Whether it’s a school day or a holiday, training your young children in the skills that they need to think and absorb knowledge is an activity that never stops. Games are an important part of the learning process. If you’re looking for new thinking games introduce your child to, you should consider solitaire. As an educational game, it’s one of the best – it helps a child learn counting, sorting and grouping and also advanced skills such as strategizing. Over time, solitaire can lead to more complex games that help your child develop even more advanced skills.
Teaching a child to play solitaire is easy. It only takes a few steps, and a few rules.
Set up the Game Board
While an online version of solitaire of the kind that you find on popular sites such as Solitaire Arena can be a great way to play the game, you should probably teach your child how to play the game with physical cards first. The first step is to show your child how to get the game board ready for a game of solitaire.
Have your child carefully shuffle a pack of cards, and then deal the card on top face up. Then, six more cards need to go out, laid face down one next to the other in a row. Each card is called a pile.
Now, each card that your child takes off the pack in his hand needs to be laid down in a specific way. He should take one off the pack and deal it facing up, on the first face-down pile; each of the other five face-down piles should get dealt cards facing down, too. Then, your kid should start with the third pile, deal a face up card there, and give the piles after it a face-down card again. You can consider the process finished when your kid arrives at the last pile, and places a face-up card on it.
Stack the Cards
At this point, your child should have 28 cards left in the pack in his hand. These cards, which are now called the “stockpile,” need to be stacked on the six piles. The way this is done is central to the game.
If you’re not sure which card is the highest and which is the lowest, the standard sequence runs this way in descending order: King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and Ace.
Playing the Game
Now that the game board is ready, your child can actually begin to play. He should take three cards out of the stockpile and place them on the table, facing up.
Picking up the first card, he needs to look for a card on one of the piles to place it on – one that is a different color from the card in his hand, and exactly one number or position bigger. For instance, if the top card of the three cards that he’s picked up is 8 of Hearts, he needs to look for a card with the number 9 on it, and with a black suit. If he finds 9 of Spades or 9 of Clubs, then he can put the card in his hand on that pile. He should attempt to do this for the other two cards, too. If he can’t find a pile that is a good fit, he should simply lay aside the card in his hand. Then, he should draw another card from the three cards that he picked up, and try his luck with those.
Solitaire isn’t a complicated game. For a child still developing basic skills in counting, it can offer hours of fun.
David Welch is a long-time teacher and avid writer. When he gets some free time, he likes to sit down and share his experiences with parents and caretakers alike. His articles are available to read on a number of websites and blogs.