Card games don’t need to be the focus of the evening, but it’s helpful to be able to just pull out a deck and start. Bridge and poker can be a little complicated for younger kids, but there are plenty of card games that most ages can enjoy.
Want a good laugh? Ask your kids to make up a card game on the spot. Chances are that your older children have an arsenal of games learned at summer camp. Toddlers and preschoolers will likely create some variation of a game where the outcome is that they win no matter what.
It’s a classic, and not too complicated. Take turns trying to complete sets of four of the same number by asking other players if they have a particular card. If the person you ask does have that card, they have to give it to you, and you get to ask again. If you ask someone and they don’t have that card, you have to “go fish” by picking up a new card from the deck.
This game is similar to Go Fish, in that the goal is to acquire sets of four, but it has an added musical chairs element. Start off with four cards in each player’s hand and a pile of spoons in the middle. There should be one less spoon than the number of players. The dealer takes a fifth card and discards one, passing the discarded card to the left, then that player discards a card, and so on until it gets back to the dealer, who draws a new card. When a player collects four of a kind, she discreetly takes a spoon from the spoon pile. As others notice that a spoon has been taken, everyone else rushes to grab a spoon, and the person left without a spoon is out for that round.