Card Games Get Kids Thinking

By Gormly, Kellie B | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 19, 2015 | Go to article overview

Card Games Get Kids Thinking


Gormly, Kellie B, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Mandy Yokim and her family love playing cards so much, they even have made up a few of their own games.

Yokim, 40, of Wexford, and her husband, John, have played many types of card games with their kids -- Josephine, 8, and Oliver, 6 - - since they were toddlers. They started with the easiest games like Old Maid and Go Fish, which helped teach the youngsters about matching up numbers and pictures. Now, the family plays games including Uno, and Rummy, which the parents have just started to teach the kids how to play. And family members have invented a few games like "Suits," a simple luck-of-the-draw match.

Playing the card games helps sharpen the kids' brains and provides fun, quality family time, Mandy Yokim observes.

"I think that anytime you play a game where they have to ... visually assess something and match things up, it helps their memory skills," Yokim says. "Especially with a game like Uno, they are needing to know how many cards to deal out."

Many parents and experts say playing card games teaches children valuable skills. The activity helps improve and enhance memory, conversation and friendly rivalry. And kids get quality time with parents.

Card games teach kids to think critically and strategize, says Jonathan M. Cassie, head of the Senior School at Sewickley Academy.

"There is no bad choice," Cassie says. "Pick any card game you want and play it with your kids, and they're going to be better off, more sophisticated in their thinking than they were before."

Cassie is writing a book about the benefits of "gamification" in education, which is applying game-like traits to learning activities and making them fun. This is a benefit of card games for children: They learn in a playful way while enjoying themselves.

"The idea is embedded with the notion that games are fun in and of themselves," Cassie says.

Card games give kids a challenge that they can meet, he says.

"Games are meritocratic," Cassie says. "You get rewarded not based on how old you are and how educated you are, but how you play the game."

Games help young kids to understand things like how to recognize and organize a set, which helps develop mathematical reasoning skills. …

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