1 deck, 52 cards, 4 suits and thousands of games. Did you know that if you add up all the symbols in a classic deck of cards you’ll get 365 or the number of days in a year? How cool is that?
While you don’t have to play cards every single day, you should definitely consider doing it more often. It’s the perfect stay at home activity that erases the generation gap between children and adults, plus it’s fun and more engaging than watching TV for example.
Nowadays, playing cards come in all shapes and sizes. There’re tons of games, variations and types of cards to choose from, but it all started way, way back.
An Activity as Old as Time
People have been playing cards for ages. The earliest reference to card games dates way back to the 9th century AD when Chinese emperors and family members from the Tang dynasty were playing the so-called “leaf game”. By the 11 century, playing cards had spread throughout the Asian continent and later, this activity reached Egypt.
Of course, these playing cards were nothing like the ones we know today. Instead of suits and numbers, the cards had rules and instructions for the players. Some scholars suggest that the earliest playing cards were actually used as currency because using real money for games was risky. Since there’s little evidence about the precise origin of playing cards, this remains a subject of debate that revolves around speculation rather than proof.
However, when it comes to Europe, there are written manuscripts from the 14th century that mention different types of games being played with a 52 cards deck. The suit signs in the first European decks included swords, cups, and coins. Some claim that these decks originate from Italy, while others connect these symbols with the Egyptian playing cards.
Through the years, almost every country left a stamp on the deck of cards we use today. Germany contributed to the methods of printing; France divided the 4 suits in red and black and created the signs we still use today, England developed the names for the suits and influenced the design of the Ace of Spades etc.
Playing cards withstood the ravages of time because it was a fun activity from the very beginning, but do you know that it offers numerous other benefits as well?
Why You Should Start Shuffling ASAP
No matter if you play cards with others or you enjoy single player games, playing cards is much more than a leisure activity because it’s linked to a wide array of emotional and mental health benefits for the young and old alike.
First, playing card games will keep your brain sharp andprotect you from dementia and Alzheimer’s in the old age. Research shows that people who regularly played cards had improved memory, stronger cognitive skills and increased brain volume along with healthier-looking MRI scans.
Second, card games provide plenty of learning opportunities for young children. Games like War and Go Fish are a fun way to introduce your kids to math whereas Rummy, Hearts and Crazy 8s can strengthen logical/mathematical intelligence in older children. Moreover, card games require some serious focus and concentration which ultimately leads to improved memorization skills no matter the age.
Furthermore, playing cards can strengthen social skills and help create stronger bonds. Almost every game of cards requires social interaction, observation and conversations. This is an excellent way to teach youngsters how to deal with winning and losing, but it’s also a very convenient icebreaker activity for any group of people.
Last, but not least, card games can help you relax after a long day. Instead of the endless scrolling on your phone or watching TV till you pass out, buy playing cards and give your eyes some rest from the harmful blue light. You’ll find peace of mind the moment you start shuffling your deck of cards and who knows, maybe a sweet victory awaits to make your day better.
A Plethora of Card Types, Games and Variations
Nowadays, you can choose to play the most common games of cards like Crazy 8s, Rummy, War, Hearts etc with a classic deck or you can take it up a notch and buy playing cards with a modern twist and some witty sense of humour for unforgettable game nights.
Speaking of unforgettable game nights, the first thing that comes to mind is, of course, Cards Against Humanity – the party game for horrible people. As you already know, this international bestselling adult card game is a hilarious icebreaker for parties and casual get-togethers with friends and family. Although the game is quite easy and simple, it will have you and everyone else in stitches. Each round, one player draws a black question card and the other players answer with their funniest white card. You should know that things can get pretty despicable and awkward, so it’s best not to invite young children to the table.
The Codenames card game is more suitable for young children aged 10+. It is a highly competitive card game where two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Teammates try to figure out the words of the right colour while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. To make things harder, everyone needs to avoid the assassin.
If you have younger children, you should check out Spot It! – a game of speed, observation and reflexes which is suitable for kids aged 6+. There are 55 cards with 50 different symbols and 8 symbols per card. Players need to spot the picture on two of the cards that form a pair.
And of course, the timeless Bicycle Rider Back Classic is a must-have deck. These iconic playing cards are the most recognizable deck of cards in the world and they have been in constant production since 1887. The Bicycle Rider Back Black deck is easy to shuffle, perfect for lots of games that are appropriate for different ages and can be used for awesome magic tricks as well.
Don’t think twice, get your brand new deck of cards ASAP and start shuffling right away for some old, but gold way of having fun!