When your hand gets bruised in SlapJack…it’s worth it!

Could it be a Jack?


SlapJack, Crazy Eights and War are the old stand-by card games for families that are sure to result in a good time.  And as the kids get older, you actually end up with bruises on your hands from SlapJack!  Teaching kids to play cards at a young age is a step closer to keeping them around when they are teens. It’s a family bonding opportunity and offers good family-friendly competition that teaches you how to be a good sport.



I started playing cards with my kids when they were little. They loved Old Maid, Go Fish and Uno.  It was sort of a trick way of getting them to learn!  The hardest part for them was holding all those cards in their tiny hands.  I remember my son having so many Uno cards that he had to lay them out and cover them with cardboard so I couldn’t see. They liked to deal the cards which developed their fine motor skills, but it was years later before they could shuffle without cards flying across the room.  Cards can teach older kids strategizing and remembering what cards have already been played, while younger kids learn colors, numbers, high/low and matching.


Waterproof cards for the pool!


We belong to a swim club and spent many summer days at the pool.  And if a rain shower came through, we didn’t pack up and go home.  Instead, we pulled out our waterproof cards!  We have very good friends that enjoy cards (and the pool) just as much as we do so cards were a no-brainer when the clouds settled in.  On a slow day at the pool, we would lay the cards on a raft and play standing up in the water.



My next stocking stuffer – Euchre only deck!

My family (parents and siblings) are die-hard card players. And while the adults played cards, my kids played Spit or Bologna Sandwich with their cousins.  It was almost a rite-of-passage when a niece or nephew joined us at the adult table!  We like to say it’s friendly competition, but we always make sure no one is sitting next to their spouse, especially when we play Shanghai!  I love that my kids started playing cards at a young age making them look forward to our family get-togethers.  And the best part is now that my kids are teens, they want to learn to play Euchre, and I am the person they asked to teach them!


Here are a few family-friendly card games to add to the traditional list.

Five players…but only four spoons.

Spoons is a card game that even the young kids can play!  You will need a deck of cards and one less spoon than the number of players.  It’s extremely fast-paced and each player needs to keep an eye on their cards as well as the spoons.  The giggles that come from a child that secretly takes a spoon are priceless!  And as they get older, the spoon snatching is done in a cool fashion.  A similar version to this game is Pig in which you put your finger on your nose when you reach four of a kind. Personally, I like the anticipation that comes while waiting for someone to grab a spoon.  Learn how to play Spoons!



Kemps is played in teams of two so you need a minimum of four to play.  The goal is to get four of a kind and then notify your partner that you have reached four of a kind via a secret signal previously agreed upon.  The signals are what make the game fun!  It can be a body movement, hand gesture, blinking eye, etc.  But no verbal signals can be used!  If your partner sees your signal, they can yell “Kemps” to win a point.  If your opponent sees your signal, they can yell “No Kemps” or “Stop Kemps” and you lose a point.  Learn how to play Kemps!



Win the pot of candy!

Pass the Card is what we have always called this game, but not so sure that is the real name.  You will need “chips” which we never actually use.  Many times, we use wrapped candy or colorful jacks.  If you use candy, the winner gets the pot!  Each player gets 3 “chips”.  The dealer gives each player a card.  The goal is to not be holding the lowest card at the end.  The first player decides if they want to keep their card or trade with the person on their left.  Each player takes a turn until the card is returned to the dealer who can decide to either keep the card or draw a new card.  If you are holding a King, you are protected and the play moves to the person on your left.  When everyone flips their card, the player holding the lowest card must throw a “chip” in the pot.  When your “chips” are gone, you are out.  The person holding the last chip(s) wins the game!

What family-friendly card games do you like to play?

Jennifer Cheek is the Public Relations Specialist at Boone County Public Library. A graduate from MSJ University focusing on English and Communications, she previously worked in Advertising/Media Buying and still continues as a freelancer.

4 Generations of Library Users

Discover how BCPL customers use the library in this new blog post series.

Can you imagine Boone County without a library? Sounds horrifying, however it is true. There wasn’t a library in Boone County until 1974.  Local resident Betty McDavid said, “Before Boone County had a library we had to go to Erlanger for books.  I’m so thankful we have our own now. I read over 200 books a year. I couldn’t afford to buy all the ones I want to read. Although the books are the main attraction, I also appreciate and enjoy the concerts and classes held at the library. I especially like hearing authors speak of their life and works.  I’m from a family of readers and passed it on.”

Wow, she really did pass it on! There are four generations of McDavids using the library at the present time. Betty’s two daughters Sheree McDavid Breitholle and Christy Biggs are regular patrons as is Sheree’s daughter Kate Moore who brings her daughter to visit.

Sheree has great memories from her youth when her father would drive them to the library, “When I was young we went to the library in Erlanger. My Mother didn’t drive, so my Daddy would take us. He would wait in the car but always said, ‘Don’t hurry, take your time.’ We were so excited when Boone County got its own library. Later Lents became my library home. It was a place to take my daughter for activities and exploring the shelves. The Lents staff became my library family. I have many treasured friendships and memories of all my time there. I love all of the concerts, classes and book clubs sponsored by the library. It’s such a special place. Now I’m blessed to be able to share this wonderful place with my granddaughter. As I see her participating in Storytime, exploring the activities, and getting books from the shelves I can hear my Daddy saying ‘Don’t hurry, take your time’.”

Sheree’s sister Christy has similar warm feelings about the library, “I grew up in a very rural area with not a lot of close neighbors. Books were an opportunity to experience far off places and have adventures with characters like Alice and Dorothy. I visited places like Narnia and Neverland while remaining safe in my own backyard. We didn’t have the money to buy all of the books we wanted to read so the library was essential. I can remember when the first Boone County library branch opened in Florence when I was a little girl. I remember standing in the children’s section and being excited to learn the number of books that I could check out at one time. I don’t ever think that I left with anything less than the maximum allowed amount! Throughout the years the library has not only been a form of escape but a place for me to learn more about topics that caught my interest. I now check out at least as many ‘how to’ books as I do novels.  I may not master the skill but I certainly get further than I would just trying to figure out stuff on my own steam.”

Like Betty shared her love of the library with her daughters, Sheree passed her love to her daughter Kate Moore, “Some of my earliest and fondest memories are going to the library with my mom. It was a special place. We would go to storytime at Florence and all the other fun events and classes, then later at Lents.  As an adult, Mom and I still participate in book clubs together and different library concerts, speakers, book sales and classes at Main. I remember getting my very own library card and how exciting that was. Summer Reading has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I fill out my book log as soon as I finish a book. It’s a race with myself to see how many books I can read, no matter how busy I am. The library has offered up to me new authors and new books to discover. It is still a special place to me and my family and has brought a lot of joy. Now I’m a mom. I bring my daughter to storytime when I can, we play and read in the children’s area and we participate together in the summer reading activities. She was old enough this year to pick out her own summer reading prizes and she was so happy. She loves books and the library. Before she was 2 years old she recognized the library building when we would drive by and I was so proud that she already knew the library as a special place. I look forward to her excitement the day she gets her very own library card. I hope that when she is my age that some of her earliest and fondest memories will be of going to the library with her mom. “

I hope the story of the McDavid family’s love of the library inspires you to come in and find your own library experience.  You might hear the voice of Sheree’s father saying “Don’t hurry, take your time.”


Karen Helmle has been with BCPL since 1999, first as a Circulation Assistant, currently as a Public Service Associate. Nothing pleases her more than finding a great book and sharing it with customers and co-workers!