The best part of homeschooling is that there is usually a lot of extra time during the day for free play. Easy card games are a fun and affordable option for kids to play together when they have some downtime.
Easy Card Games
Growing up we had one small television and a VCR. Gaming systems were just coming out and very expensive. Yet every household had a deck of playing cards laying around and these got played with often.
If you are wanting to find some non-screen time activities for your kids try a classic card game. There are so many different easy card games that you can play with the whole family.
Easy Card Games to Learn and Play
Some of the best card games are those that can be played with a standard deck of cards. They are inexpensive and you can usually find a deck laying around the house somewhere. These favorite games are a great way to introduce your kids to card games.
31/Scat Card Game
Scat is also known as 31 or Blitz. This simple draw and discard card game uses one full deck of 52 cards to play. The dealer passes each player cards one at a time until everyone has 3 cards.
The goal of the game is to collect cards of a single suit that add up to the number 31 or close to 31. When that number is reached, show your cards and yell out 31 to declare you are the winner.
Players: 2-9 players (the best suggested players for this game is 3, but you can play 2-9)
How to Play Video: How to Play 31/Scat
California Speed is a fast-paced game for two players. Shuffle the deck of cards and deal all of the cards out evenly between the players. Each player lays out four cards, face up. As soon as you do this you will need to start looking for matches.
If you have a card in your hand that matches another card you can lay it right on top covering the card. Both players are doing this at the same time! The faster you find a match, the faster you can get rid of the cards in your hand.
The object of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all of their cards.
How to Play Video: How to Play California Speed
Chase the Ace
Chase the Ace is a bluffing type of game. This fun game is perfect for a group and is done in 3 short rounds. Each player begins the game with 3 tokens that represent 3 lives. Make sure to remove the Jokers from the deck first. The aim of the game is to avoid having the lowest ranking card at the end of each round or you will lose a life (the token).
Each player is dealt one card. The player left of the dealer is the first to go. You can choose to keep your card or swap with the person on your left. Each player can choose to keep their card or swap it. Once everyone has played their card, everyone reveals their card. The player with the lowest score loses their token, then the next round begins.
Players: 5 or more
How to Play Video: How to Play Chase the Ace
Crazy Eights is a fun card game for 2 to 4 players. Deal 7 cards to each player if there are 2 players. More than 2 players get 5 cards each. The remaining cards will go face down in the center of the table with the top card turned face up.
Play the cards face up that match the current face up card. Eights are the wild card and can be played at any time. If a player can’t match, they must take a card from the draw pile. The first player to discard all of their cards wins the game.
Players: 2-4 players
How to Play Video: How To Play Crazy Eights
Egyptian Ratscrew is a fast-paced game that can be played with a slap-style to it. Cards are dealt to each player one at a time until the whole deck is passed out. Each player will take their top card and lay it face up on the table.
Each player continues to place their next card down until someone plays a face card. Once that card is played the next player has to also play a face card in order to continue. If they don’t then the other player wins the the entire pile of cards.
You can also add a slap edition to the game. If two of the same cards are played, or there are sandwich cards, or cards of equal value to the first card played then you can slap the pile. Whoever slaps the pile first can grab the whole pile.
Players: 2 +
How to Play Video: How to Play Egyptian Ratscrew
Garbage, also known as Trash is a great game that can be played by young children to help with sequential order. Older children enjoy this game too. It is played with one deck of cards for two players, two decks of cards if there are three or more players and three decks for more than five players.
The object of the game is to be the first person to have all their cards in sequential order, starting with the Ace.
Shuffle the deck and deal 10 cards to each player. Each player needs to lay their cards face down in two rows of five. The layout is how you start to put the cards in sequential order with Ace at top left and 10 at bottom right. Each player picks a card from the draw pile and places it down where it should go in the layout and flipping there card over to be used later. More details and rules are in the video.
Players: 2 or more
How to Play Video: How to Play Trash (Garbage)
Go Fish is a popular game with younger children and fun for kids to play with their parents and each other. For 2-3 players deal 7 cards, for more than 3, deal 5 cards each. The rest of the cards go in a pile in the middle of the table called the pool.
The first player looks at the cards in their hand and asks another player if they have a specific card that they have in their hand. If that player does, then they have to give that matching card to the one who asked. Then they get to play again.
If they don’t have the card requested they call out “Go Fish”! Then the player draws a card from the draw pile and it is the next players turn. This goes on until one player runs out of cards, or the pool is emptied.
Players: 2 or more
How to Play Video: How to Play Go Fish
Golf is a flexible game that can be played in as little as 15 minutes or up to an hour. You will need two decks of cards to play this game. The game can be played with 9, 6 or 4 cards and there are different variations for each. The goal of the game is to keep the score as low as possible like the real Golf sport.
Depending on the number of cards that are being played, lay them face down in rows and flip up 1 or 2 cards. Players can choose whether to draw a card from the deck pile or the discard pile. If the value of the card drawn is higher you can discard it and it is the next players turn.
If you want to use the card you selected you can replace it with a card from your pile and choose either face up or try a face down card. The hand is over when a player has all their cards face up.
