6 card games kids love just as much as screens


Getting my tween and teens off screens and into other things is a well-known preoccupation of mine. I don’t hate screens, I just don’t love the amount of time my kids want to spend on them. Finding a bunch of card games kids love is my latest approach. I’m happy to report that it’s working!

More fun here: 50+ (mostly) free things to do in the holidays


So, try it at your place. A deck or two of cards is all you need to get going. You can pick up cards in the stationery section of most supermarkets. Or grab a couple of packs at a games store, stationery store or newsagent. They are actually everywhere because, despite the persistent rumours of their death, classic card games are alive and well.

Here are the six card games my kids love currently, or have enjoyed in the past. It’s up to you whether you want to introduce the ‘gambling’ card games. Poker faces are worryingly strong at our place…

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Classic card games kids love as much a screens – for real!

1. Rummy

There are many variations on Rummy – Michigan Rummy and Gin Rummy being two. Michigan Rummy needs a special board and Gin Rummy is best for two people, where classic Rummy works for any number of players. The object of the game is for players to form matching sets consisting of groups of three or four of a kind, or sequences of three or more cards of the same suit. Click here for full instructions.

2. Speed

As the name suggests, this is a zippy classic card game. Each player tries to get rid of their cards as fast as possible. The game is over in a matter of minutes, but the kids will be setting up to play another just as fast. Click here for full instructions.

3. Cheat

Work on your poker face without actually playing poker. This game requires you to trick your opponents into thinking you have cards when you don’t. We’ve played Cheat for hours when camping with friends. Click here for full instructions.

Classic card games to teach the kids

4. Slapjack

A variation of the kid classic ‘Snap’, cards a thrown down quickly onto the middle pile, one person at a time. You have to be the first to slap all of the Jacks and claim the Jack and the cards in the pile beneath. The winner is the fast-slapping person who gets all the cards. This one is loud and boisterous and bound to cause fights, but hey, the kids are interacting! Click here for full instructions.

5. Poker

You can pick up a little poker set from most discount stores, or just use a deck of cards. Texas Hold’em is the most popular version of poker played all over the world. The objective is to win all of your opponents’ chips. The chips can just be chips for the kids!! Click here for full instructions.

6. 500

I spent a ridiculous amount of my university time playing 500 in the bar. We never tired of it. Proof positive that I don’t remember a thing about my uni days: I can’t remember how to play 500. I just know it’s really good and I want to teach the kids. Click here for full instructions.

Oh, and a quick word of warning before you head off to brush up on your classic card games skills. You know how kids sneak screens late at night? Well, I found my daughters up at 11.30pm playing Speed by torchlight, so it’s fair to say that classic card games might be just as addictive as Roblox.

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Do you play cards?

Feature image by Will Porada Picnic by Jenny Marvin

Card games that are way more fun than screens

Written by Bron Maxabella

Bron is the founder of Mumlyfe and is so happy to welcome you here. Bron has been writing in the Australian parenting space as Maxabella for more than seven years and is mum to three mostly happy kids and wife to one mostly happy husband. Mostly happy is a win, right?

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