Pay or Play

Ages: 4 to 7 years old
Number of Players: 2 to 4 players
Materials: Deck of cards, pennies or counters, bowl or cup
Skill Practice: Number sequence, ordering

Goal: To get rid of all the cards in your hand without losing all your counters

Set up:

  1. Each player gets 10 pennies or counters
  2. The dealer passes out 7 cards to each player.
  3. The remaining cards are placed face up in the middle of the table so that the players can select a card

Rules for play:

  1. The player to the left of the dealer begins play.
  2. The first player must place an Ace of any suit either from their hand or from the draw pool on the table.
  3. If the first player cannot make a play, the first player must place a counter in the bowl or “kitty.”
  4. It is then the next players turn to play an Ace to start the play or to pay into the kitty.
  5. Once the Ace is played, the next player must play the 2 of the same suit from their hand or from the pool.  If the player cannot play a 2, then the player must put a coin in the kitty.
  6. Play continues until the cards are placed in order and the King of the targeted suit has been played.
  7. The player, who played the King, begins the next round by selecting an Ace of any suit to start play.
  8. Play continues as described above.
  9. The player who gets rid of all the cards in their hand and who has at least 1 counter left in the pile.


  1. Have players play on more than one suit at a time.
  2. Instead of having a pool, have players draw a card for the pile. 
  3. Use different amounts of coins and have players break down the coins into smaller amounts to pay their fee for not making a play. (ex.  Each player receives 1 dime and 1 nickel.  If the fee is 1 cent, the players have to exchange the nickel into pennies to pay the exact fee into the kitty)