Holiday Fun With A Deck of Cards

We've just returned from a fabulous trip to sunny Port Douglas. It's one of my most favourite places to visit and this year we hired a house so that we could have a bit of space for just lounging around. I packed quite a few toys and things to do. I wanted the kids to be able to keep themselves busy so I could do some important things (like reading and sitting and looking at mountains and rainforest!).

One of the best things I packed (well actually, I didn't, my husband did) was a deck of cards. I spent many hours playing with cards as a kid; there are really a lot of fun things to do with them.

Here's a few:

Sorting the cards

It's fun to sort and classify the cards in many different ways. You can put all the reds in one pile and all the blacks in another. You can put all the hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs together. You can put all the numbers together and you can even put the cards in numerical order from lowest to highest or highest to lowest. Each time the cards are sorted in a different way, it builds on important maths skills and sorting and classifying is just as important as counting and ordering.

Playing Card Games

Good old “Snap” is a great game for kids to start with and children as young as 2 can often get the hang - even if you start by just matching black and red. It builds on concentration and reflexes as well as helping to identify numbers, colours and symbols. It's also heaps of fun and guaranteed to get participants laughing. Unfortunately it sometimes gets participants crying too, but learning that you can have fun without "winning" is also important.

Older kids will enjoy games that are slightly more complicated. My hub loves a good card game and has taught the kids to play something called "2's and 3's". It's something he used to play when he was a kid. There are loads of great card games for kids and I think the best thing to do is try to remember what you enjoyed.

If you have no idea, you could try these ideas from


I taught both the kids how to play “Clock Solitaire” and they both loved it. It was a real favourite of mine when I was young. It's the easiest to learn out of all the “Solitaries” and is great for concentrating, remembering, learning numbers and time as well as working motor skills when handling, shuffling and dealing the cards.

Here's a link to how to play "Clock "Solitaire" if you've forgotten the rules.

Building Card Houses

My kids had the most fun (and frustration!!) with this old fave. It was actually great for Em who sometimes finds it hard when things don't go the way she wants them to. It really worked on her patience, persistence and acceptance. Ed had great fun too, controlling his muscles and sense of balance to get the cards sitting just right.

Ed's Masterpiece