.
Kassandra, that’s so cool that your grandmother taught you and your brother to play canasta and pinochle that you’ve carried those special childhood memories to this day. You’re right that playing cards if both stimulating and relaxing, and a great way to socialize, too. Doesn’t cost a lot of money either. Thanks so much for stopping in!
I’m a mom of three kids 19,17and 15 my husband and me loved playing games with our kids it was great family time . I also think it helped my children in school and with communication skillsWe played the game clueso much the game fell apart my daughter taped it
Hi Mary! Thank you for sharing your family’s experience and love of playing games. I have no doubt it helped your children in school and with communication skills. Clue is a fun game. That’s awesome that you guys played it so often, it fell apart and then your daughter taped it! So cool. Thanks for stopping by!