In the age of video games, card games have been a little bit forgotten, but they're still an excellent way of getting the kids together for some no-screen fun. They're great for bringing out on a rainy day and perfect for whiling away the hours on long road trips. From competitive strategy games to humourous party games, there really is a kids' card game for everyone - even the grownups!
However, the need to check age recommendations and rules of play means that shopping for card games for kids is time-consuming. That's why we're here to help with a buying guide that'll walk you through everything you need to know and a top 10 list of the best card games for kids. With our buying guide at your disposal, shopping for a kids' card game will take minutes rather than hours!
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The key difference between buying adult and child card games is that you must check the recommended age guidelines. This is because kids' brains develop so fast, and for a game to be fun, its difficulty must match their abilities. Too easy, and they'll soon lose interest; too tricky, and they'll quickly find themselves overwhelmed.
Fortunately, finding the recommended age guideline takes only a matter of minutes. Online retailers usually list it in the product description, but it's also often listed in the item's title. In the unlikely occasion that you're still unable to locate it, take a look at some of the product images and see if there's one that shows you the back of the box.
What about those parents with multiple kids of varied ages? It's challenging to find ways to keep both older and younger kids busy, but when purchasing card games, we recommend catering first to the youngest child. This way, all children will be able to play, and the fact that they can challenge their brothers and sisters may keep older kids interested, even if the game is a little too easy!
For older players, check out the Best Card Games for Adults!
Once you know the recommended age guideline, the next step is to check how many players a game is intended for. If you have multiple children, this ensures that everyone can join in. Equally, if you only have one or a couple of children, it's good to check that they'll be able to play without needing to locate more players!
Again, finding the number of players is as simple as checking the product description. Sometimes it'll list a single number (e.g. for 2 players), while other times, it'll be a range (e.g. for 2-4 players). Games that fall into the latter category are ideal for parents with multiple children, as they allow flexibility - you can never be sure whether your moody teenager will be in the mood to join in or not!
Looking for a game that you can take on holiday? Check out the Best Travel Games.
The main aim of any card game is to get your kids playing together. Sometimes a competitive game that encourages kids to strategize and outwit each other in a bit of friendly competition is ideal. However, such games may also cause arguments in kids that are prone to falling out.
If your kids frequently fail to see eye to eye, a casual game that encourages them to bond may be preferable. Such games often require kids to work cooperatively, and while many still maintain an element of strategy, it's less pronounced. At the very least, a casual game is fun for everyone involved, whether they're winning or not, as is the case with a game such as What Do You Meme?
It's up to you as a parent to decide which type of game is preferable. Once you've chosen, the next step is determining which category each card game falls into. Often, taking a look at a summary of the rules in the product description is enough. However, if things still aren't clear, you can always check YouTube, where you'll usually find more in-depth explanations and videos of people playing the game.
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Dinosaurs Top Trumps
A Popular Themed Game That’s Easy to Play but Difficult to Master
Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy
A Beginner’s Introduction to the Strategic Card Battling Game
Roll & Play
A Cute Action Game That Encourages You to Bond With Your Baby
A Strategy Game With a Healthy Dose of Meme-Style Humour
Use Quick Reflexes for This Modern Twist on a Classic Card Game
A Travel-Friendly Version of the Classic Board Game That Can Be Completed in 15-Minutes
What Do You Meme?
What Do You Meme? Family Edition
A Caption Competition Where Laughter Is the Aim of the Game
Memory: The Gruffalo
A Popular Gruffalo-Themed Memory Game for Little Ones
Race to Be the First to Shout Uno! In This Beloved Card Game That's Over 50 Years Old
Train Their Brain With This Exciting Game of Logic and Wit
Top Trumps gained popularity in playgrounds across the UK in the 1970s and is now popular worldwide. It's straightforward to play, but there's enough strategy involved that kids can spend hours developing different techniques.
One of the most exciting things about Top Trumps is the sheer variety of themes on offer. From dinosaurs and creatures of the deep to Harry Potter and Star Wars, there's a Top Trumps set for everyone. Parents will be glad to hear that many of them are also educational!
