Thursday, October 30, 2008

Playing Cards

I come from a working class family. We didn't have much money so mom and dad entertained my sister and me with games. We played card games for hours. I learned to count and to recognize numbers from a deck of cards. I learned how to order my numbers from playing rummy and I learned addition from casino. My mom introduced casino with subtraction to enforce teach those skills. Maybe that is why I've always loved math.

Kids today don't play cards with their parents. Teaching probability is a problem when we get to the card questions because many have never touched a deck of cards in their lives. They have no idea how many cards are in the deck, the suits or even the colors of black and red. They say that their parents don't like gambling.

How sad that a simple thing like playing cards with your child is considered bad? Is it a cultural thing? Many of my students are foreign born. Or, are parents today just too busy to enjoy this simple pleasure with their children?


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more. While I didn't play many board or card games with my parents, I did play with the other children.
My mother loved to play Scrabble but that came later in life.

We learned banking from Monopoly, reasoning from chess (btw, I used to teach chess to my students before TEST PREP).

Even TV is different. I learned history, civics and fair play from watching westerns and shows like Little House. Today it's Gossip Girl.

Another element missing is conversation and reading aloud to a child before bed. That is why I started a foreign language section in our school library. I was able to find children's books as well as Harry Potter in other languages.
The children from China were thrilled to see the selections. They now had something to share with their non-English speaking parents. Of course my admin never gave a damn and closed down the library and turned it into a writing classroom.

Sandy said...

Growing up, I was taught poker and rummy by my grandmother but my parents were horrified and got pretty angry at her for showing me, even though no gambling was involved. However, I have fond memories of playing cards with my grandmother, and so, I often "play cards" with my son, who is 3, which involves number recognition & shapes right now. Recently, he started inventing stories with the Jacks, Queens, Kings & we get a lot of mileage from a simple pack of playing cards in our house and it's a nice antidote to the TV!

yo miss!, formerly in bushwick said...

Funny, I see kids with cards at my school (right here in Queens!) all the time. They're not allowed in school, but some of the school aides will look the other way during lunch or recess as long as the kids are quiet. They're pretty good at poker.

BCC said...

It's a generational thing. The kids hear about life growing up with only 3 channels, no video games, no ipods, no cell phones, no texting, and no Internet and THEY feel sorry for YOU.

violetdaisy said...

I think it's probably a combination of a lot of things. My parents played all kinds of games with me ~ but until I was in college I never saw a deck of playing cards. I didn't learn any of those games ~ and still don't really know (or care to know) them. I think it's cultural in my case ~ my parents were raised in houses that didn't have playing cards and so it just hasn't been part of our family culture.

But that doesn't mean I didn't learn a lot from the games I did play with my parents.

I do think that more and more parents, in order to survive, are a lot busier with jobs and such. It's just a twisted, sad thing.

jd2718 said...

I missed this post when you wrote it. 100% on target. Embarrassing as it sounds, moving the pieces around the Monopoly board (sides of 10, with the 5s marked with RRs) probably gave me the quick skill, the fluency, adding and subtracting that allowed me to not think about those skills and concentrate on the harder stuff.

And cards was great - adding, counting. I was probably 6 when we started playing casino with my mother. And my grandmother taught me cribbage when I was 8 or so - her sister had been a WAC and brought it back from the Pacific (I think it was mostly a Canadian game) and adding to 15 over and over had to help.