Richard Scarry’s Busytown: Cars and Trucks Card Game

Richard Scarry's Busytown card game is a fun, simple game for 3-7 year olds. Because it's chance-based mis-matched skill levels don't matter. Buy from Amazon: (affiliate link)

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The Young Engineer has loved Richard Scarry books for some time. He really enjoys looking at all the detail in Busytown, working out which machines do which job, and how it all works together. I think from about age two, he found these books engaging. My favourite thing was that although he would often request them in story time, what he mostly wanted was to take them to be with him and quietly occupy himself before he fell asleep. This is parenting gold! Unfortunately, Action Man is not that way inclined. Quiet, still, time is not his strength. And he is not that interested in how machines work and produce different items.

Richard Scarry's Busytown Cars & Trucks Card Game
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A very simple card game involving counting, number recognition, and ability to figure out the largest number. The game is purely based on the luck of choosing the right card, so allows even the youngest player the chance to win. Great for family fun, especially for a fast, simple, family game with children aged 3-7.

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This particular game is great for both my boys though. As it is so simple. It goes like this: There are 45 cards that are laid out face down. Each player points to a card then together we all say, “1,2,3 Flip”. Each player turns over their card. The player with the highest value card gets all the cards. The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.

Very simple. All luck, so we can actually play with our boys and sometimes Action Man can even win. And every game, there are players that don’t win (this was known as “losing” before self-esteem got too precious). There are some great lessons in winning and losing. Responding appropriately. Playing again. Not giving up. Being generous in attitude.

The game lasts about 5 minutes. So we would usually play two or three rounds. Which is great because it allows multiple people to experience winning and losing every time we play.

It works well for us as a post-dinner game, as it doesn’t push out bedtime too far, but allows us to start building a culture of family games night. And having some simple, family fun.

Each card has the number value on it, but also has a picture of a Busytown vehicle with that number of characters in it. Lowly Worm is there in his Apple Car on a card labelled One. And there are many unusual vehicles and buses filled with a variety of Richard Scarry’s characters.

The boys occasionally count the characters in the vehicles. Although Action Man (age 3) can count to six, but follows 6 consistently with 11, so we tend to help him with that. The numbers being on the cards definitely speeds things up, but educationally, there are some great basic maths skills here. Counting how many characters are on each card is one skill. The second, is figuring out which number is highest. The third maths skill, is that there are some coloured cards with a plus symbol as well as their number. These cards allow you to turn over another card, and add that total together.

The only frustrating thing about this game is the size of the cards. They are a large size, which means that we have to have a large space available to spread them all out on. We usually play at our dining room table and we have to spread them right across the whole width. That’s fine for adults with long arm reach, but sometimes all the cards closest to the kids are gone and they struggle to reach the further away cards. This is a fairly minor inconvenience and easily resolved.

I would recommend this game for 3 years and up with an adult playing. Probably kids aged 5-7  could play by themselves.

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