Amy Clark

Old School Momma Declares War

When I was a little girl, we had the best babysitter in the entire world, who took care of us when my mom worked. She was an elderly woman named Mrs. Davis and I worshiped the ground she walked on. She always brought with her a bag of goodies to keep us entertained. In her bag of tricks were Little Golden Books to read to us (from her own personal collection), a small bag of candy for each child, and a deck of cards to play games with us. Her deck was secured with a trusty rubber band that I loved to snap, snap, snap while she dealt the cards out. My memories of her and being with her make me a little misty eyed. Mrs. Davis passed away several years ago, but the memory of her and her bag of tricks lives in my heart.

When I visited Goodwill, I picked up a deck of cards for $.50 and have decided to begin teaching my son some of the games that were so fun for me when I was a kid. I thought I would share some of the games we tried and the rules for how to play them.

This game is guaranteed to last for centuries and was a great quiet game to keep him entertained while Emily napped. I used my popcorn popper and made us a batch of popcorn to be snacked on while we played.

We started with the game of, “War.” This is an excellent game to start with because it teaches young children card ranking. A good age for this game is between 4-12 and the only equipment you need is a deck of cards…and a little stamina.

Rules for War:

Shuffle the cards well. Deal the entire deck, keeping all of the cards down and no peeking. To begin, both players turn their top cards simultaneously and place them side by side, face up, in the center. The one who plays the higher ranking card gets to keep both the cards (Aces are high in this game). These cards are added to the bottom of the winner’s stack.

When both players turn over cards of the same rank (you have an Ace, they have an Ace), “war” is declared. Smaller children really get into this and we started to shout, “War!” out together. Each player then places the top three cards from his stack face down on the original card. Then each places a fourth card face up on top of the three face-down cards. The higher face-up card will win all of the ten cards. If these match you can declare a, “DOUBLE WAR!” (be sure to shout it for added enjoyment) and then the battle continues.

Whomever ends up with the entire deck of cards is the winner. A player can also win if their opponent runs out of cards in the middle of the war.

There are variations on War that I am looking forward to exploring, but I wanted to start with an easy game for a 5 year old.

You can also add in your own rules. Ethan decided that, “The loser gets lots of popcorn,” but only when he lost. The winner also, “got more lemonade,” but only when he won. When I lost though, I “just lost.” Yes, those can be the challenges when playing with a 5 year old kid!

I tell you though… the game still hasn’t lost its novelty to me and I thought fondly of Mrs. Davis and my special time with her!

Sound Off: What was your favorite game growing up?

Published March 04, 2008 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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