Perhaps it’s snowing outside, perhaps it’s just too chilly to visit the park, perhaps you’re stuck in a torrential storm without access to the internet. In any case, you’re cooped up indoors and searching for some simple, enjoyable card games for children. And you’re in the right spot. We also have a list of board games your family might enjoy.
These fun, straightforward card games for children and toddlers include 2-player, 3-player, and even more player options. There are a variety of simple card games that are low-effort and extremely enjoyable, from War to Peanut Butter & Jelly.
Many 2-player card games, simple card games, and toddler card games stand out as tried-and-true classics, even if everyone has their own personal favourite simple card game for children from their formative years.
These are the top 12 simple card games for children that can be played with two players or more, a span in age from toddlers to teens, and are guaranteed to make everyone laugh.
I must admit that I have gone on to teach my children both bridge and the fundamental’s of poker. The ability that these games have to help you make judgements on the sport are excellent. It is also great fun!
1. Peanut Butter & Jelly
Number of Players: 4, 6, or 8
The card game Peanut Butter & Jelly is played by teams. Each player receives four cards from the dealer, and the teams divide up to decide what their “sign” will be if someone receives a hand of cards that includes all four cards of the same suit or value (tugging an ear, winking, coughing, you get the idea).
In order to create a four-of-a-kind, the dealer picks up a card and has the option of passing or adding it to their deck. A player signals their partner with their signal when they have four of a type. They shout “Peanut Butter” if their lover notices it. They triumph. However, if a player on the opposing side thinks they see the opposing team signalling one another, they cry “Jelly,” and that team wins even if they don’t have any fours of a kind.
2. Slap Jack
Number of Players: 2 to 6
Slap Jack is a fast-paced physical card game that requires quick reflexes. It’s best for somewhat older youngsters (at least those who can distinguish between a Jack, Queen, and King), and the object is to be the first player to slap the stack in order to win cards. It’s a fun game to raise the energy in a room, and there isn’t much to it in terms of strategy.
Each player received a stack of cards after dealing the full deck face-down and one at a time. One card is then revealed and placed face-up in the centre of the table by the player sitting to the dealer’s left. Each player moves to the left and imitates the other. However, when a Jack is dealt, players compete to be the first to physically slap the middle-of-the-table pile of cards. The person who does so first wins the pot and places those cards at the bottom of their deck.
A player who runs out of cards has one final opportunity to slap a Jack to rejoin the game, but if they don’t, they’re out. Play continues until one player has gathered every card.
Number of Players: 1+
Memory is another simple card game for youngsters that is available in a boxed edition. However, the game can also be played with a regular deck of cards that have been put out face down in a grid (or smashed all over the table or floor if you want it to be more difficult). Match all of the cards in sets of two to complete the task.
One child begins the game by turning over two cards in the hopes of matching them. If a match is made, both cards are kept. If not, they turn the cards back over after noting the number and location of the exposed card. After then, the turn goes to the player on the left, and so on until all of the cards have been matched. The winner is the one who has the most sets of cards.
Number of Players: 2
Deal each player a stack of 26 cards by placing the full deck face down between them. Players simultaneously turn one over on the table without glancing at their cards; the greater number wins both cards. It’s a “war” if the two cards match.
Players are then dealt three face-down cards and one face-up card. The higher numbers now draw all ten cards. When a player runs out of cards and becomes irate or upset, the game is over.
Number of Players: 4+
Spoons is a game that is similar to Peanut Butter & Jelly, but without teams and with a set of spoons in the centre of the table, one fewer spoon than players. It’s a game where every player is out for themselves even more so than usual. The identical arrangement is used with each player sitting in a circle, and the goal is to collect four cards of the same kind or suit.
The first person reaching the goal gets to keep the spoon. If someone takes a spoon, everyone else may as well, and the sole player left out of the next round is ineligible. The contest continues until there is just one victor.
6. 52-Card Pickup
Number of Players: 1
This game is amusing and easy to play, but it’s certainly for toddlers. 52 cards are thrown on the ground by the dealer. They are picked up by someone else, usually a very young child. Kind of a last-ditch attempt to keep your child entertained type of game, but that’s okay.
7. My Ship Sails
Number of Players: 4-7
The game is played similarly to spoons or Peanut Butter & Jelly with the exception that there is only one winner and three losers. Pick up a standard deck. Seven cards are dealt to each player; the other four are put aside. Players take up their hands and place one card on the right-hand table.
The discard card to their right is then picked up by each player and added to their hand. “My ship sails,” the first player to acquire seven cards of the same suit, declares as they place their hand face-up on the table. The player with the highest-ranking card wins if more than one player receives the same suit.
8. Snip, Snap, Snorem
Number of Players: 3+
Similar to “I Don’t Buy It,” but without the lies, is Snorem. A regular deck of playing cards is necessary. Each player receives all of the cards from the dealer, face down. Each player in a clockwise direction attempts to finish a set of cards after the player to the left of the dealer places any card in the centre of the playing area. Therefore, if a King of Hearts is dealt, the following player will attempt to deal a King of a different suit.
A player’s turn is over if they are unable to add to the set. The fourth card is dealt, and the following set is played by that player. Players must choose between saying Snip, Snap, or Snorem while adding cards to a set; Snip is the second card, Snap is the third, and Snorem is the fourth. The game is won by the first person to discard all of their cards.
Number of Players: 2+
Using a standard 52-card deck, the goal of the game is to accumulate a hand that totals 31 cards of one suit or to have the highest hand at the showdown in terms of cards of one suit. Twos are low and aces are high. Face cards are worth 10, while aces are worth 11, and all other cards are worth their face value.
Number of Players: 3+, but best with more than five players and less than 8
Mao is one of the most entertaining and infuriating video games ever made, in part because you can never fully explain the rules to new players while you’re playing. In fact, prospective players are frequently informed that “this is the only rule you may be told.” Each player receives a starting hand of the same amount of cards, generally three but occasionally seven.
If you’re playing with more than three individuals, you can mix decks. The dealer has to say “the game of Mao has officially begun.” The game is played clockwise, starting with the player to the dealer’s left.
Number of Players: 3-6
Hearts is a trick-taking card game that can include anywhere between three and six players. They resemble trick-taking games like President, Spades, and Bridge. Similar to Bridge and Spades, the rules are a little bit difficult at first but are simple to understand once you play a round.
12. House of Cards
Number of Players: Any
Build a house of cards to play. Spend several hours on it. When it crumbles, try not to cry.