Along the Garden Path: Quality fun with kids


When we’re not gardening, we enjoy playing cards with our family. For me, it started many years ago when my dad would come home for lunch, after he ate, we played cards.

In these days of technology with all of the games and other expensive toys, we forget that a simple deck or two of cards can provide hours of fun.

Years ago, our dates were a Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon spent playing cards with families and friends. We would play Euchre, Shanghai Rum, Hand and Foot, and Gin Rummy.

While on the many bus trips with the Ohio Association of Garden clubs, at the end of the day no matter how tired you were from the day’s sight-seeing, the cards always came out and late nights were spent playing cards. Some ended the next morning before we boarded the coach again.

We have enjoyed playing cards with friends and their families we worked with; there was a lot of conversation, fun and competition. There were many late nights; food, fun and libation.

At our house, we have a card bag that has been to more states than a lot of people have been to. It has our old favorite decks of cards (complete decks); rules to certain games we play, a note pad and pen to keep score. It’s been in the same spot of our house for more than 30 years. These cards have been on every family vacation.

If you have a deck of cards and the grandkids or great-grandkids are old enough to recognize numbers, you have it made. It starts with the young ones playing Slap Jack and of course they usually win. Around here, our grandkids love to play Hand and Foot. We are now teaching the great-grandkids to play Shanghai Rum. It’s exciting when the great-grandkids call asking if they can spend the night and play cards!

All card games require focus and patience which is a struggle for most young kids, and they also have to learn to shuffle.

With great-granddaughters Audrey (10) and Kendall (9), we are teaching them to play Shanghai Rum. We started playing just sets of three, one set, two sets and three sets. Then we added the runs; runs of four, runs of five, and now we are advancing to a set of three and a run of 10!

The girls know to get a good mix, shuffle a minimum of four times. If you like, you may ask the player to your right to cut the deck, and place the cards from the bottom half of the deck on top of the other half. Then, shuffle again. Dealing cards, one at a time and in a clockwise direction, until every player has the number of cards they should have in their hand. It’s good for them to have to deal out the cards.

We play 10 rounds – 11 cards are dealt to each player in every deal. The game uses the term “buying” for when an out-of-turn player takes an upcard. There is a limit to the number of buys allowed. The player has to draw an extra card from the stock, and cannot play the cards immediately, but must wait for their turn. If more than one player wants it, the one closest to the last player has precedence.

There is a limit to the number of buys allowed. Each player is only allowed three buys per hand. Jokers and wild cards may be used in a run of four, two wild cards for a run of five, three wild cards for as run of seven and four wild cards for a run of 10.

We have a lot of fun with the younger ones and we feel it’s a good learning tool for matching items and applying strategy. Just like the kids learning the four different suits of cards, it’s the same as learning the different plant varieties while gardening.

However, when it comes to just the adults playing, its outright war and tons of fun!

Great-granddaughters Audrey (10) and Kendall (9), are learning to play Shanghai Rum. Audrey (10) and Kendall (9), are learning to play Shanghai Rum.

By Charlene Thornhill

Along the Garden Path

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

No posts to display