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One of the ways we connect and spend time together as a family is by playing games. As much as I love board games, there's a special place in my heart for card games.
Card games are quick, easy to learn and play, and easy to pack (which I appreciate for road trips or waiting rooms!). With Thanksgiving weekend coming up soon, I thought I'd share my family's favorite card games. We're packing these games next week on our trip to visit the aunts, uncles, and cousins!
Uno by Mattel is an oldie-but-a-goodie, and there's a good reason. Everyone can play it! I've played it with every age from 3 year olds to 80 year olds. I've played it with ESL students and non-English-speaking adults. It's easy to teach and easy to learn, and it's especially fun with a big group. If you don't have Uno at home yet, give it a try. When my girls were preschoolers, I even used the cards for activities like color recognition, number order, and counting. Now that my kids are older, I appreciate that they can play it unassisted with their friends.
Rat a Tat Cat
Rat a Tat Cat by Gamewright has been a favorite in my family for over two years now, which is why I did a full review of it last year (so read if you want to learn how to play). I'm mentioning it again because of its longevity and because it's what I love to give as a birthday gift to kids ages 6-10. That's a great age to start, but it's fun for adults as well. It was a huge hit at our family reunion (ages 3 to 60+) last summer. The lowest score wins, so you hide your low-value cards and keep them from being stolen by the other players.
Sleeping Queens by Gamewright is another family favorite over the past 3-4 years. Although the box says ages 8 and up, my son started playing this at 4 1/2, and my daughters learned it around the same age. The Pancake Queen, Cat Queen, and all the others are asleep face-down on the table. With the help of number cards, knights, and jesters, you can “wake them up,” trying to get to the winning score (depending on the number of players). My kids have learned a lot of math playing this game, without even realizing that they were matching numbers, counting and adding. The art on the cards is beautiful, and we love that the game was invented by a 6-year-old!
No Thanks by ZMan Games is a new addition to our collection, and it's quickly become one of the most-requested games by our three kids (ages 6, 6 and 9). Each player starts with 11 little discs (included), and you need to put one in the center to avoid taking the face-up card. My kids have really enjoyed learning when they should take a chance and when they should sit back and see what others do. Again, the box suggests ages 8+, but my girls have been playing it all year. Since it's a short 15-minute game, it's easy to play another hand if you end up winning too many high numbers (since the lowest score wins). It's certainly a level playing field between kids and adults, which is a lot more fun than traditional kids' games.
Looking for more recommended games for kids? See my family's suggested Board Games.