Note: This review was originally written 2 years ago, when my son was 4, but it wasn't posted here. My son is now 6 and has been playing it with all the regular rules for quite some time
My parents sent this card game to me for my son over a year ago when he was just barely 3. Since it says 6 and up on it, I decided to tuck it away until later. Then, last week we went over to play at another 4-year-old's house and we ended up playing Uno, with the rules simplified a little to suit our small children.
When we got home, I dug out the SpongeBob SquarePants UNO Special Edition Card Game I'd had in our stash of toys-for-the-future.
0 - Spongebob is in his underwear and has his hands in front of his private parts because he's embarassed. My son thinks Spongebob is grabbing himself.
1 - Patrick looking gleeful and appearing to dance
2 - Gary sucking onto Spongebob
3 - Sandy the Squirrel
4 - Spongebob saluting
5 - Gary the Snail
6 - Spongebob looking excited
7 - Squidward looking angry
8 - Spongebob in his underwear again, not embarrassed this time
9 - Patrick lounging back and blowing bubbles
Skip - Spongebob playing leapfrog with Gary
Reverse - Spongebob with ripped pants
+2 Draw - Mr. Krabbs
Super Absorbancy Wild Car - Spongebob in the bathtub, bloated with water
Wild - Spongebob in his sailor hat dancing
+4 Draw - Plankton looking irate as usual
UNO can be played with 2 or more players. Each player is given 7 cards, then the rest of the deck is put in the middle, with one card turned up. The idea is for players to play one card per turn, and it has to match the card on the pile in either color or number. There are a few special cards (+2 Draw, Skip, and Reverse) that have special functions when played, and a few wild cards (+4 Draw, Super Absorbancy, and Wild) that can be played at any time and used to change the color. If at any time a player can't lay down a card, they have to draw cards from the deck until they get a card they can use. When a player gets down to one card, they must say UNO. When they have no cards left, they win.
How is SpongeBob UNO different than regular UNO?
SpongeBob UNO is pretty much the same as regular UNO, except for the "Super Absorbancy" card, which when played forces the player with the least number of cards to take one card from the next player.
Modifying the Game for Little Ones
Playing UNO as a full game is a lot to ask of your average 4-year-old. But with some simplification UNO can be a fine and educational first card game for kids.
We play with our 4-year-old by ignoring all of the special cards for the most part. We don't use Skip, Reverse, or +2 Draw. We just treat them just like the number cards, where they simply have to be matched by color or word. We use all of the wild cards just to change the color.
What My Son Thinks
My 4-year-old absolutely loves playing UNO, and as he gets older we will gradually introduce the special cards one at a time, until we're playing just like grownups.