These card games for kids are family favorites – they’re fun for young kids all the way up to grown ups and they’re the perfect quick connection activity with kids.
Card Games for Kids = Connection for Kids
As a mom one of my goals recently is to have a ten minute “Special Time” (one-on-one time) with of my kids each day. You might think ten minutes one-on-one is short and would happen every day naturally, but it doesn’t seem to happen without me making it a priority, and just that short time of concentrated attention is making a big difference for all of our happiness. Playing card games is great for this time as they’re easy to pull out and fun for everyone.
Here are our favorite family card games for young kids.
These card games require no reading, making them great for pre-readers or beginning readers, yet they’re fun for grown ups too. The links below are Amazon affiliate links:
Spot It is a quick matching game – each card has one item in common with each other card, but ONLY one thing. It takes quick eyes to spot the matching items. The game comes with five different ways to play and when you play one on one with your child you can alter the rules as needed to make it enjoyable for them to play.
My only issue with playing this game with younger kids is that the version we have (pictured above) has rather odd images. You can learn or make up the names of them (weird hand shape! question mark! target!), but if I could go back I would buy the version they have out now called Spot It Jr.! Animals which has cute pictures of animals – much easier to recognize than the pictures on the original Spot It cards.
Uno – This classic is such a great ten minute game. Kids can start learning it very young and you can play simply at first, just matching colors or learning their numbers. By the time they’re five years old or so, they can play on their own against you, and there’s just enough luck involved that they can win occasionally,even when you play at your best against them.
Aquarius is a little like dominoes with cards. It requires no reading, features colorful cards and quirky rules for play. You might have to help younger kids understand what to goal is, but even if they don’t quite get it, they have fun linking up the cards.
Zeus on the Loose – As we mention in our post about the best math card games and board games, Zeus on the Loose is a great game for building quick addition skills – perfect for kids (and grown ups) ages 8+. It’s also just downright fun,and the rounds go quickly, making it perfect for squeezing in a card game after dinner on a school night.
Story cards – We use story cards as story starters, as inspiration for mini books or conversation starters at dinner. eeBoo has many different sets of story cards available such as: eeBoo Tell Me a Story – Animal Village, which includes instructions for a variety of imaginative games. If rolling dice is more your style you may enjoy Rory’s Story Cubes too.
Moose in the House – The goal in this game is to keep the moose out of your house. You can use door cards or set a moose trap and send moose to other players. The mom who recommended it says her kids love it, but she is only down to play a couple rounds.
Sleeping Queens – Easy to play and easy to learn, but you still use strategy (and a little luck) to wake up these sleeping queens. Readers recommend the anniversary edition in the tin box for more fun as it has more queens (16), knights, kings, potions, dragons, wands, making for more fun game play.
Dragon Wood – Draw Adventure cards and roll dice to make your way through the Dragon Wood. Many reviewers have remarked that if your family has played Sleeping Queens and loves it, this is the next step in games from GameWright. Dragon Wood has a little more complexity, yet is still easy to pick up and fun for kids 6 and up.
Card Games for Kids That Use Playing Cards
Finally, we can’t forget games played with regular ol’ playing cards. Get yourself a copy of Hoyle’s Rules of Games and try a few card games. Here are some classic card games for kids that use playing cards:
- Kings on the Corner – this card game was a favorite in my husband’s family when he was growing up.
- Gin Rummy – This is what my grandma taught us when we’d come to visit, might be harder with young kids.
- Go Fish – There is something delightful about telling your opponent, “Nope, go fish!”
Those are a few of our favorite card games to play with our 5 and 8 year old (the 2 year old also gleefully “plays” when she’s on someone’s team ;)). What else can you recommend? I love having these easy to games for connection time and would be happy to add more.
Find more great family games:
- Best Board Games for Toddlers
- Best Board Games for 4-5 Year Olds
- Top Favorite Family Board Games
- Most Fun Games for a Road Trip
Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.