Best kids card games

Card games using traditional playing cards have been around for thousands of years. The earliest evidence of their use dates back to China in the 9th century, when it is believed the cards doubled up as a form of currency. It wasn’t until the 14th century that they began to spread throughout Europe; today, the suits we are most familiar with (hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades) are of French descent.

Card games remain a popular pastime all around the world for both children and adults. Whether you’re a parent in search of ways to entertain during the school holidays, or you’re a teacher or youth worker looking for activities that stimulate young minds, here are our suggestions for the best free kids’ card games to play!


Here are 20 easy and fun card games for kids that you can play today – all you need is a pack of cards (and maybe a couple of other items you can easily find around the house)! These games are perfect for a sleepover.


snap rules

Age: 3+

Players: 2-6 

Snap is a delightfully simple game that kids everywhere love and it only requires a single pack of cards. This is one of the most entertaining matching card games for kids, and it only takes a minute to learn the simple rules.


Deal the entire pack between all players, so every player has their own little stack of cards, placed face down on the table in front of them. Then, the first player flips over their top card and starts a pile in the center of the table.

The second player, on the left of the first player, flips over their top card and puts it on the pile face-up as well. Keep continuing around the circle, with each player taking turns to flip over their topmost card onto the face-up discard pile in the middle of the table.

When one card matches the one beneath, players must quickly yell, “SNAP!” The player who says it first wins the whole pile! If someone uses up all their cards, they’re out of the game. And the player who manages to win all of the cards wins!

2. WAR

Age: 5+

Players: 2

Another fantastic easy kid’s card game that only requires a pack of cards, War is fun for young children and parents alike. Suits are not relevant in this game, as the focus is on the values of the cards only, with the normal values applying here (i.e. Ace, King, Queen, Jack down to 2).


Deal out the cards between all the players until the whole deck has been dealt. Keep in mind that players are not allowed to look at their cards; they must be left face down in a pile.

Each player then takes their pile in one hand, and with the other, they’ll take one card at a time and lay it face up on the table before them. The player with the highest value card wins the round, taking both the up-facing cards and placing them at the bottom of their pile. 

This continues until both players draw a card of the same value – at this point, war commences!

To decide who wins the war, more cards must be laid down in succession – three face-down followed by one face-up card until someone wins all the cards on the table!

Head over to our ultimate list of the best two player card games for more awesome recommendations.


matching kids card games concentration memory

Age: 5+

Players: 2 or more

A great memory card game for kids that encourages concentration, this card game is one that will get your little ones thinking while having fun at the same time. Here are the rules for Memory, also called Concentration.


To start playing, spread the whole deck all over the table, with every card face down, making sure that none of them overlap.

Each player takes their turn flipping just two cards, trying to make a match – a match being two cards of the same rank. If unsuccessful, flip the two cards back over, and the next player takes their turn. Continue playing until every card has been matched in pairs.

The player who matched the most pairs wins!


Age: 5+

Players: 2-6

Crazy Eights is another fun and easy card game for kids that relies on concentration, and is great for both small and larger groups.


Players are dealt five to seven cards each, depending on the number of players. The rest of the cards are placed face-down in the middle, creating the draw pile. Then, draw the top card from the middle pile and place it face-up beside it to create the discard pile.

Player One must lay down a card on top of the face-up card that matches it in either suit or value. If a player can’t match the face-up card, they must draw a card from the draw pile.

Eights are the wild cards in this game, which means that the player who lays down an eight gets to choose the suit of the following card. The next player has to lay down either a card in the designated suit or an eight.

The first player to empty their hand wins!


old maid card game

Age: 4+

Players: 2+

This fun and simple game is one of the best card games for kids to play that adults love too, and it improves hand-to-eye skills. All you need is a full deck of cards.


Before play commences, remove both Jokers and all but one Queen from the deck. This single Queen is the designated Old Maid card.

After shuffling, deal out all the cards face-down to all players. Players may then look at their cards and have a moment to sort them into as many pairs as possible. Once in pairs, these cards can be placed face-up before each player.

The dealer goes first and creates a fan with their cards from which the player to their left must choose one card, which they keep hidden from everyone else.

The game continues, with everyone making pairs in their hands before laying them on the table. The person left with the Old Maid loses.

To find more in-depth rules, check out our full article on how to play Old Maid.


Age: 4+

Players: 2-6

Go Fish card games for kids are a classic and one of the most enduring pastimes for children all over the world – it’s good for learning how to recognize patterns too! Here is the most popular version of the game.


Each player is dealt five cards (if you’re playing with two, each gets seven instead). The rest of the cards are placed face-down in a pile in the middle of the table.

