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How to Play Donkey Cards

Kids can learn math and social skills while playing card games.
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Donkey is a simple game that children enjoy and can be played with a standard deck of cards. It is best to use a special Donkey card deck though because kids like to identify the animals. Special decks are often called something else or feature a different animal but the rules stay the same. Any deck of cards that has four of each suit can be used. Play can proceed quickly and kids love secretive when winning. Just listen for the stifled giggles to see who has won the game.

Play with three to six players.

Collect a set of four matching cards for each player. This could be several sets of fours featuring animals, numbers or shapes or sets of four from a standard deck. For example, a game with four players could use four Kings, four Queens, four Jacks and four Aces for play.

Shuffle the cards and deal four cards face down to each player.

Review the cards within your hand and determine which one card you want to discard. If you have two or three of a kind such as two Jacks, it is wise to discard one of the other cards. If you have one card of each suit, make your best guess for what card value you want to collect.

Discard your card and place it in front of the person to your left.

Pick up the card that has been placed in front of you by the player on your right. Keep it if it helps you but discard another card on the next turn.

Lay down your four of a kind once you have collected it as quietly as possible. You have won. Don't let anyone know you have laid down your cards. The other players need to react by laying their cards down quickly, completed or not. The last person to lay their cards down is the "Donkey."

Reshuffle and play again until everyone has been the Donkey.


A similar version of this game is called Pig. Instead of laying your cards down quietly, a finger is laid aside your nose indicating that you have your four of a kind. The last person to notice and react is called the "Pig."


  • Don't let kids be mean to each other as they call each other names. This silly game is meant to be fun.
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