Age: Apt for 3-10 years, with adjustments made for the different age groups.
Requirements: Any set of kid-friendly cards; ideally Go Fish or UNO
GAME 1: Play the core game
Tip 1: Bend the rules as per your toddler’s comfort.
My daughter played UNO at 2.9 years (Yes!). So each player got only 5 cards to begin with, we helped her match numbers and colors by asking questions at each turn, and kept our cards face open on the floor. At 4.5 years she decided to hold the cards in her hand and play on her own.
Tip 2: Repetition is important.
When she began to learn UNO, we cut down on 20 minutes of other play time. Every week we played 18-24 UNO games.
Tip 3: Focus on participation and learning, more than win/lose.
To motivate a 2 year old, it was important to allow her to win, at least inititally. Winning has a euphoric feeling to it, which increases self-confidence and motivation. However, as she picked up the games, within a few days, we began creating a balance. Sometimes we played fair, sometimes we lost intentionally. However, we were over-celebrating each of our victories by joyful voices, claps, and praise. Unknowingly, we placed too much importance on winning. Now we express curiousity by saying – “Who will finish the game” vs. “Who will win,” and give more importance to playing together for ‘family fun’.
Tip 4: Encourage counting of final pairs + count each card.
Helps to learn counting and concept of greater and lesser than. Throw out questions like – “Who has the greater number of pairs? By how many pairs did you win? If you won by 2 pairs, by how many cards did you win?” Getting them to answer correctly is not as important as engaging their curiosity.
GAME 2: Memory: an old, popular game
Place all cards facing down in organzied rows and columns. Take turns to open any two face up. If the cards match, you keep the pair and get another turn. If they don’t, you turn them down and pass the turn.