There’s nothing quite like the simple fun that comes from busting out a deck of cards and sitting around the table with your kids for family game night. Board games are always lots of fun, of course, but cards offer the opportunity to take your game on the road, whether you’re packing light for a family camping trip or bringing along backup entertainment for a rainy weekend at the cottage.
Card games for kids are often more compact and budget-friendly than their board game counterparts, while still giving little ones a chance to work on fundamental skills like following instructions and taking turns. Switch things up on your next family game night—whether home or away—and give one of these kid-friendly card games a try.
Sneaky Snacky Squirrel
$13 | Available at Amazon.ca
Based on the board game with the same name, this sneaky card game is perfect for preschoolers who are learning to recognize colours. The simple instructions keep things moving quickly, making it easier to hold your little one’s attention. The card-slapping action is sure to result in plenty of giggles while everyone races to collect the most acorns for their pile.
Alphabet Go Fish!
$14 | Available at Mastermind Toys
This fun twist on fan-favourite Go Fish is a great introduction to card games for little ones who are working on letter recognition. The sturdy cards are just right for little hands, and feature colourful illustrations and words to go along with each letter, giving older kids a chance to practice their early reading skills. As a bonus, the deck can also be used as a classic flip-two-cards matching game.
$15 | Available at Well.ca
One deck of cards goes a long way in this simple-but-addictive game that can be played in five different ways. Your kiddos will need to put their observation skills to the test as they race to find matching symbols and collect cards to win the game. In addition to the classic version, Spot It! is available in a variety of themes, including camping, animals, and even numbers and shapes.
$8 | Available at Toys”R”Us
It’s the beloved card game of your childhood, but with a modern twist! Updated in 2019, this version of Uno features double-sided cards that allow you to shake up the game by playing with either the light or dark side of the deck. If you’ve ever played UNO you know that it’s super fun and super addictive, but also has great educational value. Kids will work on number and colour recognition, matching, and strategic thinking as they race to get rid of their cards and be the first to yell “UNO!”
$25 | Available at Indigo
Subtitled “a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats,” this card game will definitely take your family game night to a new level. Thanks to quirky illustrations by Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal, kids and adults alike will be laughing out loud at cards featuring pig-a-corns, farting bats, and portable cheetah butts. Sure, it’s a bit crude, but who doesn’t love a bit of potty humour now and then? Meanwhile, the game will have your kids working on taking turns, collecting cards, and making strategic decisions on the fly. (Be warned—this game is also available in an NSFW Edition for adults only, so double-check the box before you bring it home!)
$6 | Available at Walmart
If you love Monopoly but don’t have six hours to spare for the board game, this quick-play card version is the solution. Like the classic version, you’ll have to make deals and gather property in order to win, which means your kiddos will get to hone their strategic thinking skills. Unlike the classic version, there will be no squabbles over who gets to be the racecar and who’s stuck with the thimble.
$15 | Available at Walmart
This action-packed game is pure fun! Kids and adults alike will love competing against each other as rowdy raccoons digging through trash to find hidden treasures. Roll the dice, collect tokens and exchange them for cards—there are trash cards featuring values and actions, and defensive cards that can help you during the game. With every turn, your kiddo will need to make quick decisions and work on their critical thinking skills. It’s also a great way to work on literacy skills, as the short descriptions on each card are perfect for young readers.
$15 | Available at Amazon.ca
If your kiddo is ready for more of a challenge, this game is just the ticket. Players take turns adding tiles to a grid pattern while using strategy and comparison skills to maximize their potential points. How tiles are placed on the grid depends on the characteristics of each card (colour, number and shape), and which cards are already on the table. Kids will also have a chance to work on their math skills while keeping track of scores with basic addition. It may seem a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of things this little game becomes big fun!