Pokémon cards were all the rage in the 90s, and the trading card game is still highly popular, with world championships held every year in August. This Battle Academy box has everything you need to get kids started on the road to becoming a Pokémon master.
It includes a game board, three card decks (each including a powerful Pokémon), and in-depth tutorial guides. Little ones might struggle with understanding the rules, but older kids will love utilising different strategies as they battle with their favourite pocket monsters.
Most card games are designed for older kids, but that doesn't mean little ones should miss out on all the fun! In this game, parent and baby take turns rolling the soft dice, picking a card, and carrying out the pictured action.
It goes without saying that this isn't a competitive game, and having fun and bonding with your baby is the main aim. However, with over 48 unique actions to replicate, it's sure to keep you both occupied until they grow up and start looking for a card game that's a little more advanced!
In Exploding Kittens, players must avoid the dreaded exploding kitten cards at all costs. Fortunately, there are ways to defuse an exploding kitten card, but the best approach is to use your skill to avoid facing one in the first place!
Combining meme-style humour with strategy and risk elements, Exploding Kittens is the perfect card game for kids around ten years of age. That said, it's ideal for grown-up occasions too, especially as the rules take only about two minutes to learn!
Dobble, known as 'Spot it' in the US, is an edgier version of the classic card game, Snap. As with Snap, players race to be the first to shout when two matching symbols appear. However, each card features several images this time, making the matching symbols harder to spot.
Quick reflexes will win the game, and if your kids begin to tire of the standard mode, there are five other mini-games to play. For example, in 'Fill the Well', players race to get rid of their deck as quickly as possible. Dobble is simple and fun, making it a great card game for kids - there are also themed variants, such as a Harry Potter version!
Now 87 years old, Monopoly continues to reign as one of the world's most popular board games. It makes sense, then, that a simplified kids' version would exist. Bankrupting your opponents is no longer the aim; in Monopoly Deal, the winner is the first player to purchase three property card sets.
Whereas the full game of Monopoly requires a significant amount of time, kids can complete a game of Monopoly Deal in just 15 minutes. There's also no need for a board, houses, or monopoly money, which makes it perfect for whiling away the hours on long trips.
There's nothing like a game that'll get the whole family laughing. In What Do You Meme? the aim is to do just that. Players are handed a random assortment of cards and must impress the judge by assigning the funniest caption possible to an image.
Parents who prefer their kids to play educational games may not be fans, but What Do You Meme? will exercise their creative faculties. There's an even an element of strategy involved, as players must tailor their answers to each judge's specific sense of humour!
Julia Donaldson's books are incredibly popular with children, so it only makes sense that her beloved characters should be paired with some of the world's most famous board games. This one is a Gruffalo-themed version of Memory.
It's a perfect game for little ones because the rules are so simple. Children memorise the locations of images and flip the cards until they've matched all 24 pairs. It's unlikely to keep them occupied for hours at a time, but it's a game they're sure to return to again and again.
Created over 50 years ago, Uno is now one of the world's most popular card games. Players attempt to match some aspect of their card with the one at the top of the discard pile - either number, colour or symbol.
In many ways, Uno is like the traditional card game, Snap, but there's a twist: any player with a single card remaining must shout 'Uno!' to win the game if they don't wish to face a penalty! There's not a lot of depth here, so it's unlikely to keep children occupied for hours, but Uno is ideal for a quick game.
The Cluedo card game is a simplified version of the classic board game. Players race to gather 'evidence' and identify the criminal - who, in this kids' version, has simply committed a 'crime' rather than a murder.
It's a strategic game that requires young players to exercise their logic and memory to outwit their friends, making it a firm favourite among parents. However, the rules can get a little complicated, so we recommend only purchasing this game for older kids or ensuring you're around to explain the rules if younger ones are playing.
Written and researched by Ben Willimett
No. 1: Top Trumps｜Dinosaurs Top Trumps
No. 2: Pokémon｜Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy
No. 3: Thinkfun｜Roll & Play
No. 4: Exploding Kittens｜Exploding Kittens
No. 5: Asmodée｜Dobble
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