If you are looking for a small gift for your family or a child in your life, you really can’t go wrong with a card game. Card games help kids develop hand-eye coordination and problem-solving while giving kids a chance to work on social skills and strengthen their visual scanning. Honestly, I often find I enjoy card games more than board games, and I’m not sure why. The games below are ones my family has enjoyed recently. And they require no reading, which makes them fun for a wide range of ages and ability levels.

If you have a child with a learning challenge, you know that even games that should be fun can become stressful. These card games are ones I recommend because they don’t involve any of that. And they are fun for a wide range of ages! Fun games with little reading aren’t limited to ones designed for preschoolers.

Slamwich

Slamwich is an adorable game that reminds me of the game Slap Jack I played as a child. In this game, you take turns laying down cards from a face-down stack you each have. When there’s a match you slap the deck to claim the cards. The great thing about this game from an OT perspective is that it is working on taking turns and being observant. It works well for kids who are too small to hold a handful of cards, too.

While the box says ages 6 and up, I think there are a lot of 4- and 5-year-olds who can play with just a little coaching. If you are playing alone with your child, you can keep the game going longer by being the one to slap the stack of cards sometimes. Once you’ve played all you can stand, just slow down and let the kid win.  Yes, I said it. I will totally let a 5-year-old beat me after a while.

If you and your kids enjoy this game but want something a little more complex and mature, Sushi Go is a game from the same company that my family has also enjoyed.

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

This game was gifted to my family last year and is both easy to play and very cute. Just like with the game above, each player gets a stack of cards they keep face down and that you will turn up into a central stack. The difference is that as you take your turn, each person says one word from the list that makes the name of the game. So, as I lay down my card, I say Taco, and the person next to me will say Cat. You proceed to lay down cards and say the words in order until the word you say matches the card you turn up or until you turn up a special card in the deck.  Once one of those happens, everyone tries to be the first to slap the deck. The last person to put their hand on top gets to keep all the cards. The goal is, of course, to run out of cards.

From a therapy perceptive, it is actually a weird experience trying to say a word that doesn’t match what you are laying down. I’m sure it is building some parts of the language center in the brain. However, if you have a child who struggles with language, this game may be both hard for them and really good for them. Remember to play slower with your child if they struggle. No one wants to lose every round.  In my house, the kids played this game until I was sick of it. Which means it was a total hit.  Easy to learn, no reading required and it can be played with about any group of people, large or small.

The Bears and the Bees

This game is my new favorite. It really works as a two-person game or with my whole family.  The Bears and The Bees is part card game, part puzzle game. Each player gets a handful of cards with bees, flowers, and bears on them. Your goal is to add them to a single central set. Each player takes a turn adding a single card in a way that color matches. The goal is to run out of cards first, but not all cards are created equal. And if you can’t lay one down, you have to draw another.

The cards are actually beautiful little hexagons that I enjoy holding and looking at, which makes the game even better. From an OT perspective, this game has problem-solving, turn-taking, and potential for planning ahead. You have to find the best way to use complex cards, as not all cards have the same options for use. The cards are smaller and different than typical card game cards, but because of the way gameplay works, you don’t need to hold all your cards in your hand, if that is too complex.   If your group is tired of traditional card games, this one is a winner.

Do you have any of these games?

What games does your family love to play? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment here or on our Facebook Families group.

P.S. Here are the links to the card games I’ve recommended today.

Slamwich

by Gamewright

SUSHI GO!

by Gamewright

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

by Dolphin Hat Games

The Bears and the Bees

by Grandpa Beck’s Games

Want to learn more about my favorite OT-related toys and games?

I’m a huge fan of using toys and games as a way of helping kids reach their OT goals. That’s why each week, for the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring my favorite toys and games with Occupational Therapy benefits here on my blog. Make sure that you are signed up for our mailing list so you don’t miss out on any of my posts.

About the Author

Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.

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