It’s late spring, very late – there are only a few weeks of school left. Once again I’m writing about card games. I love introducing playing cards to my preschoolers. I have 4 games I usually teach preschoolers: “Concentration,” “Fish,” “War” (or Everlasting as my grandmother called it,) and “Crazy Eights.” But I don’t really play pure versions of any of these games – as I alluded to in my entry last year. In fact, I often invent versions on the spot – as was the case today.
I was reminded of this when my husband asked me about my day and I ended up telling him about playing cards with a small group of students. Leopoldo was putting away the blocks and glancing over at Salomon and Valeriano playing in “the box. ” (Lately “the box” has become a place to play “doctor” and I’ve had to keep a close eye on the students who head there during free choice time.) I decided to help these boys shift direction in a proactive way by inviting them to play cards. I know from previous experience that my students will rarely resist an invitation to play cards; it was a sure-fire distraction.
I asked them if they wanted to play War or Crazy Eights; Leopoldo piped up and named the latter – probably because it was the last thing he heard. He told me he had never played cards before.
Dealing five cards to each boy, I showed them how to hold them in a fan. I turned over the top card and we began playing the familiar game. The difference is this, there were no crazy 8’s. I just taught them how to make a decision about what to play based on whether they had a matching number or suit. If they didn’t, they got 2 chances to choose a card before we moved on. When we ran out of cards, we just kept going around to see who could play. At some point Lila joined in and I just dealt her in with 5 cards.
It was fun and we played for a long time. After about 3 rounds, the students were able to explain why they could or couldn’t play a particular card and I could prompt them to coach me about what I should play – which is the whole reason I love teaching and playing cards with kids. There are so many hidden skills and I learned a lot about my 4 card-playing buddies today.
The “crazy” part of Crazy Eights can come later, these kids learned plenty today.