My all-time favorite card game. The goal is to have the lowest score after 11 rounds. To start, players each get three cards and “go out” when they get a set of three of a kind or three consecutive numbers with matching suit. Threes are wild this round. For the next round, you must get a set of four and the fours are wild. This continues until the kings (13 cards) round. Each time, after someone goes out, add up any cards left in your hand that do not comprise a set. But beware: You could be winning this game and then one high-scoring hand could drop you to last place!
I love the fast pace of this game. First, put the letters of any four-letter word on the table. Each player, in no order whatsoever, slams down a card on top of any letter to form a new word. Wine becomes fine, for example. Whoever uses all their cards first wins. Easy, fast and fun!
Each player places four cards face down in front of them, and peeks at two of them. The goal is to end up with the lowest score. (Rats are pictured on the high cards; cats are on the low cards.) On your turn, draw a card and decide if you’ll replace one of your cards with it or put it back. Some cards let you peek at your two remaining cards, and others let you swap a card with your opponent. When you think you have the four lowest cards possible, yell “Rat-a-Tat Cat!” Each player then adds up their cards. A game of luck, strategy and laughs.
An oldie but a goodie. Perfect for younger as well as older kids, simply match colors or numbers, but watch out for cards that make you take two cards or skip your turn. First person to get rid of all their cards wins. But when you have just one card left, don’t forget to say “Uno!”
A Regular Deck of Cards
Take your pick! Go fish, rummy, crazy eights, war. And let’s not forget every kid’s favorite—52-pickup!
Of course, kids don’t have to be entertained every second of your vacation, but it’s a good feeling knowing you have this in your bag of tricks. A trip with the family? Expensive. Heading off stress, particularly on vacation? Priceless.