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How to play Go Fish for kids

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Go Fish is a card game that is a great interactive activity for kids to learn about numbers, the formation of pairs and patterns, and memorization. Playing Go Fish is easy for kids to learn the rules, making it conducive for children to develop cognitive thinking and communication skills.

Can preschoolers play Go Fish?

Yes, preschoolers can play Go Fish as long as they are about three years and above. Go Fish is easy to learn, and a kid in preschool can quickly learn how to take turns, be honest, match colors, match numbers, ask for something and discard from their hand. 

A preschooler that is capable of performing the above activities can easily learn to play go Fish. Playing Go Fish with kids allows them to learn numeracy skills, improve critical thing, plan for activities, improve sorting skills and solve problems.

Can a 3-year-old play Go Fish?

Yes, Go Fish is designed to be a friendly card game for three to six players of age three or more years. The game is fun and encourages the little ones to face challenges without getting frustrated.

However, according to game recommendation, the most appropriate age to play Go Fish is 4 years and above, but Go Fish is a game of memory retention, matching ranks, pairing suits, and discarding cards. If a 3 old is ready to learn these skills, then they can comfortably start to play the game.

How to play Go Fish with kids

Gather 2 to 6 kids, ages 4 to 10 years old, and assemble a deck of 52 regular cards or play with specialized Go Fish cards. Additionally, players can use customized flashcards for educational purposes.

Determine the dealer player by any criteria agreed upon by the players. For instance, players can go with the player who won last, birthday dates, alternate the role, or sometimes it’s just an adult.

The first player to the left of the dealer ask another player for a card of a certain rank, but they must have at least one of the same rank in their hand. If the opponent has the card asked, they must give them to the player, but if they don’t have such a card they say “go fish,” and the opposing player must draw the top card from the stockpile.

Once a player gets the card they want, try and form sets of 4 cards of the same rank to discard the points from your hand. The player with the most sets of cards wins the game when the draw pile goes empty.

Set up

It is common to play Go Fish with kids using picture cards that are decorated with fun graphical images of fish. The drawing as specific to different fish types and kids love looking at all the colorful images.

Otherwise, use a regular deck of playing cards, excluding jokers. 

Once the dealer is determined, the deck needs to be shuffled by the dealer and then distributed among the players: 

  • With two players, the dealer should deal seven cards to each player. Deal five cards to each player when three or more players are involved. 
  • Place the remaining deck at the center facedown to form the fishing pile where players will draw cards when they “go fish.”

How many cards do you deal in Go-fish with kids?

When the game is played with three kids or more, the dealer should deal 5 cards to each kid. Otherwise, the dealer will deal seven cards in a two player game.

The remaining deck is placed facedown at the center of the playing arena to form the drawing pile where players fish cards whenever their opponent asks them to fish.


The player on the left of the dealer goes first. Each player takes a turn by asking a given opponent for a specific rank of card, but they also must have at least one card of the rank they ask for in their hand to avoid telling a lie

The player asked could either provide the card, or say “go fish” if they don’t have possession of the card being asked. 

For instance, let’s take kid 1, who goes by the name Sarah and another opponent kid named Tom; if Sarah is the active player, she can ask Tom to give her all 7s Tom has, but Sarah must have at least one card of rank 7. 

Tom must give Sarah all the 7s he has, but if he doesn’t have any 7s, then Tom will be say, “go fish” to Sarah who has to draw a card from the stockpile. 

If a player gets more than one card from the opponent they asked, that player gets another turn, but if they go Fish, the gameplay passes to the next player.

Players must form sets of 4 so that they can remove the cards from their hand. They have to show the set to their opponent before they release it. 

When a player gets rid of all the cards in their hand wins, they can draw a card from the pond as their turn. But if the draw pile goes empty, the player with the most sets of 4 wins the game.

A player should not ask for a card they don’t have. Although it’s a good strategy, it’s not suitable for sportsmanship between opponents because it leads to cheating.

Go Fish kids rules 

  • Players can play the game with two kids or more, but a maximum of 6.
  • The optimal age range is between 4 to 10 years, but that doesn’t prevent you from teaching your 3 year old if you feel they are ready to learn the game.
  • Each kid should be dealt with seven cards with two players, but each kid gets five cards when three kids are involved. 
  • The remaining deck is placed facedown to act as a fishing pond when a player must draw a card.
  • Take turns asking other players for a specific rank card. However, the player must have at least one card of the rank they are asking. 
  • If a player has a card they have been asked for, they have to give it to the opponent, but if they don’t, they say “go fish” for the opposing player to draw the top card from the stockpile.
  • If a player runs out of cards, they can draw a card from the stockpile on their next turn.
  • A player can only discard a match of 4 cards in the same rank, and the player with the most sets wins the game.
How to play Go Fish for kids

Go Fish with Kids: Conclusion 

Go Fish is a game that can be very educational for kids to play. Learning the rules and gameplay is very simple, making the game perfect for kids to play.

Cheating in Go Fish is very easy because one can get away with it without being noticed, but it should not be encouraged so the young ones develop honesty

Especially for kids, it is possible to change the rules of Go Fish a bit such that instead of a sets of 4, players make sets of 2 for the game to move faster. 

Remember, kids lack patience, and they get bored easily. Simplify the game as much as possible to make it fun and more interesting be determining the winner more rapidly so kids will be eager to ply again.

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