Be prepared for a lot of noise with this card game, which is also known as "Animals" or "zoo". It's great fun - although if you have one or two louder, rowdy players it can disintegrate quickly.

Instructions for "Menagerie" card game for kids

Number of Players:

Age Range:

Two standard decks


To start, each player chooses an animal name which is long and difficult to say (Amazonian Umbrellabird is acceptable, Cow, not so much - although this will obviously be dependent on the age of your children!)  They then write these names of slips of paper, which are folded up and shaken about in a hat or box. Each player then takes out a slip of paper and whichever animal they have selected is theirs for the rest of the game.

Everyone must then make sure to learn the names of all the animals, not merely their own. 

Next, all the cards are dealt clockwise and kept face down. It doesn’t matter if the number of cards given to each player is unequal. No player can look at their cards, but simply keep them in a face down pile. 

Now, the player to the left of the dealer turns his top card over to start a face up pile. Every other player does the same in turn, continuing around the circle. When a player notices that another player’s face up card is of the same rank (ie the same number or picture) as his, he has to shout out the name of the other player’s animal three times. The first player to shout correctly wins the other player’s face up pile, which he adds to the bottom of his face down pile.

If a player calls out the wrong name, he gives all his face up cards to the player whose name he did shout.

The winner is the player who manages to collect all the cards.


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