I grew up with four siblings. When my parents bought us toys they wanted them to be toys that all of us would enjoy playing with. One of our favorite childhood toys was a pre-cut card construction kit. We had hours of fun building a house of cards. The set lived in the travel toy box as it was easy to pack and all of us enjoyed building card houses.

Building a house with cards is fun and it is a fantastic STEAM activity. We are going green this week with our recycled construction activity. There are so skills involved in building a house of cards. We made our own card construction kit. Then we thought of some games to play while building a house of cards.

DIY Building a House of Cards Construction Set

The materials and instructions are simple:

You need cards. This is a good time to use up those incomplete decks of cards that you have laying around. Cut a 1/2 slit through the middle of the top, bottom and both sides.

The cards are ready and the games can begin! 

Building a House of Cards Game 1:

Put the cards in a pile with the numbers facing down.

Each player picks a card. They then get to take the same number of cards as the first card they picked. For example, Lisa picks the 3 of diamonds. She then gets to pick 3 more cards. She then uses those cards to start building her house of cards. Jokers give the player another turn and face cards pick 4 more cards. Keep picking cards and building a house of cards until all the cards are gone.

We just played until the cards were gone, then we compared all the differents styles of card houses. If you wish to have a winner, the winner would be the one who built the biggest house of cards.

Building a House of Cards Game 2:

Matching Houses of Cards

In this version give each player the same amount of cards. For a simpler version give no more than eight cards per player to start with. Choose one player to be the “foreman”. The foreman’s job is to plan the construction of the house and build a model. The foreman builds a simple house of cards. The other players then have to construct a replica with their cards. this is an excellent visual spatial and visual attention activity. It is also the foreman’s job to help and encourage with verbal directions. It is actually a fairly difficult skill to give clear verbal instructions so the kids will probably start pointing or trying to just do it themselves. Guide the foreman to use their words.

Building a House of Cards Game 3:

In this version you can use any cards, you will not be needing cards with the slits cut.

Give each player an even amount of cards. The game is to see how many cards they can use without the house of cards falling. Another version of this game would be to see who finishes using all their cards first.

Building a House of Cards Game 4:

Balancing on a House of Cards

Challenge the kids to build a house of cards that is strong enough to support an item without falling down.

Here are some resources on the best ways to build a house of cards:

Cardstacker takes the art of building with cards to a whole new level.

Bed Time Bath has instructions for building a simple house with cards.

WikiHow has instructions for three different ways to build a house with cards.


This post is a part of an amazing series of hands-on STEM activities for kids. Each week is a different topic: STEM Goes Green, STEM Challenges, Coding for Kids & STEM On the Cheap.  Click here for the full list of activities.


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Building a House of Cards DIY Construction kit

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