My nephew is 4 years old. I want to teach him a simple card game (my intention is that in some years he will be able to play bridge). For now, I just want to make him familiar with the cards. What simple game appropriate for really young people do you propose?

2 Answers 2


Here are my suggestions of games that teach various card game rules, ranked in order from least difficult to most difficult.

Go Fish has simple rules and can help you learn basics of card games, such as

  • Identifying matching sets of cards
  • Identifying card names and suits
  • Waiting your turn
  • Communicating with opponents when required (and being truthful about it)
  • Drawing and holding cards without revealing them

War kicks the competitive level up a bit and has more rules. In addition, you learn card value progression, including the hierarchy of J-K (which can be explained fairly simply if the player is familiar with monarchy, fictional or otherwise).

  • Competition
  • Card values
  • Winning a round without winning the game

Bullshit is a matching game, like Go Fish, but it adds the concept of a bluff and shows that following the rules can sometimes feel like cheating, since duping your opponent is truly the objective of the game. This is useful when later learning games like poker. Also, this can introduce the concept of 'house rules', and hones your ability to agree on extra rules once the game is in progress and tensions are high. Requires 3 or more players.

Gin Rummy has quite a few rules in theory, but is quite simple to play most of the time. It provides practice for:

  • Identification of runs
  • Using the discard pile to draw from
  • Keeping score
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I started to play "Tschau Sepp" with my son who is also four years old. This is a swiss version of Mau-Mau. It is similar to Uno but uses a regular set of cards. He likes to play it but still needs some help as he often misses that cards in his hand have the same value (number) as the played card. Therefor we often play with our hands shown.

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