How to Make Family Playing Cards


Just who is Aunt Mary and how did she come to live way up in Alaska? Why is Great-grandfather Wayne someone worth knowing about? By making playing cards for your kids featuring family members, you set the stage for memory-building fun and games plus pique kids’ curiosity — who are these people on the cards?

The result? Expect to tell lots of stories and field questions about characters like Aunt Mary. Kids may become better connected to their extended family, including members across the miles and the generations. Research suggests that children who know about their family history have a stronger sense of self worth and higher esteem for their family.

Of course, they may also make up some family stories of their own and will always get a kick when their face pops up in the hand they’re dealt.

How to make the cards

You can find instructions and a free PDF or MSword card template to download, along with rules for simple matching games at Add digital photos and names to the templates, then print. Or print the blank cards, then glue on photos and write names. Laminate cards using self-laminating sheets or clear contact paper.

Games especially for little ones:

In addition to favorites like Go Fish, preschoolers will have fun sorting boys from girls, finding their cousins, and telling one side of the family from the other. Add cards featuring family pets, family houses, and resident cities to build out the challenge.

Other cards kids can make

Use the same idea and template to help kids make a memory card set featuring their favorite things, illustrated with photos, drawings, or magazine clippings.

Growing out the set

Don’t forget to add family members as new babies and spouses come along, and snap lots of shots at your next family reunion or wedding. Dig out old family albums and take vintage photos to a photo kiosk with scanner to get inexpensive digital versions and prints. Don’t forget to collect stories about these ancestors while you can. As an added plus, you’ll have the peace of mind of having these irreplaceable old photos backed up, too.