I know I’ve been a bad blogger of late. In my defence I have moved house and Christmas is coming, but even so, it’s about time I posted again, if only to get back into the swing of it.
So today I took a break from the stresses of the circus that is Christmas and had a quiet afternoon playing cards.
Hands up who plays Solitaire on their pc, laptop, tablet, or phone? How many of you own and play with an actual deck of cards?
When we were kids, I vaguely remember one of our teachers suggesting to my parents that playing games like dominoes and cards when we were little can help with maths, numbers in general and even telling the time. Likewise, Scrabble and Hangman were good for learning vocabulary and spelling.
I remember playing various versions of Patience – aka Solitaire – taught to us by my dad, and my favourite was the Clock game.
It is such a simple game to learn and is completely dependant on chance. Hence the name – Patience. There is no skill involved whatsoever, and so anyone who knows, or is learning, their numbers can play.
- Shuffle a deck of cards and then deal piles of 4 cards face down into a circle of 12 to represent a clock face. See picture above
- The Jack represents 11 and the Queen 12
- Place the final 4 cards face down in the centre of the circle, and this is where the King’s go.
- Take a card from the centre pile and place it next to the corresponding pile in the circle. For example if it’s a 6 place it next to the bottom stack.
- Take one card from the pile where you just placed your card – ie if it’s a 6 take a card from the pile representing the 6 on the clock.
- Keep doing this with the remaining cards. If you turn up a King, it goes into the centre of the clock and you take the next card from the centre pile.
- To win you need to turn over all of the cards before you turn up 4 Kings. And that is it.
To some, this may seem a pointless exercise. I hear the word “Boring” shouted from every teenager engrossed in a game of Call of Duty right now. But in a world where mental health issues and stressed out kids who are feeling lonely and isolated are becoming more and more prevalent, perhaps a game away from a screen, something that is calm and requires no thinking, could be a balm to a troubled mind. Heck, card games can even be played with other people, in real life, in your own actual living room! Too sarcastic? Hmmm maybe.
I despair sometimes of all the time people spend in front of screens. Something I am guilty of to, I am writing an online blog for goodness sake. So something as simple as a game of cards, dominoes or board games can be a great family bonding time. Or if your family is like mine – temper tantrums from the bad losers and gloating from the bad winners. Both of which are then ridiculed mercilessly and for all eternity. But it’s all a learning experience. Learning patience, learning to try and try again, and learning to slow down the pace. Finding time to breathe and relax and maybe even have some fun in the process. It can also be a great way to while away a cold and dark winter’s evening.
The deck of cards I’ve used are Pirates of the Carribean cards we picked up on a family holiday to Disneyland Florida years ago. There are some great packs of cards out there and are worth collecting in their own right. But for the cash strapped, you can pick a simple plain deck up for just a pound or two. You might even find a pack in a charity shop – just make sure there are 52 playing cards and maybe a Joker or 2 in the deck. I remember scribbling numbers on Jokers to represent cards that were lost, but you can only do this once or twice with a single deck.
Cards are also small, lightweight and portable enough to take anywhere. Pack them in your bag for a long flight or train journey. Great for a camping or caravan holiday too. When you have no signal, or your battery has run down, you can turn to the cards to ease the boredom.
If you’re looking for other card games to play, don’t Google it. Instead, walk to your local underused library and see if you can find a book on the subject.
And cards and dominoes are not just for playing games. You can also build a tower with cards and who doesn’t love tumbling dominoes?