Entertaining children is one of the toughest tasks. In order to maintain their full attention, they have to be mentally and physically engaged, but the task can’t be too challenging from the get-go. Initiating entertainment and maintaining entertainment is a  challenge, no doubt, but it can be done.

In a time where instant gratification is the norm, many children indulge in screen time as their main source of information. TV, movies, tablets, and video games provide entertainment, but little more. 

Enter card games. These might seem vintage to some, but a simple, two-player card game has just the right balance of physical and mental engagement, while challenging children enough to keep them involved. 

If you’d like to switch out screens for a deck of cards, keep reading. I’ve got a few of the most loved card games that will keep kids entertained, no screens attached. 

WAR

This is a staple card game, and can be played by almost any age as long as the players have learned number sense. It’s a simple battle of high or low, with the ultimate goal to be getting all of the cards from your opponent onto your own side. WAR is a great way to help early learners get excited about numbers. 

Read the rules for WAR

Slap Jack

This was a fan fave in my family growing up, something that my grandma always loved to play. This is another one that anyone can play, and bonus, players don’t even have to really know anything about numbers. When you spot the Jack, you get slap it. Slapjack is a rowdy game that keeps everyone on their toes and laughing. 

Read the rules for Slap Jack

Golf

Golf is a much more complex game, but really fun. Players are dealt four cards, and arranged in two rows of two cards. As soon as the cards are laid, players will get a chance to test their memory by looking at two of the cards. The overall goal is to get the lowest score, which helps children work on addition as well. 

Spoons

This game can be enjoyed with a crowd, but it also works just as well with two players. It’s like a card version of musical chairs. When a player gets four of a kind, they grab one of the spoons from the middle of the table, before the other player notices and snags it first. Spoons is a fast-paced game that helps children work on matching and following directions. 

Read the rules of Spoons

Go Fish

There are many different versions of this game available, but it can be played with just a regular deck of cards. Players are each trying to get four of a kind, while asking the other player for cards. This game encourages children to communicate with one another while working on matching skills. 

Read the rules of Go Fish

Spit

Similar to spoons, spit involves players passing cards in a circle. However, it involves quick hands and lots of attention to detail, so it’s better for older children. But the speed of the game keeps players entertained, and can be played over and over again. 

These are all fantastic options for playing at home, while traveling, or even in a waiting room. We spend so much time worrying about how to keep our children entertained, but it’s really as simple as carrying around a deck of cards. 

Read the rules of Spit

Another bonus of card games is that they require minimal prep work and cleaning. Card games have been a parenting hack for keeping kids entertained for many years, so give it a try in your own playroom. 

About the Author

Amy Anthony is a stay-at-home-mom of two, avid game enthusiast, and a home cleaning and organization authority. Amy enjoys teaching others how to clean and organize their home with minimal effort on her blog Oh So Spotless.