Players: 2 or more
How to Play Video: How to Play Golf
Kings in the Corners
Kings in the Corners is a fun social game to play with friends. You will need one deck of 52 cards and a scratch pad and pen to keep the score.
Deal 7 cards to each player and put the remaining cards in the middle of the table. Flip up a card on the north, south, east and west side of the deck. If a King is flipped up during set up it gets moved to the corner of the deck and a different card will be flipped over.
Start each turn by grabbing a card from the center of the deck. Be the first to play all your cards into the middle to win the the round. The lowest score wins the round. Find out more details in the video below.
Players: 2- 4
How to Play Video: How to Play Kings in the Corner
Memory is a simple card game for young kids. There are many variations with pictures, and animal cards, but you can easily play it with a deck of playing cards. Shuffle the cards and lay them all out in rows face down on the table or the floor.
The youngest player always goes first. With each turn, the player picks two cards to turn over face up. If they match you get to keep the pairs, if they don’t match flip them back down. This a great game to help with memorization and thinking skills. The player who gets the most pairs wins the game.
Players: 2 or more
How to Play Video: How to Play Memory
Old Maid is a fun and simple game that uses a standard 52 card deck. First, remove 3 of the Queens from the deck. The remaining Queen card is the Old Maid. Deal the cards out to all of the players, it doesn’t matter if they aren’t evenly dealt.
Dealer takes the first turn and shows the player to the left their hand face down. The player to the left then picks one card. If they get a pair they can lay the pair down. If they don’t they keep the card in their hand. This continues in a clockwise direction until all the pairs are gone.
In Old Maid, the loser is the one left holding the Old Maid, after all the pairs have been made.
How to Play Video: How to Play Old Maid
Slap Jack is a fun and wild game that everyone loves to play. The goal is to win all of the cards by slapping the deck as fast as you can when a Jack is played.
The dealer shuffles the deck and passes out all of the cards face down to each player. Players then place the top card into the center of the deck. Players must draw the card away from them so that the other players can see if the card is a Jack that is being laid down. The first one to slap the deck wins all of the cards in the pile.
If there is no Jack and the deck is slapped the player must give a card to the previous player that laid one down. The player who ends up with all of the cards at the end wins.
Players: 2- 4
How to Play Video: How to Play Slap Jack
Board Games & More
Snap is a fun matching game that can be played with a standard deck of cards as well as purchasing themed cards. To pltay, he dealer shuffles the deck and passes them out evenly to all of the players laying them face down. Each player turns over the top card from their pile.
When someone turns over one of their cards that matches another card face up from another player, players race to yell SNAP! Whoever yells snap first wins both piles and add them to the bottom of their piles.
There are other variations if there are ties to who calls snap and what you need to do if that happens. You can see this game in action in the video below.
Players: 2-6 players
How to Play Video: How to Play Snap
Solitaire is a single player game that is a great card game for an only child that may be bored and needing a quiet game to play. The game starts by dealing the cards out into seven columns. The first column begins on the left with one card. The second two cards, the third has three cards and so on until the seventh column with seven cards in it.
Turn the top card of each column face up. The rest of the cards will go face down in the stock pile. The object of the game is to move all of the cards to 4 separate piles that are the foundation stacked in order by suit. It begins with Ace, 2, 3, 4, all the way up to ending with the King.
There are many different variations and ideas on how to play. Check out the video below of a sample game and how to play it.
How to Play Video: How to Play Solitaire
Spit Card Game
Spit is a card game similar to Speed, but also a little different. This fast action game is for 2 players with the object of getting rid of all of your cards as fast as you can. There is no turn taking in this game. Shuffle the deck well and hand out 26 cards to each player one at a time.
Each player deals out their own layout of 5 stock piles in a row face down. The first pile has one card, second has two and so on until five cards are in the fifth pile. This will leave 11 cards in the hands of each player. These are the spit cards. Set the pile down and do not look at them. When each player is ready they say Spit while turning over the top card in their hand.
Each player moves as fast as they can to get rid of the cards by playing cards from the spit pile in ascending or descending order with the other cards. Learn all the nitty gritty details of this game in the video.
How to Play Video: How to Play Spit
Spoons Card Game
Spoons is a silly game perfect for a party or fun family night. It works great with at least 3 players. You only need one deck of cards and some spoons. If you have more than 6 people you will want two decks of cards.
Sit everyone on the floor in a circle or at a table in a circle and deal out 4 cards to each player. The remaining cards sit in a draw pile to the right of the dealer. Set one less spoon than the number of players in the middle of the circle.
Everyone then picks up their cards and looks at them while the dealer grabs one card from the draw pile and puts in in her hand while discarding one of her cards to the left. The next person picks up that card. The goal is to get four of a kind, but always have four cards in your hand. As soon as someone gets four of a kind quickly grab a spoon. This goes very fast and can get crazy as everyone is scrambling to pass cards, make four of a kind and grab a spoon.
Players: 3 or more
How to Play Video: How to Play Spoons
Thirteen is a 4 player trick taking game using one deck of 52 cards. With this game 2s are high and 3s are low. Suits are ranked with Hearts being the highest, then Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades. The goal is to be the first player to get rid of their cards.
