Family Literacy Day: More than just a card game

A deck of cards can help kids and young adults work on their social skills.

Suzanne Cochrane

Suzanne Cochrane

Suzanne Cochrane

Special to the 100 Mile Free Press

A deck of cards is an inexpensive learning tool that families can use to help kids and young adults work on their social skills. These are the skills that help kids read emotions, cooperate, make friends, negotiate conflicts, have patience, and make decisions.

To get started, it’s a good idea that someone in the family learn the card game first. Learning is easier when there is a patient teacher.

Playing with open hands, where the cards are laid out for everyone to see, allows you to help each other learn the game and share strategies. Pairing up in teams with one adult and one child on each helps support your child in their playing skills, especially when the child plays and the adult takes a supporting role asking them why they chose that card.

Teaching your child how to fan out and hold their cards properly allows them play quickly and builds confidence.

Inexpensive card holders are available from most toy stores. Older children enjoy being taught how to deal and shuffle cards.

Ensure your child wins and loses games. Talk about the feelings associated with winning and losing. When your child is ready- cheat with the intention of being caught.

This enables your child to learn about unfair play and how it affects the game and players.

If anyone is getting frustrated learning, ask and talk about where the frustration is coming from. If a solution isn’t found congratulate everyone for what they have learned and stop the game – learning takes time.

Playing with your kids and having a good time with them increases their self-esteem, gives your family memories, and provides your children with learning opportunities to grow.

Consider how proud you and your child will be when they pick up a deck of cards and play an independent game of match or solitaire. Tuck a deck of cards in their backpack and let them share their card playing skills in Go FISH, Snap, Old Maid or Speed with their friends at school giving them an opportunity to teach and a sense of achievement.

Suzanne Cochrane is a Financial and Family Literacy Coordinator with Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy.

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