Cards at school? No joke! Anyone who’s taught math could name dozens of games using a deck of cards. They’re great for learning basic facts and all kinds of “war” games can be played using multiples, factors, etc. Yeah, it may not be politically correct to call it “war,” but you all know what I mean, right? So change the name, if that’s a problem. For the younger crew, one of my favorite sites for card games is Activity Village. From fish to memory to “My Ship Sails!” you’ll find plenty of action. Please remember to role play good sportsmanship with kiddos. These games are no fun if war DOES break out in your room.
Jokers are more than great math fun. The history of cards is a fascinating subject and can be tied to social studies instruction. (Did you know that the Joker was an American invention? No, I don’t mean Batman’s adversary.) I have used cards purchased at Williamsburg, Virginia, to get kids interested in the US revolutionary period. Students often enjoy creating their own cards after they see how simple these are. Braille cards are always a draw (pun intended) and can help kids understand the challenges of reading with their fingertips.
For those indoor recess days, card games are inexpensive and intriguing. What about some STEM activities? There’s a lot of science and engineering in building a house of cards. Hey, that’s a good intro for teaching idioms!