The player chosen to go first asks a player of their choice for a specific card rank (e.g. “Brian, do you have any fours?”). If Brian has any fours, he must hand them over, and the first player gets another chance to ask any player for any rank of their choosing.

However, if Brian does not have any fours in this example, he says, “Go Fish,” and the first player must take the top card from the middle draw pile. If they draw the card in their chosen rank, they show it to the other player(s) and get another turn.

The objective of this game is to collect all four suits of a single rank, also called a book. Once collected, a player must show the book to the other players before laying them down in front of them. The player with the most books at the end of the game wins!


Age: 6+

Players: 3+

This dynamic and supremely fun game has been played by children for generations. All you need to play Spoons are a deck of cards and 1 less spoon than the number of players.


Position the spoons along a table so they are evenly spread out. Then, deal each player four cards. Place the rest in a pile face-down in the middle of the table.

Player One takes a card from the top of the draw pile and discards one of their now five-card hand. The discarded card must be passed onto the player on their left. Then, the player on the left must pick up the discarded card and make the same decision. This goes around the circle with each player picking up a card (only Player One picks up a card from the draw pile) and discarding a card of their choice.

Keep going around a circle until a player has four-of-a-kind! As soon as any player has four-of-a-kind, they have to grab a spoon and everyone has to follow suit. The person left without a spoon has to leave the round, and one spoon is taken out.

For more on how to play, check out our full game rules for Spoons.


slapjack jack of diamonds kids card games

Age: 6+

Players: 2-8

Slapjack is a super fun and energetic game that is closely related to Snap and is great for improving coordination and reaction times in kids.


To start playing Slapjack, deal out the entire pack of cards between all players.

Players take turns to flip over a card from their stack, laying each one face-up on the table, one after the other.

If a Jack is laid down at any point, the players must race to be the first to slap it. The slap champion then wins all the cards, shuffles them, and returns them to their own hand.

Ultimately, the player who wins all the cards by slapping the jacks wins!


Age: 4+

Players: 3 or more 

A fun and noisy game that’s ideal for larger groups of kids, Snip Snap Snorem is as playful as the name suggests. Here’s how to play this game!


Deal out the entire pack so that everyone has roughly the same number of cards. Each player arranges their card from low to high value (two is low, Ace is high).

Player One (the player on the dealer’s left) places one card face-up on the table. The next player must see if they have a card in the same rank; if they do, they place it down on top and say, “Snip.” If they don’t, they skip their turn.

The next player must do the same. If they have a card in the same rank, they place it down and say “Snap,” if they are the second person to lay down a card in the same rank.

The third and last to lay down a matching card says, “Snorem,” and wins the round. Then, discard the pile, and the winner of the previous round can start the next round with a card of their choice. The first player to get rid of all their cards wins!


kids card games - BEGGAR MY NEIGHBOR

Age: 6+

Players: 2-6

Another one of those classic card games to play with kids, Beggar My Neighbor is easy to learn and can be played with as few as two players!


To play, start by dealing out the deck of all the players. All players must keep these cards face-down in a pile in front of them.

Player One takes their first card, flips it, and lays it down face up on the table. If it has a rank of 10 or lower, it’s the next person’s turn.

If a Jack, Queen, King, or Ace (a “court card”) is turned over, stop flipping in this manner. Instead, the next player must pay a forfeit. For a Jack, the next player needs to lay down one card, for a Queen, it’s two, for a King, it’s three, and for an Ace, it’s four.

If nothing higher than a 10 is laid down, the player who put down the “court card” wins the entire pile of cards. If the player turns over another court card while paying the forfeit, they don’t have to flip over any more cards. However, the next player must then pay another forfeit according to the new court card!

11. UNO

uno attack cards

Age: 7+

Players: 2-10

While you may not be able to play Uno with a standard deck of cards, this is a popular enough game that you should be able to find a deck of Uno cards pretty much anywhere. If you simply don’t have an Uno deck, you can also play with a standard deck by adding new rules, such as:

  • Jack: Reverse and Skip, players may choose
  • Queen: Draw 2
  • Kind: Wild
  • Ace: Wild Draw 4


Each player starts with a hand of seven cards, and the top card of the deck is placed face up to start the discard pile. Players take turns matching one of their cards to the top card of the discard pile by number or color, whatever works. If a player cannot play a card onto the discard pile, they must draw from the deck.

Special cards add twists to the game:

  • Skip cards skip the next player’s turn
  • Reverse cards change the direction of play
  • Draw Two cards mean the next player must skip their turn and draw two cards
  • Wild cards allow the player to choose the next color
  • Wild Draw Four cards not only let the player choose the next color but also force the next player to draw four cards.

