Thursday, January 13, 2011

Adapting card games for preschoolers

So, I'm slowly recovering from vacation and looking forward to sharing all my thoughts and ideas.

While at Target the other day, I came across a set of UNO® cards for $1 as a celebration of their 40th anniversary in 2011. Um, how could I pass up that deal? So I didn't. This was perfect timing. While on vacation, my mom and I were thinking of a way to introduce my boys to card games. There had to be a way to use UNO cards, without buying a kids version (that they'd outgrow soon).

I have so many fond memories of playing card games with my family, laughing at our lack of luck and munching on popcorn. Plus, it's a great way to encourage good sportsmanship, of which my boys are extremely strong competitors; and I desire to teach them to be gracious winners and losers. One of the other main reasons is that boys can't sit still and learn for very long. They need to be moving and active, so I am always looking for ways to combine learning and movement, like hands-on learning.

Our Game
Here's what I came up with (my boys are 3 and 5, so you can adapt as you see fit)

(1) Remove the Skip, Draw Two, Reverse, and Wild cards.
(2) Deal out 5 cards, face up to each player.
(3) Place remaining cards in a pile and flip over one card next to the pile.
(4) Start the game.

Each player had to match the color or number on the pile. I talked through and encouraged them through each step until they got the idea. If a player didn't have a card that matched the color or number, they could draw one card and put it in their row (or use it if it matched).

There were times that none of us could play and had to draw cards. This is where a wild card would be helpful, but they were just fine drawing cards. Each game does not last very long, which is a must for preschoolers. With some prompting, they are having fun shouting, "UNO"!

This went so well, that I am looking forward to playing some classics like "Go Fish." So, in the end, I was able to give them a fun matching game at little cost. Many of you likely have the game at home already, so this could be free. I like FREE!

Other Variations
I think this could work for a little younger than 3 for just colors. They may not complely grasp the idea of taking turns, so you may need to do this one-on-one. You may have to "stack the deck" a bit to make this work.
(1) Just lay out two cards in front of your child, face up.
(2) Supply another card (that matches one of your child's card) and ask them to put the matches together. If they are recognizing numbers now, you could certainly match the numbers, as well.

What was your favorite childhood card game or board game? I'd love to hear your stories.

1 comment:

  1. We love using Uno Card and Scrabble Slam Cards as Flash Cards.