Family Fun: National Card Playing Day

It is time to find a deck of cards because December 28, 2014 is National Card Playing Day.  The holiday season is the perfect time to play games as a family.  Adults have time off from work, family members are visiting, and kids are stuck indoors due to the cold weather.

Playing cards with your kids, regardless of age, can be both fun and educational.  Becki Risser, 1st Grade Teacher at Arrowhead Elementary School in Billings, explains, “I think it is important for young students to learn through play. By incorporating card games, such as 10 Go Fish, the students are interacting with other learners and are using play to maintain a high level of engagement while increasing math fact fluency.”

Feeling a little rusty about the rules to card games?  Here are 3 fun games to jog your memory and to help start a fun family game night tradition.

10 Go Fish


10 Go Fish is an educational twist on a traditional game.  Kids enjoy this game so much that they don’t realize they are learning!  This game is played just like traditional "Go Fish" but instead of asking for a card to match your card, you have to ask for a card that would add with one of your cards to make a sum of 10.

  • Start by discarding the face cards from the pile (Jack, Queen, and King).
  • Aces are worth 1 and each number card is worth its face value.
  •  Each player receives 5 cards and the remaining cards make up a draw pile.
  • The players take turns asking one another for matches to add up to 10.  Once a match is made, the pair of cards is set aside.
  • If a match is not found, the player must draw a card.
  • The first player to match all of his cards is the winner.

Old Maid


Old Maid is a traditional card game that can be played with a traditional deck of cards or a specialized deck and is fun for all ages.

  • If playing with a traditional deck of cards, start by removing one queen from the deck.
  • All cards are dealt face down to players. Some players may have more cards than others, but this is okay. Each player sorts their cards into matching pairs of the same number or suit, keeping them hidden from other players.
  •  Players holding pairs of matching cards lay them down on the table face up.
  • The player to the left of the dealer offers his cards to the player on his left, who cannot see them. That player selects a random card from his hand. If the new card he picks matches any of the cards he already he has, he can put down the pair. If not, he keeps it.
  • He then offers his cards to the player on his left. This continues until all the cards have been put down in pairs, except the Old Maid, which is left alone and cannot be paired. The person left holding this card is the old maid and loses the game.



Spoons is always a favorite.  What starts off as a quirky card game quickly becomes a test of sneaky skills and ends in erupting laughter!

  • The only equipment needed is one deck of cards and spoons equal to the number of players minus one.
  • The spoons are placed in the center of the table within reach of all players and four cards are dealt to each player.
  •  Players take one from the four they were dealt and passes it the player to their left.
  • They then receive a card passed from the player on their right.
  • All players simultaneously pass a single unwanted card face down to their left, and then take the card that the player to their right passed to them.
  • This continues until someone collects four of a kind.
  • When a player collects four cards of equal value they say nothing. Instead they quietly reach to the spoons in the center of the table and as subtly as possible place one in front of them.
  • Once a player has taken one, all the other players must do the same, even if they themselves do not have four of a kind.
  • The player left empty handed is out.

Addition Quick Draw


Addition Quick Draw is a fun game that will sharpen math skills in no time.  The object of the game is to add numbers quickly together.  The game is easily varied by using multiplication instead of addition.

  • Deal all of the cards out to two players.
  • One player calls, "Draw" and both players turn over their top card.
  • The first player to add the two numbers showing and say the correct sum winds the cards.
  • The winner is the player who has the most cards.
  • Note: If an incorrect sum is said, that player must return a card already won to his or her pile.

Guess My Number


Guess My Number is a wonderful game that will engage a large crowd of kids.  Along with having fun, children learn all about math and numbers.

  • Place a child at the front of the room and give him or her two playing cards. The cards can be ordered any way the student wants. Be sure the cards cannot be seen by the group.
  • Take turns around the room guessing what the number is. The types of questions asked have to use math vocabulary, such as, "Is it even?" "Is it odd?" "Is it greater than 10?" "Is it a factor of 20?" and so on.
  • The child can only answer with a "Yes" or "No", until the actual number is guessed at.