Let’s Play Cards!

Let’s Play Cards!
Mamie Eisenhower: Sports and Popular Culture

Skill: Middle School
Time Required: Two or more class periods


While Ike was away, Mamie often played cards with other Army wives.  In fact, this was a favorite pastime in the 1940s and 1950s.  Very often, couples would entertain with “card parties” on Friday or Saturday evenings.


The purpose of this lesson is to acquaint students with the history of card games popular in the United States during the middle years of the 20th century.    

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet.


1.  Ask students if they have favorite card games (poker is not an option). 
2.  Point out that many card games, while they do depend on the luck of the draw, also require strategy and careful planning. 
3.  Divide the class into small groups.  Assign a game to each group.  Their job is to research the history of the game, the rules, and to create another game similar, but not identical, to it.  Games to consider are:
  • Bridge
  • Canasta
  • Crazy Eights
  • Gin Rummy
  • Hearts
  • Spades
  • Uno

Extending the Lesson:

Rather than creating a game, the teacher may wish for the students to merely report on their findings.

Sources & Resources:


There are many websites devoted to the history of these great games.  A Google search will identify them easily.

This lesson was developed by Bette Brooks, Kent State University.