EDITOR’S NOTE: Parentology writer Lauren Wellbank was supplied a set of cards from Hoyle, the game manufacturer, for her review of their card games.
The past year has seen a lot of changes, with many schools and activities moving to virtual and online models. This has increased kids’ screen time, motivating parents to find back-to-basics options like jigsaw puzzles and offline games.
Enter Hoyle, part of The United States Playing Card Company. They produce a number of card games that are not only fun and family-friendly but have also been shown to help four to eight-year-olds with social-emotional learning. Each pack of cards comes with a handy “skill checklist,” which tells you exactly what the game will help your child (and you) work on while they play.
Here are the Hoyle card games we reviewed.
Monkey, May I?
In Monkey, May I, kids get to work on some harder-to-master personal skills like self-control and decision making. There are four different types of cards in this pack. Players go through the cards and see if they get a mimic card (where you need to recreate the actions on the card you pull) or a Monkey, May I card which will have you choosing the “correct” behavior from two pictures. For example, the difference between a monkey making a bed and a monkey jumping on a bed. There are also cards that allow players to tell stories and work on those listening skills.
This game was perfect for our family because it was super easy for our younger daughter to play with very little guidance from the adults.
Super Me helps turn your kids into everyday superheroes by teaching them how they can help people at home and in their community by making good decisions and being helpful. It’s an easy way to help them work on empathy and social skills.
Each card presents a problem with a solution that they can help with — like giving an umbrella to a stranger in the rain or watering thirsty plants.
This game was the easiest of the bunch and seemed like it was perfect for even younger kids four. My three-year-old could play with a little help, we just kept all her cards face up so that we could help her find her matches.
My favorite card was the baby with the stinky diaper because we actually have a baby with stinky diapers here, and getting my kids excited about helping with those diapers has been a process!
Mixed Emojis is an emoji-themed memory game that involves sharing experiences and memories tied to each emoji card as they are flipped over. Each player also has to make a face similar to the one on the card before sharing a memory from a time when they felt that emotion.
So, if you pull a “happy” card you have to make a happy face before sharing a memory of a time that you felt happy. If someone else pulls a happy card later in the game, they have to remember what made the other player happy.
This was hard for our youngest, but watching everyone make faces was definitely the highlight of the game.
For these cards, teamwork is the name of the game. Players have to work together to move their pieces across the board and collect the most fish. Whoever collects the most fish wins.
This game helps your child work on strategy and decision-making skills. Why parents love it? It actually lets you incorporate younger kids as well.
My 3-year-old was too young for most of the games, but since this was a collaborative effort she could actually feel like she was really part of the game this time. Plus, if you have a bigger family, parents can divide and conquer. Each one can lead a round and work to help both younger and older kids play together.
Hoyle Card Games Review — Final Take
These Hoyle card games are a perfect solution to the increased screen time my family is experiencing.
It was so nice to sit around the table and play these games as a family. Even though they weren’t all perfect for all my kids’ ages, we were able to adjust to make the gameplay work so that our youngest still felt included.