Dominoes is an ideal game to play with kids, because the rules are simple. Older children can play this game with adults without feeling as though their age puts them at a disadvantage. Young children can benefit from playing dominoes as they learn to count and to recognize patterns.
Flip over all the dominoes so that the blank side is up. If two players are participating, each player selects seven dominoes. With more than two players, each player chooses five dominoes. The remaining dominoes are used as a draw pile.
Hide your hand from the other players. Stand your dominoes upright, with the dots facing you, or lay them face down in your lap or on the table.
Help young children count the dots on the dominoes they have chosen to familiarize them with their pieces and to help them think more quickly as the game progresses.
Decide whether your game will consist of one round or the winner will be determined by points accumulated over several rounds. Point totals include all the dots on all the dominoes remaining in the other players' hands. If you are playing with younger children or do not have a lot of time, choose a low number of points, such as 50 or 60.
Determine who goes first by having each player select a random domino from the draw pile. Whoever has the domino with the highest number of dots goes first, and play continues around the table in a clockwise motion. Return the dominoes used to determine the player order to the draw pile, face down.
Choose a domino to place in the center of the table if you are the first player. Count the dots on each side of the domino so that the younger children understand that they have to match that number. Add to the fun by clapping as you count.
Continue to play around the table. During each turn, the player selects a domino from his pile that matches at least one side of one of the dominoes in the center. Dominoes can be laid end to end or at right angles, as long as the joined ends match.
Pick a domino from the draw pile if none of your dominoes can be played. When the draw pile has been depleted, pass without making a move.
Monitor the dominoes of the younger players. Observe what moves they can make, and then ask them to find the pieces they need from their piles. For example, if they can match a half with five dots, point to the piece in play on the table, and count the dots out loud. Ask them to find dominoes in their own piles that match the selected domino.
Continue playing rounds until one player acquires the number of points needed to win the game.
Corrie Agnew studied English with a writing concentration at Franciscan University in Ohio. Besides writing about various topics at Demand Studios, she also blogs and dabbles in short fiction. Her subjects of expertise include women's health and parenting.