With the new baby, we've been spending a lot of time at home and encouraging quiet activities. Being from Vegas, I have more than my fair share of cards, but J recently received a Batman deck for his birthday, which increased his interest in card games. Here are a few of our favorites so far and the skills that they teach the players.
How to play: Shuffle the deck of cards. Each person gets 5 cards, and the rest of the cards go in a pile in the between the players. The players look at their cards (not showing their cards to opponents), and if they have any matches, the players put them face up in front of them. The players then take turns asking one another if they have a card that would match a card that is currently in their hands. If the person asked has the card, they forfeit (give) the card to the asker, and the asker gets to go again. If the person asked does not have the card, they say, "Go fish!" and the asker picks from the pile of cards in between them. We play a variation that if the person draws the card that they just asked for from the "Go fish!" pile and gets that match, they get to go again. We play until one player gets rid of all of his/her cards. Then we count everyone's matches, and the person with the most matches win!
Skills: Matching is important in science, especially biology with classification of species. Go Fish! also teaches the mathematical skill of strategy where the players have to listen and remember who asked for which cards. The players want the most matches.
How to play: Shuffle the deck of cards. All of the cards get evenly distributed between the players (2-4). The cards are placed face down in a stack in front of each player. Nobody looks at their cards. Each player then holds their deck of cards face down and places the top card from their deck face up in the play area, in between the players. The player who drew the largest card gets the cards in that round (which the won cards go face down into a pile/stack in front of the player, when a player gets to the end of his/her deck, he/she picks up and shuffles the cards in front of him/her and resumes drawing his/her cards). If the largest card is a tie, the players go into "War" which requires the tied cards' players to place 3 cards face down (they put down 1 card per syllable while saying "I declare") and then one card face up (saying "war!"). The person with the largest face up card gets all of the cards that round. If it's tied again, repeat "War" until someone gets a larger card. All number cards (2-10) have face value, and then the face cards are greater than number cards. The order of face cards are Jacks < Queens < Kings < Aces. Repeat the drawing/collection of cards/War until one player has all of the cards (the winner has all of the cards).
Skills: War teaches the mathematical skill of greater than/less than. This is a game of chance. It all depends on the cards the dealer gives whoever is playing. You aren't allowed to peak at your cards, so there's no strategy here. It would be nice if you get the higher, face value cards through wars, but you have no control over it.
Stay tuned for our "More Card Games" that we've taught J. They need a little more of a schematic description either via pictures or diagrams, and I'm not doing so well in the free time category at the moment.