Old Maid card game is a great favourite among young children. Children sit around a table. An adult or older child may need to shuffle and deal the cards, and oversee the game.
Age: 3+ (as soon as a child can recognise written numbers and letters)
No. of players: 3 or more (4-8 is good)
Equipment: Either a special deck of Old Maid cards, or a standard deck of cards with the jokers and the queen of clubs (Q♣) removed.
Time: 10 minutes+
Aim: The aim of Old Maid Card Game is to avoid being left with the "Old Maid" card (or the queen of spades (Q♠) if you use a standard deck of cards).
1. The deck of cards is shuffled and all the cards are dealt, one at a time, face down. It does not matter if some players get one more card than other players. NOTE: If you are using a standard deck of cards, make sure the queen of clubs (Q♣) has been removed before shuffling and dealing.)
2. Each player looks at their cards and tries to match any pairs. It does not matter about the suit, only the face value. For example, 8♠ could match with either 8♣, 8♥ or 8♦ to make a pair. Any pairs are put down on the table in front of the player, face up. If a player has three of a kind, they can only put down two cards and keep the other card in their hand. If you have four of a kind, you can put this down as two pairs.
3. Once each player has put down all their pairs, Player One (on the dealer's left) holds their cards, fanned out but not showing the faces of the cards. Player Two (on their left) chooses one card at random. If it is a match, Player Two places the pair on the table. Otherwise, they just keep the card in their hand.
4. Play continues around the table, with each player offering the player on their left a card, until all the pairs have been placed on the table. One player will be left with an unmatched card - "Old Maid" (the queen of spades (Q♠) if you use a standard deck of cards). That player is the loser.
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