As we prepare to be spending time with our kids a lot this winter and playdates are essentially out of the question, everyone will be looking for things to do. TV and movies are the easy answer, but spending time together as a family doesn’t have to include screens.

We’ve rounded up a bunch of classic 52-card deck games that the whole family will enjoy. And the best part—you don’t need to buy anything new!


Ages 3+ | 2+ players

Older children can use the whole deck of 52 cards, but younger children may want to use fewer cards. The object of the game is to find matching pairs. Players take turns turning over two cards and letting all the players see them and study them. If they are not a matching pair, try to remember what and where they are, then turn them back over. If they are a matching pair, that player removes them from the table and keeps them, and then has another turn. When all cards have been removed from the table, each player counts up the number of cards they have collected. The player with the most cards wins. Here’s more detail.

Slap Jack

Ages 4+ | 2-6 players

This simple and fun game tests the nerves as players take turns revealing a card to a center pile. Deal out all the cards and each player takes turns revealing their top card and placing it in the center of the table. Slap the jack whenever you see it. If your hand lands first, you take all the cards underneath. The winner is the person who has all the cards at the end. If you slap at a card that’s not a jack, you lose a card. Learn more.


Ages 5+ | 2-8 players

A rapid pass-and-pick game that has players trying to get four of a kind in their hand as quickly as possible. And when you do, grab a spoon form the center of the table. As soon as one player reaches for a spoon, all the others are in a free-for-all to try to get the remaining spoons. Whoever doesn’t get one is out, and for the next round, you’ll have one less player and one less spoon. Here are more rules.

Crazy Eights

Ages 5+ | 2-4 players

The goal is to be the first player to get rid of all the cards in your hand. On their turn, players discard a card from their hand that matches either the number or suit of the top card in the discard pile. Eights are wild and can be put down on any suit. The first player to use up all their cards wins. If the deck runs out before the game is over, the discard pile can be used. Here’s more.


Ages 5+ | 2 players

The goal is to win all the cards. Simple enough. Both players turn over the top card of their piles. Whoever has turned over the highest-ranking card takes both cards and adds them to the bottom of his pile. This continues until two of the same cards are put down together. The game is now in a state of “war.” Two new cards are put face down and one face up. Whoever puts down the higher ranking face-up card wins all six. The game is won by the player who collects all of the cards. Learn more.


Ages 5+ | 2+ players

The goal is to win all the cards. Simple enough. Players turn over the top card in their pile one at a time until a player notices that two cards on top of the face-up piles are the same. The first player to notice and shout out “snap!” receives all cards in both of the matched piles and adds them to the bottom of their face-down pile. The game continues with a new player turning a card over. More rules.

Animals variation: Everyone picks an animal to “be.” As soon as a card matches the face-up card from another player, those two must race and shout out the other player’s animal name three times. Whoever is able to do so the quickest, wins the round and gets the other’s discarded pile.


Ages 6+ | 3-13 players

The goal is to be the first player to make a group of four of a kind in their hand, or not to be the last player to notice when someone else has done so. Through a pass-and-play game style, you have to focus on your cards but also be paying attention to what your neighbor is doing. Multi-tasking can be tricky for certain kids, but can also be super fun. Here’s more about the game.

Kings Corner

Ages: 7+ | 2-4 Players

This is a great foundational game for learning solitaire. Players try to get rid of their cards by playing them in a solitaire-like layout of eight piles, built of alternate red and black cards in descending order.  More details.


Ages: 8+ | 2-5 players

A very light casual game, where the aim is to avoid being last to get rid of your cards. Players each have a row of three face-down cards, a row of three face-up cards covering these, and a hand of three cards. On your turn you play cards equal or higher than the card on the discard pile, otherwise you pick up the entire pile. Here are the full rules.


Ages 9+ | 2-9 players

A popular and casual/social card game, also known as “Scat”, “Thirty-One”, “Ride the Bus”, and “Blitz”. By drawing and discarding a card each turn, the aim is to try to improve your three-card hand to have the closest to 31 points in one suit. Here are the details.

I Doubt It

Ages 11+ 3-8 players

Also known as “Cheat,” among other names, this game tests to see who can bluff the best or who has the restraint to play it straight. All the cards are dealt out and players take turns discarding numbers face down in a central pile in ascending order; if you don’t have any of the next number in the order, you have to bluff your way through and hope you don’t get called out. You can be honest, try to sneak some extra cards in, or completely lie about what you’re playing. If you get caught cheating, you take the whole pile, but if someone calls out a bluff incorrectly, they take it all. The first person to discard all their cards is the winner. Here’s more info.

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