5 Things Kids Can Do With Playing Cards

Kids playing cards
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  • 01 of 06

    5 Reasons Kids Should Play With a Real Deck of Cards

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    Nowadays, kids can play all sorts of card games on computers and smartphones. But that’s not quite the same as the real thing. For kids of varying ages, manipulating playing cards—holding them in a fan-like hand, dealing, shuffling—is a great way to build tactile skills. Organizing the number, ranks, and suits of playing cards enable children to think strategically, see patterns and strengthen their memory. Finally, playing cards with friends and family members build social skills and teach little ones how to be good winners…and good losers.

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  • 02 of 06

    Learn to Shuffle

    Shuffle cards
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    Learning to shuffle a deck of cards is one of those life skills that it's good to acquire before reaching adulthood. Shuffling is a skill that demands a certain amount of dexterity and perseverance, making summer and school breaks a good time for learning it.

    It’s always a big mess when kids first start practicing. (Anyone up for a game of 52 Pickup?) Before long, however, their little hands are producing a credible bridge that is satisfying to the eye and ear and—maybe even more importantly—will impress their friends.

    Watch this video for more tips on shuffling.

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  • 03 of 06

    Do a Trick

    Magic trick
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    Speaking of impressing their friends…there’s nothing like a card trick to give a little kid the sense that he or she can amaze an audience. Card tricks, of course, run the gamut from complex to quick and easy. Some of the simple ones don’t involve much sleight of hand but will allow your child to find a spectator's card. For older children, there are easy-to-learn mathematical tricks that will surprise and mystify onlookers.

    Here are some cool card tricks for your magician in training.

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  • 04 of 06

    Build a House of Cards

    House of Cards
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    Not for the faint of heart or the jangly of nerves, kids can while away the hours designing and building their own house of cards. As with real estate in the grown-up world, the three most important things to consider when kids get ready to build a house of cards is location, location, location. If it’s almost dinner time and your child wants to start building on the dining room table…don’t do it. If he or she wants to build near your new puppy’s toys…don’t do it.

    As in the real world: start with good sturdy walls, raise the roof and expand. But don't breath on it!

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  • 05 of 06

    Get Social

    Playing cards
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    Cheating isn’t the only no-no when it comes to a deck of cards. Little kids just learning how to play cards with others need to learn some basic etiquette skills, such as how to hold their cards so they’re not all showing, how to deal a hand, how to stay focused during a game and how to be a good sport…win, lose or draw. Also, learning some basic terminology is important so that kids know how to play like a pro and don't do things like calling clubs "clovers."

    Here are a few tips on the niceties of playing cards with others.

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  • 06 of 06

    Play a Game

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    Last but not least, the most obvious thing to do with a deck of cards, play a game. The great thing about card games is that there are so many of them and that their learning curves are so varied. For little kids, it’s hard to beat the classic pairing contest that is Go Fish! This is a great game for little ones to play with each other, parents or grandparents. Kids can work up to games such as Crazy Eights, in which the winner typically needs to be planning ahead and coming up with an “end-game” strategy. Little minds can flex their memory muscles with great games like Concentration.

    And then, of course, there is solitaire, the beauty of this game for one player is that kids can play when no one else is around. Sure, your child could play solitaire on a computer, but it’s a much more engaging game when the cards are fully arrayed in front of you and you get to move piles around.

    For more card games for kids, check out these easy card games and these other kids' card games.