Card Games for Elementary
November 14, 2018
All games listed below can be played with any regular 52 card deck

For Elementary Age

Memory (age 3+)

How to play: Choose a card dealer. This player deals all the cards around the group until there are no cards left. Some players may have more cards than others, but this is okay. Players do not look at their cards but keep them face down in individual stacks.

To begin, the player to the left of the dealer turns his top card over and places it face up next to his own pile. The next player does the same. (Note: If a player runs out of face down cards, he can shuffle his face up pile and use them.) This continues until a player notices that two cards on top of the face up piles are the same, such as two jacks or two sixes. The first player to notice and shout out “snap!” receives all cards in both of the matched piles and adds them to the bottom of his face down pile.

The game continues with a new player turning a card over. If two players shout “snap!” at the same time, they form a snap pool with the two matched piles of cards placed together in the center. Play continues until someone turns up a card that matches the top card in the snap pool. Whoever shouts “snap pool!” first takes the whole pool and adds it to the bottom of their face down pile.

If a player mistakenly shouts “snap!” he has two options: 1) give every player one card from his face down pile, or 2) his entire face down pile becomes a new snap pool. If a player has no more face up or face down cards he is out of the game. The winner of the game is the player with all of the cards.

Crazy Eights (age 5+)

How to play: In a two-player game, each player is dealt seven cards. In a game with three or four players, each player is dealt five cards. The rest of the deck goes face down in a pile, with the top card turned up beside it. This is the discard pile.

The player to the left of the dealer discards a card from his hand that matches either the number or suit of the top card in the discard pile. For example, if the card is a five of hearts, he could play any heart or any five. If he does not have a matching card, he continues picking up cards from the deck until he gets one that is playable.

Eights are wild and can be put down on any suit. For example, an eight could be played to match a heart. The next player must match their card to the number or suit that the eight was meant to cover. Play continues with players matching the card at the top of the discard pile.

The first player to use up all his cards wins. If the deck runs out before the game is over, the discard pile can be used.

Slapjack (age 4+)

How to play: Choose a “dealer” to deal the cards face down to each player. Players cannot look at their cards, but instead put them into piles. Some players may have more cards than others, which is okay. The player to the left of the dealer begins by turning the card on the top of his pile face up in the center of the table. The game continues with each player adding a card to the face up pile.

When a jack is turned, players try to be the first to “slap” their hand over the face up pile. Whoever slaps their hand on the face up pile first gets the entire stack of cards and adds it to the bottom of their pile. The player to their left starts a new face up pile and play continues.

If a player has no more cards, they have one more chance to stay in the game by slapping the next jack that appears. If they miss this opportunity, they are out of the game for good. The last person in the game is the winner.

Go Fish (age 7+)

How to play: Choose a “dealer” to hand out cards. If there are two or three players, each player is dealt seven cards. If there are more people taking part, each player is dealt five cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in a pile. This is the “fish pond.”

Each player sorts their cards into groups of the same number or suit (i.e. group of threes or group of kings), making sure not to show anyone. The “requester” (person to the left of the dealer) starts the game by asking another player for cards that will match his hand. For example, if the requester has two kings, he will ask the other player for kings. If the other player has these cards, he must hand them over. The requester continues asking the same player for more cards until the player does not have the cards he
wants. If the player does not have the right cards, he can tell the requester to “Go fish.” The requester then has to take one card from the “fish pond.” The player who told him to “Go fish” becomes the new requester.

Anyone who collects all four cards of a set (i.e. all four eights or all four Queens) puts them face down in front of him. The winner is the first person to have no single cards left, only complete sets. If two people run out of cards together, the player with the most sets wins the game.

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