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Games and Activities
Spoons
Ages 5 to 8

Also called: Donkey, Pig

Number of participants: Three to 20 (but it is less confusing if you limit it to 13 players)

Length of time: The more players there are, the longer the game. With five players the game lasts about 15 minutes

What players will need: A standard deck of 52 playing cards, a pencil and paper for keeping score, and enough spoons for all the players but one

Rules of the game:

Spoons is a fast, fun-filled game that keeps children squealing with delight as they race to avoid becoming the spoon. (Could this be why it's sometimes called Pig?). The goal is for each player to fill her hand with a four-of-a-kind set and grab a spoon before anyone else.

Pull out as many four-of-a-kind sets as there are players. Put all the other cards aside. For instance, if three people are playing, then pull out the threes, fives, and jacks. The game will be played with these cards.

Put the spoons in the center of the circle. There should be one more person than there are spoons.

Shuffle the cards you'll be using and deal four to each player. Each player should look at her cards to see how many matches she has and decide on a card to get rid of. She puts the card she doesn't want face down on the table and slides it to the left. The player on her left will do the same, as will the player on her left, so everyone gets a new card.

Each player adds the new card to her hand and selects another to discard. If the card she just got doesn't help her, she can send it on its way immediately.

When someone has a whole set, that player lays her cards down on the table and grabs a spoon. As soon as the others notice, they all race to grab spoons too. One person will be left without one. This person gets an "S," and everyone goes on to the next round.

The game continues until someone collects all the letters in the word "spoons." That person loses the game.

Other ways to play:

In Donkey and Pig, the first person to collect all the letters in the name of the game must bray or oink, depending on the animal chosen.

If you don't want your fine silver being fought over, you can use buttons or quarters. Or use an action instead, such as putting a finger next to your nose.

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