Players must announce “Uno” when they have only one card left in their hand. The first person to get rid of all their cards wins!


exploding kittens

Age: 7+

Players: 2-5

Exploding Kittens is a strategic and humorous card game where players draw cards from a deck with the goal of avoiding the dreaded Exploding Kitten cards. This game requires you to have a specific Exploding Kittens deck, but don’t worry; it’s totally worth the money for the fun you’ll have!


To begin, deal each player one defuse card and six other cards, making sure there are no Exploding Kittens cards in the mix when you do so. Then, add one fewer Exploding Kitten card to the deck than the number of players.

To play Exploding Kittens, each player plays a card or cards from their hand. To end their turn, players must draw a card from the middle draw pile. Play moves clockwise.

If a player draws an Exploding Kitten card, they are eliminated from the game unless they have a Defuse, which allows them to defuse the kitten with fun tactics like belly rubs or laser pointers. Other cards in the deck offer various actions such as peeking at the deck, skipping turns, or forcing opponents to draw additional cards. Players can strategically use cards like Nope cards to counteract actions played against them. The last player remaining in the game, who hasn’t exploded, is the winner!

For an in-depth look at how to play this game, check out our full article on Exploding Kittens rules.


kids card games - monopoly deal

Age: 8+

Players: 2-8

Did you know that the classic Monopoly board game can also be played as a card game? Monopoly Deal is a super fast-paced game you can play in just 15 minutes!


To set up the game, deal each player five cards, with the rest of the cards making up the draw pile. Then, to play, players take turns drawing two cards and playing up to three cards. But keep in mind that players cannot have more than 7 cards in their hand at the end of their turn!

Players collect sets of property cards, money, and action cards to build their property empire. Action cards allow players to charge rent, steal properties, or sabotage opponents. Players can also use action cards like Just Say No to counteract opponents’ actions. The game ends when a player successfully collects three complete property sets!

Check out our full game rules on Monopoly Deal!

14. PHASE 10

Age: 7+

Players: 2-6

Looking for a rummy-style game that is fun to play with young children? You should play Phase 10! This card game is the perfect introduction to rummy-style games and pattern recognition. Plus, this game is super fun for adults as well.


In Phase 10, players aim to complete ten different phases, each consisting of specific sets or runs of cards.

To begin, deal each player 10 cards, with the rest of the cards making up the draw pile. Flip over the first card in the draw pile to create the discard pile. Then, players take turns drawing a card from either the draw or discard pile, making a phase, and then discarding a pile to end their turn.

As mentioned, each phase has a unique requirement, such as collecting sets of cards of the same number or runs of consecutive numbers. During the same round, once a player completes a phase, they can then try to get rid of all the other cards in their hand by hitting cards. Hitting is adding cards to your Phase or other completed Phases (even ones by other players). Once a player completes a phase, they advance to the next phase in subsequent rounds.

The first player to complete all ten phases and empty their hand wins the game.

While the above are the basic rules, Phase 10 can get a bit more complicated with a ton of nuances in the game. Here are the full rules for Phase 10!


rummy meld types

Age: 6+

Players: 2-6

Rummy is one of the most classic card games that you should introduce to your kids! There are a huge variety of Rummy games that you can play once you know how to play the original, so Rummy is an absolute must for any child interested in card games. While this card game may be a bit more complicated than, say, Go Fish or Snap, it is still simple enough to play with children.


In this kids’ card game, players aim to form sets or runs of cards in their hand. Start by dealing each player between 6 and 10 cards, depending on the number of players. All other cards remain face-down in the middle of the table. Flip over the top card of the face-down draw pile to create the discard pile.

The goal of the game is to create sets and runs and get rid of all the cards. A set consists of three or four cards of the same rank, while a run comprises three or more consecutive cards of the same suit.

Players take turns drawing from the draw or discard pile. Then, they can place any melds on the table. To end their turn, the player must discard a card.

To start the game, players must form at least one valid set or run in their hand. Once a player has formed valid sets and runs, they can add to other players’ melds as well. The first player to go out by playing all their cards wins the game!

Check out our game rules for Rummy!


kids card games - happy salmon

Age: 6+

Players: 6-12

Looking for a super fast party game you can play in around 90 seconds? Happy Salmon is the game for you! Created by the same people who made Exploding Kittens, you know Happy Salmon is going to be super entertaining, high-energy, and straight-up hilarious.


In this game, your objective is to match cards and perform silly actions as quickly as possible. Start by separating the decks by color, with each player taking a deck. Each player has a deck of cards with actions like “High 5,” “Switcheroo,” and the signature “Happy Salmon” action, where players slap each other’s forearms.

Players race to find a match with other players and perform the action depicted on the matching cards. But keep in mind: Only two players can match an action, so if a third person has the same action, they’ll have to move that card to the bottom of their stack and move onto the next one for the being!

