Playing cards: Not just for adults! Use this game to stimulate your child.
Card games are a great way to have family fun. In addition to being simple, inexpensive, and easy to carry, they stimulate important skills in a child.
Skills developed through card games
When playing cards with you, your child feels like a “grownup.”
When playing cards, a child develops social skills, such as waiting their turn and following instructions. These games also help them learn to accept losing. This particularly applies for games that depend on luck (e.g. Red or black and War). More complex card games promote the child’s understanding of instructions and development of logic.
Through card games, a toddler can also develop their mathematical skills, because they can practise counting and reading the numbers. To help, you can ask them to count the diamonds, clubs, spades, or hearts on a card, and then show them the number written on the card. When the child plays certain games (e.g. War), they are also practising the concepts of “higher than,” “equal to,” and “lower than.”
If your child gets angry when they lose, check out our fact sheet Should we let children win?
Increased sense of competence
It is important to congratulate your child when they read the numbers right or count the symbols on a card, when they focus on respecting the rules of the game, when they think to say “thank you” when a player gives them a card, when they hold their cards in a fan, etc. They will then feel competent, valued, and proud of themselves. Congratulating and encouraging the child also motivate them in continuing their efforts.
Moreover, when your child plays cards with you, they become aware that you can also make mistakes, which normalizes theirs.
For card game ideas, check out our fact sheet Card games: Ideas for the whole family (in French).
Not easy to fan their cards
Before age 3, it is difficult for a child to fan cards in their hands. It is better to choose games where this skill is not required.
Things to keep in mind
Playing cards with you gives your child the impression of being a grownup.
Card games allow your toddler to learn how to accept losing.
More complex card games promote the child’s understanding of instructions and development of logic.
Web adaptation: The Naître et grandir team
Research and copywriting: Francine Ferland, occupational therapist
Updated: April 2019