This Game is Garbage!

We have played this game approximately one billion times, and I’ll play it 1 billion and one if it means the boys practice the skills this game sharpens.

My five-year-old loves it, my three-year-old wants in, and we all enjoy the time together.

It’s quick, and super simple, too!

Here are the rules:

1.) Lay out two rows of five cards, horizontally for each player. The rest of the cards are for the draw pile.

2.) Choose the first player. We rock-paper-scissors for it. 🙂

3.) The first player chooses a card. Each of the cards you laid face down represent a number (left-to-right) Ace-5 in the top row; 6-10 on the bottom row.

4.) If the card drawn is Ace-10, pick up the face-down card in the corresponding spot, and replace it with the card drawn (lay it facing up).

5.) The face-down card you pulled to replace with the drawn card is now the next card you play. If it fits in to what’s left, you pick that spot’s card up and lay the one in your hand down in its place. Your turn continues until you don’t have any more spots available for the switch out.

Example: I draw a 5. I pick up the card face down that’s in the 5 spot (top row last card on the right) and lay the 5 I just drew where it was. The card that was face down was an Ace. I pick up the first card on the top row and lay the Ace down in its place…keep going until you run out of spots to fill.


The first to fill all his or her spots is the winner!

Other handy rules:

1.) If you pick up a Jack or Queen, you automatically discard into a discard pile next to the draw pile.

2.) If you  pick up a number you already have face up, discard.

3.) If you pick up a King, it’s wild and can be used as any number Ace-10!

4.) When you run through the entire deck of draw cards, shuffle the discard into a new draw pile and keep going until you get a winner.

The best part about this game is that it looks exactly like the ten-frames Cohen is learning in Kindergarten math!

He works with numbers, placement, and I was really surprised by how quickly he learned the numbers associated with the face-down cards.

For Hudson, our three-year-old, this has been great to help drive home his numbers, and introduce 6-10 after our Marshmallows for the Win! game. He’s also learning the same skills as Cohen, but he definitely needs much heavier assistance.

I sit him on my lap and let him “play” my cards. He also gets to work on his counting because until he can learn the number-for-a-spot idea, he has to have extra time to get used to it, and counting it out is the way we do it.

I take his finger and count through. If he draws a four, we count, “1,2,3,4!” and he absolutely loves pulling up the face-down card and replacing it with the number card. He feels like such a big boy playing cards with his big brother!

I love this game and how it helped Cohen’s skills grow so quickly, how it is teaching and reteaching numbers with Hudson, and most of all how it always brings us together.

A bowl of popcorn, a game of Garbage, and our two boys is a good, good night.


~Andrea 🙂

kids game



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