Right now I’m using the game for math. I have just three “suits” this time. One suit is the numbers 1 – 10 written in normal digits. One suit is the same numbers written in tally marks, and the third is dots as drawn on Rightstart Math materials (where the first five dots are one color and any dots after that are a different color so a child can see without counting how many there are). Because 30 cards isn’t really enough I do doubles of all the cards over five. I play the game with my four year old, and I have him name off the card he plays. My goal with it right now is to get him used to seeing the numbers between 6 – 10 as being 5 + something.
With my seven year old the game can be used with multiplication. Choose four numbers and write out cards with the multiples of each of those four numbers. You can play down a card that is a multiple of the same number the previous card is a multiple of. If a card is a multiple of more than one of the choose numbers then it can be used to change the “suit.”
I’ve used it for reading. I made little cards with four different vowel sounds on them. I think the first time I probably used two short vowel sounds and the long vowel sounds for the same two letters. I cut up a bunch of cardpaper and wrote out four groups of words. (Maybe long e and short e sounds, and long a and short a sounds.) I tried for a few words that overlap, having vowels from two different categories which could be played on either pile. Sometime we had the additional rule that if you have a card that starts with the same letter as the card played, you could play that one as well.
We’ll probably try playing element UNO soon with alkaline metals separated from transition metals and so on. Or perhaps we’ll play the game with body parts, with the categories being the names of organs, organelle, and molecules. There are so many possibilities.