The dealer passes out 13 cards to each player. The player with the 3 of Spades takes the first move. The next player plays a card that is equal or higher in suit than the 3 of Spades. Keep playing until you can’t play a card, remove the pile and start a new one. There are different types of rules and bombs that you can add to the game play as shown in the video.
How to Play Video: How to Play Thirteen
Tripeaks is a solitaire game that is a combination of Golf and Pyramid Solitaire. The object of the game is to transfer the cards from the tableau to the waste pile to uncover the cards at the top of the peaks so they can be played.
The layout is very pretty and looks like a mountain with peaks on top. Watch this creative game in action with this video.
How to Play Video: How to Play Tri Peaks Solitaire
War is a simple card game that doesn’t require a lot of strategy. This game requires one deck of cards that is dealt out evenly face down to each player. Now it is time to battle. During each round or battle, both players flip over their top card at the same time. The player with the highest card wins and gets to add both cards to their stack.
If each player turns over the same card it is a tie and “war” begins. 3 cards are taken from each player and put in the pile and the next card is turned over. The highest ranked card wins and the player gets to take the extra cards. A player wins when they take all of the cards!
How to Play Video: How to Play War
Fun Card Games
These card games are a lot of fun, but they are a little more complex. They have some more details and rules to them, so they don’t necessarily fall into the easy category, though once you get the hang of them they aren’t too hard to play.
Cribbage is a game that dates back to over 400 years ago. What is unique about this card game is that it requires a cribbage board to play the game. 2-3 players can play, if you have 4 players you can play in teams of 2.
The board consists of 61 or 121 holes with pegs to move to keep track of the store. The score board is unique and an alternative to keeping score with a scratch pad and pen. The objective of the game is to get 61 or 121 points through pegging.
The dealer passes out 6 cards to each player. Players examine the cards and set 2 to the side. The 4 remaining cards in the hand is the crib. There are a lot of details to this game that starts after the cards are dealt. There is the pre-play, the play, the go, pegging, the hands, and ending the game.
Learn how to play Cribbage in the video below.
How to Play Video: How to Play Cribbage
Euchre is a trick taking card game that can be played with partners if you have 4 players. The goal is for you or your team to win 3 out of the 5 tricks in the round. The first team to reach the targeted score wins. There are different variations for setting up the game and for choosing which cards you want to play. Players draw for the dealer and partners first. The dealer deals each player 5 cards in batches of 3 and 2 cards.
The remaining cards are placed in the center with the top card revealed. If any player accepts this suit as trumps, then the dealer may take one card from their hand with the exposed trump. The player on the left can accept the trump or pass. If you pass, then the card is tucked under the deck. If the team decides to accept the they can call trumps and are then the declarers.
The declarer can choose to play alone and then their partner would need to lay their cards down. The trick is won by the highest card played. The winner of the trick leads the next trick. This is played out until 3 tricks are won.
Players: 2 or 4
How to Play Video: How to Play Euchre
Hearts is a fun trick taking game where players avoid cards. The goal is to have the least amount of points towards the end of the game when player eventually gets 100 points. You will not want to end up with tricks that contain heart cards or Queen of Spades which are all worth points. You do want to end up with the Jack of Diamonds.
Each player is dealt the same number of cards no matter how many players there are. You will need to divide the number of players by the deck of cards. The remaining cards will be added to the kitty. In the suit the cards are ranked with Ace being the highest value, then K, Q,J, 10, down to 2.
Find out how to play this game and the tricks and passing techniques that are involved in this instructional video.
How to Play Video: How to Play Hearts
Rummy is a popular gambling game, but can still be played for fun with your family. The objective of the game is to be first player to call out Rummy. In order to call Rummy you will need to match your cards with one set of 3, or a set of 4.
There are many variations of Rummy with gambling and keeping score, and there are more simpler versions that you can teach your kids to play as well. A simple way to play is by dealing 7 cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed in the middle in a stack.
The person left of the dealer picks up a card face up or takes the next card from the top of the pile. They have to discard one card, then it moves to the next player until someone yells Rummy, or for some games Gin Rummy and wins the game.
Players: 2-6 players
How to Play Video: How to Play Rummy
Spades is a game that involves teamwork and strategy. Start by removing Jacks from the deck. Deal 13 cards to each player. Split into two teams and decide the winning score first. You do this by taking some time to look at your hands and see how many tricks you think you can win.
Then you will decide on a contract bid with another player without revealing what cards you have in your hands. Collect cards for every trick you win. After all 13 tricks have been played count the total with your partner and see who won the bid.
Players: 4 players
How to Play Video: How to Play Spades
Printable Games & Activities
Looking for printable games that are easy to incorporate into your day? Check out these ideas and printable resources.
Sarah is a wife, daughter of the King and Mama to 4 children (one who is a homeschool graduate)! She is a an eclectic, Charlotte Mason style homeschooler that has been homeschooling for almost 20 years.. She is still trying to find the balance between work and keeping a home and says she can only do it by the Grace of God, and Coffee!