The first player to get quickly rid of all their cards by completing the actions in their deck wins the game!


kids card games - dutch blitz

Age: 8+

Players: 2-4

Probably one of the most entertaining and fast-paced games out there is Dutch Blitz. In fact, while this is, in fact, a kids’ card game, even adults will fully enjoy the game! You’ll need to get yourself a Dutch Blitz deck to play.


In Dutch Blitz, players aim to empty their Blitz pile as quickly as possible by playing cards onto shared center piles. Each player has their own deck of colored cards consisting of numbered cards 1 through 10.

The game begins with players simultaneously flipping cards from their Blitz pile into the center piles. If there are any 1s face-up, the player must move this 1 to create a new center pile, after which players can build on it in numerical order and in the same color.

The game is played at a rapid pace, with players continuously flipping cards and strategizing to play their cards as quickly as possible. The first player to empty their Blitz pile shouts “Blitz!” to end the round, and points are scored based on the cards remaining in opponents’ Blitz piles. The game continues with subsequent rounds until a player reaches 75 points.

Dutch Blitz is a rather complicated game, so make sure to check out our full article on rules for Dutch Blitz.


Age: 8+

Players: 3-10

Also called Cheat, Bluff is a super thrilling game of deception and strategy where players aim to get rid of all their cards by, you guessed it, bluffing about the cards they play. To play, you need a single deck of cards.


Make sure to distribute the cards evenly among the players. Players then pick up their stack of cards.

The first player starts the game by putting down one or more cards of a rank of their choice. They must then announce the rank of this card. Play moves clockwise, and players can either pass or place one or more cards in the same rank.

As players put down their cards one by one, other players, at any point in the game, can choose to challenge it if they believe the player is bluffing about the cards they have.

If challenged and caught in a lie, the bluffing player must pick up the entire discard pile. However, if the challenge is unsuccessful, the challenger picks up the pile instead.

Continue the round until all players pass or someone calls a bluff. If a player is challenged, the player who wins the challenge starts a new round. If everyone passes, discard and push all the cards to the side, and the last person to pass starts the next round.

The first player to get rid of all their cards wins!

19. SCAT

Age: 5+

Players: 2-9

Also known as 31 or Blitz, Scat is a straightforward and fast-paced card game where players strive to get as close to 31 points as possible in a single suit. This is a great game to practice some math skills!


In this game, aces are worth 11 points, face cards are worth 10 points, and numbered cards are worth their face value.

The dealer deals each player three cards. The rest of the cards form the draw pile, with one card flipped over next to it to start the discard pile.

The player to the left of the dealer starts first. A single turn consists of drawing a card from the top of the draw or discard piles, and then discarding a card. Play continues clockwise.

Players can strategically choose to “knock” if they believe they have the highest hand or if they think their hand is close enough to 31.

Once a player knocks, all other players have one final turn before the round ends. Points are scored based on the value of each player’s hand, with the player closest to 31 (without going over!) being the winner of the round.


Age: 6+

Players: 2

Gin Rummy is a captivating two-player card game where players aim to form sets and runs of cards in their hand. If you’re a big fan of rummy games and want to introduce it to your kid, this is a great game to start with!


To start, deal each player 10 cards, with the rest of the cards forming a stock deck and one card flipped over next to it to create the discard pile.

Players then take turns drawing and discarding cards, with the goal of creating melds (sets or runs) in their hand. Once a player has formed their entire hand into melds, they can “knock” to end the round.

The other player then has a chance to lay off any unmatched cards to the other player’s melds before points are scored.

Points are tallied based on the value of cards left in the opponent’s hand, with bonuses awarded as well. The first player to reach a predetermined point total wins the game!

For more in-depth rules, check out our guide on how to play Gin Rummy!


Card games are a whole lot of fun, but there are many other benefits to playing card games with kids. In fact, in a world where digital entertainment is increasingly becoming the norm, many are concerned with the amount of time children spend in front of screens. Not only does prolonged screen time result in less physical activity, but the passive nature of much screen-based entertainment means children are not engaging their brains in a way that stimulates growth and imagination.

With this in mind, playing card games for kids is a welcome antidote to the constant TV show streaming and social media, and they have several unique benefits for children of all ages, including:

  • Improves motor skills such as dexterity and coordination
  • Enhances memory, concentration and problem-solving capabilities
  • Improves social skills and creates valuable family bonding time
  • Encourages learning in a fun and engaging way
  • Helps kids learn to listen and follow instructions
  • Introduces how to deal with competition and sportsmanship
  • Improves visual and color recognition
  • Good way to practice math and numeracy skills

As you can see, there are tons of benefits to be had from card games kids will love, and they’ll be having so much fun they won’t even realize they’re nourishing their minds at the same time. What more could you want?