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Classic Card Games for Kids

Boost children's math, strategy and agility skills with War, Go Fish, Old Maid, Speed and Crazy Eights

When's the last time your family picked up a deck of cards? Forget about gambling here. Classic games can help beef up kids' strategizing and memory skills, ultimately helping out in subjects like math, science and more. All it takes is that little packet of 52 cards. Try these simple starters. They're a sure "bet" when it comes to providing plenty of fun, too!

War. This is one of the first card games kids learn – and the easiest. This two-player game is based on luck and chance. The concept is to collect all the cards back as a deck. War easily provides hours of fun – literally, as it can go on for a while. Avoid losing kids' interest (or sparking a real "war") by setting a time limit.

Go Fish. This basic suit-gathering quest is great for kids of any age. Go Fish is a strategic game of matching the cards up in your hand and being the first person to run out of cards. You can get away with two players, but three to six is ideal.

Old Maid. This is a generations-old "scapegoat" game. The goal is to not have a certain card – or, at least, to not get caught with it! In this case, that would be the "Old Maid" which, if you're using a standard deck, is one queen card (remove the other three). You have to plan accordingly to win, so there's some definite strategy in this version, too. Up to eight can play.

Speed. Quick! The name of this game is precisely what it sounds like. Also known as Spit or Slam, it's a two-player bout for children at least 5 years old. It's a matter of getting all the cards out of your hand as quickly as possible. Have your kids test their agility and on-the-fly thinking with this exciting game.

Crazy Eights. Crazy Eights can be easily compared to the game of Uno, but without the skips – and it's loads older, with roots back to the mid-1600s. Great for smaller groups or partner play, the aim for each player is to be first to get rid of all of their cards. Eights are wild. Play multiple games and assign points to work those math skills, too!

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