How to Play: Spoons

Filed under: Toys, Kids' Games, Activities: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Activities: Tweens

Spoon it up! Credit: Getty Images

What you need: Three to 12 players, a standard deck of playing cards and a number of spoons totaling one fewer than the number of players. The spoons are placed in the center of the table with handles pointing outward so that they may be easily grabbed by any of the players.

How to play: One person is designated first dealer and deals four cards to each player. Remaining cards are placed in a pile in front of the dealer to form the draw pile. The person to the right of the dealer is known as the trash. Deal passes to the left each round, so that one round's dealer becomes the next round's trash. The dealer starts the round by drawing a card from the draw pile and adding it in his or her hand so that he or she now has five cards. The dealer chooses one of these cards and discards it, passing it face down to the player to his or her left. That player will pick up the single card discarded by the dealer and discard one card to the player to his or her left, while the dealer draws a new card from the draw pile and discards another card to his left.

Play continues with cards being picked up, discarded and passed clockwise around the table until a card is passed to the trash player. The trash picks up the card passed by the player to his or her left, but discards a card to a discard pile instead of to the dealer. If the draw pile is depleted, the trash shuffles the discard pile and passes it to the dealer who uses it as the new draw pile. Alternatively, the dealer may take cards directly from the discard pile.

The rules:
Each player is trying to make his or her four cards into a set of four of a kind (four queens, four twos, etc.) by drawing new cards and discarding unused ones. A player should keep the four cards that are most likely to produce a matching set. No player may have more than five cards or fewer than four cards at any given moment. As soon as any player has a set of four of a kind and has discarded to the player on her right, she is allowed to take a spoon from the pile in the middle of the table. As soon as any player grabs a spoon from the pile of spoons, any other player is allowed to take a spoon as well.

This usually causes a mad grab for spoons leaving one player empty handed. The player who ends the round without a spoon loses that round. A player losing a round for the first time earns the letter "S," then at the next loss the letter "P," and so on, eventually spelling out "S-P-O-O-N-S." When a player has accumulated all six letters in "spoons," she drops out of the game. At that time, the number of spoons used in game play is reduced by one. The game continues until only one person remains.

How to win: Be the last person remaining in the game.

What else you need to know:
For faster games, players may be eliminated after one loss and the last remaining person declared the winner.

Related: More Kids' Games

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.