LQ: 7.1


Brain grade: 6.4
Fun score: 7.8

Game Type: , ESRB Rating: Everyone Platform/Console: , , , , , , , , , LWK Recommended Age: 5+ Thinking Skills Used: ,

iTunes / GooglePlayGameHouse

In this version of the classic card game, each player starts UNO with 7 cards that they must try to discard into the center pile. Players can discard cards that are either the same number or color as the top card in the center pile. The first player to discard all her cards wins. There are several special cards, like ones that reverse the turn order, skip other players, or cause the next player to draw cards rather than discard them. There are also “wild” cards, which can be discarded at anytime. UNO is a card game that features no inappropriate content, and is recommended for kids ages 5 and up.

This Game is Good for Kids Who Need Help With:

Working Memory

Recalling and retaining information in our minds while working.

This game helps practice Working Memory skills, as there is various pieces of information to keep in mind while playing. Firstly, players need to try and remember which players have the least amount of cards left, as the goal is to stop them from discarding more and winning. Also, players need to remember the colors and numbers that caused other players to be skipped, as they can use this information when discarding to stall them from emptying the rest of their hand. Furthermore, players can use “skip” or “draw” cards on players who only have a few cards left, as this can keep them from using up their last cards.


Adapting and adjusting to changing conditions and expectations.

The flow of gameplay in UNO can change at any time. Players can play special cards that change the current color of the discard pile, force other players to draw extra cards or change the order of all players' turns. Flexible players learn to play these cards when they can help the most. For example, if the next player has UNO -- or only one card in his hand -- a Reverse or Draw X card can be played in order to keep the current hand alive and give other players a chance to catch up. Continuously using the same strategy is not a good idea in this game, as players have to adapt their tactics depending on whether or not the game is going in their favor.

Use this PlayTogether guide to learn how you can help your child turn UNO play time into a positive learning and relationship-building experience. To learn more about why playing games with your children is so important, check out our Science of Play page.

Talk Before You Play

Talk a minute to talk to your child about how the Working Memory and Flexibility Thinking Skills work, and why they are important for success in school and at home.

Set Gameplay Goals

UNO features single-player and an online multiplayer game modes, so the best option is to play together competitively. If that is not an option, you can always play the original card game with your child as well. Set some of the gameplay goals listed below, playing with your child to complete each one.

  • Complete three full games in single-player mode.
  • Win one online multiplayer match.
  • Use a "Draw X" card on at least two different players.
  • Use a Reverse Card to keep the game away from a player with less cards than you.
  • Use a Wild Card to put the game in your favor.

Stop and Reflect

After you and your child have completed three full games in single-player mode, take some time to talk to your child about how UNO is improving your Working Memory and Flexibility skills.

  • Discuss how remembering the numbers and colors that caused other players to skip their turn can help a player gain the upper hand and put opponents at a disadvantage. Was there a time your child played a certain color or number card because she knew another player didn't have a hand to play with it?
  • See if your child can name a time that Working Memory skills would help her in school, such as taking a test or being able to retrace the major plot points of a story.
  • Talk with your child about a game that either of you won. How many hands did you have to play? Did you use any special cards like "Reverse" or "Skip?" If so, did you play these cards as soon as you could, or did you save them for a strategic play? What tactics did your opponents use? How were you able to counter their moves?
  • Discuss with your child how good Flexibility skills like those used while playing UNO can help you adjust creatively to changes in your plans or adapt to unforeseen circumstances.

Our Make It Work activities are designed to transform your child's gameplay into real-world improvements in thinking and academic skills. If you're just getting started with LearningWorks for Kids, we suggest  you try them all to find which are best for your child.

Introduce the Thinking Skills

Read over the pages for Working Memory and Flexibility, then take some time to introduce these Thinking Skills to your child.

Explain That:

  • Working Memory is the Thinking Skill that helps us recall and retain information in our minds while working, follow multi-step directions, and solve problems in our heads.
  • Flexibility is the Thinking Skill that helps us adapt to new situations, learn from mistakes and change what we are doing in order to deal with different challenges.

Working Memory Activity

Strategies used to help with reading comprehension can also help with working memory concerns. Help children to preview the steps needed to complete basic tasks such as getting ready for bed. Encourage them to predict what will happen if they miss a step. Then help them connect what they need to do with their previous knowledge of accomplishing these tasks. Ask them to paraphrase and summarize directions you have just given. Each of these techniques reflect some of the strategies that are often used with diverse learners to teach them how to use their previous memories and establish thinking skills to guide and direct their behaviors. If you are thinking about these strategies in regard to improving memory, you might also want to talk to your child’s classroom or resource teacher for more ideas about ways to try them.

Flexibility Activity

Play games that change tempo. One example of this is the game of Hide and Seek where the players each get alternating chances to run around and be quietly still. Games such as this, that involve taking turns and shifting the order of turns when a player loses a turn or gains an extra turn, can help to build flexibility skills. These suggestions are particularly useful for children who have difficulty with transitions or who tend to have problems regulating their behavior.

UNO & Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Many kids with ASD crave structured environments, so a game like UNO -- which follows simple, explicit rules -- can serve as a good platform to get children with ASD interacting socially with others while practicing important skills like Flexibility and Self-Control. UNO gives children with ASD the opportunity to try out these skills in a fun game that's easy to learn, with bright colors and numbers that even younger children can learn. UNO is a game that's quick to pick up that can continue to provide your child with the practice needed for Flexibility within rule sets and structured environments, especially in scenarios where she's playing or working with peers.

How to Use UNO for Children with ASD:

  • Integrate UNO into your child's flexibility training. Many children affected by autism display a restricted pattern of interest or a ritualized set of behaviors. When you play a game of UNO together, it will be easy for her to use only numbers or only colors, or be content to use a specific kind of color. Have her try using a different color or number every turn. By learning to play flexibly, she will be able to visibly accomplish more in the game and have a better chance of winning. As her flexibility shows success, encourage her to use similar flexibility in her real life choices.
  • Use UNO as a method of teaching her how to play and communicate with others through the consequences of her actions. She'll need to think about the cards she has in hand, the colors, numbers, and how they'll effect her as well as those she's playing with. This will help teach her about how her choices effect those around her and be conscious of what those decisions mean. If she changes the color to green, will the person next to her be farther from winning? Although the goal of UNO is to win, this can be applied to her thinking about her interactions and choices with others.
  • Like many games, UNO is a fantastic opportunity for her to explore self-control, both during and after the game. She will have to choose to think rather than be impulsive with her judgments, choosing when and how to play her cards. She'll also have to control her emotions if she loses a match. Promoting positive gameplay -- congratulating the winner, sharing the enjoyment of playing with others, complimenting the runners up -- will encourage her to act appropriately in response to failure and success.

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