# Counting Cards Math Games

A simple deck of cards can teach your child a few basic math games. And who doesn't love cards? Pack them in your bag wherever you go and you have insta-entertainment (and insta-math!)
What you need:
• A deck of playing cards
Let the games begin! More or Less: This simple game is perfect for younger children who are getting familiar with numbers 1-10.

You and your child each get a set of cards from ace to ten. Select a secret card from your set and place it face down on the table. Ask your child to guess what number is on the secret card. To get hints, your child has to flip over a card in his hand. Then you tell him if the secret card is more or less than his card. Your child continues to make guesses until he finally discovers the number on the secret card.

War: Here's a great game for teaching children how to compare number value.

Deal the cards face down (no peeking!) so that each player receives approximately the same number of cards. All players turn over their top cards at the same time. Whoever has the highest card wins all of the cards in that round. If there's a tie, a.k.a. War, the players who tied put down their next three cards (face down), then flip over their fourth card. Again, the person with the highest card takes all the cards. Continue playing until one person has all the cards.

Old Maid: This classic game helps your child practice number recognition and matching skills.

Remove just one queen from the deck of cards. The remaining queen of that same color is the Old Maid. Deal all of the cards out as evenly as possible to the players. Players sort their cards and discard any pairs. The dealer turns to the person on his left and that player chooses one card from the dealer's hand. If the card is a matching number to one that he already has in his hand, then he puts the pair down. If not he adds the card to his hand. Play proceeds clockwise and continues until there is only one card left—the old maid!

Go Fish: This kid-pleaser teaches numbers and counting.

The dealer gives each player five cards. The remaining cards are placed faced down in a pile in the center of the table. To start, the dealer asks another player if they have a particular number (Do you have a 4?). If the other player does have that number, he must give the dealer the card. If the player doesn't have that number on his cards, the player says "Go fish!" And the dealer much choose the top card from the pile. The game continues until one of the players has matched all their cards. The winner is the player who has the most matched pairs.

Brain Builder Bonus: Besides having your child play cards, he can sort them (by color, shape, number), or you can have your child put the numbers in order by suit. Plus, a few games of 52 pickup will get your child counting up to, well, 52!

How this builds brains: Card games can be a great way to practice basic math skills like matching, number recognition and greater than/less than concepts.
Get more brain-building activities for your kid! Check out our Brain Building Boot Camp with Dr. Christine Ricci.

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