This summer, my kids and I have been taking breaks by playing card games. Simple card games like War, a card game for kids.

Do you know how to play War? It’s sometimes called Hi-Lo.

I love it because it is incredibly simple.  There’s no strategy or skill involved.

Besides learning number recognition and number values, kids can learn about winning and losing because they can’t do anything about it.

Classic War Card Game for Kids

How to Play War:

I’ve come up with a few alternate ways to play War with younger or older kids but first, here’s how to play the basic version:

  1. Deal the cards evenly between all players. If you have more than four people, you’ll want to use a double deck.
  2. Everyone has a stack of cards, face down. Each player flips their top card over into the center of the table.
  3. The highest card wins that hand (aces are high) and takes the cards played as their own. They can create a pile of cards for hands they won.
  4. When you run out of cards, you’re out of the game. Last player with cards wins.
Classic War Card Game for Kids

Right now, this basic version is perfect for my preschooler who has just grasped the concepts of counting and recognizing numbers up to 20.

The game takes his learning a step further since he needs to determine which card is greater than the other.

If he struggles, we count the diamonds (or clubs, etc) .

Then I ask, “Which number do you get to first? That number is less than the other.”

Classic War Card Game for Kids

In the event of a tie between the highest two players, you have a “duel.”

We play duels by laying down three cards, face down, and then flipping the fourth card up.

Highest card wins the whole lot of cards played!

Its always fun to see what you ended up giving away to the other person or get to keep for yourself!

What to do with a tie in a war card game for kids

Variations of War Card Game:

  • For younger kids, remove all J, Q, K and A and play with cards numbered 2 to 10 for number recognition
  • For older kids, use addition (or subtraction, or multiplication) by using two cards for each hand and then compare the sum.
  • To make the game last longer, only use one card face down during duels.

If you’re crazy about cards, you’ll also love these cool magic tricks to impress the kids (or they’ll impress you)!

About Jamie Reimer

Jamie Reimer

Jamie learned to be a hands on mom by creating activities, crafts and art projects for her three boys to do and shares them on hands on : as we grow. Jamie takes the creative outlet as a way to get through the early years of parenting with a smile!

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