Also known as Concentration, this card game is an old stand-by which can be adapted for all ages and abilities of children and is great for improving concentration and memory skills.
Number of Players: 2+ (but see Solitaire version below)
Age Range: 3+
One standard deck of cards, adapted as appropriate for age and ability (see below). You can also use pictorial cards (such as our Ghost Cards at Halloween), learning cards (for Colours, Numbers, Alphabets and so on), or make cards particularly appropriate to your child's interests and hobbies. We also have a printable Christmas Concentration game and many Bingo Cards which can be adapated for this game, with lovely colourful pictures.
Select a number of pairs of cards appropriate to your child. Older children can use the whole pack of 52.
Shuffle, and spread all the cards out face down on the table between the players (you can either choose a random arrangement, or lay the cards out in grid form; the latter makes it easier to remember where cards are placed).
The object of the game is to find matching pairs. Players take it in turns to turn over 2 cards. Let all the players see them and study them. If they are not a matching pair, try to remember what and where they are, then turn them back over. Play then passes to the next player. If they are a matching pair, that player removes them from the table and keeps them, and then has another turn.
When all cards have been removed from the table, each player counts up the number of cards they have collected. The player with the most cards is the winner.
Make a hands-on, tactile version using small household objects, as described in Under The Cups. Include one pair of "sweeties" or other treats to make the game especially exciting. The player who finds the matching pair is allowed to eat them!
Play a solitaire version:
Older children can count how many "turns" it takes them to complete the game, and try to beat their record. Younger children may find it more helpful to have a pile of buttons and two cups. Move a button from one cup to the other for every "turn" and see if they can complete the game before all the buttons have been moved across.
Leave an odd card out:
You can make the game a little harder for older children by leaving one card without it's pair.