Useful Things: The Glow-in-the-Dark Playing Cards Review

July is a month for camping trips and summer camps, and I’ve found an item that you might want to consider packing the next time you send the young ones off — a set of Glow-in-the-Dark Playing Cards from Useful Things. Think about the uses that your kids will find for a set of playing cards that are both glow-in-the-dark, and waterproof. Imagine your child playing cards with his or her cabin mates well after lights-out, and you’ll begin to see the usefulness of such an item; you’re providing a means for them to bond with their fellow campers! Or at least a means to make extra snack money, if they are any good at poker. 😉

Inside the 4″ x 3″ x 1″ plastic case (which also happens to be glow-in-the-dark), there are 54 transparent plastic cards, including the two Jokers. The fronts and backs of the cards have been coated in glow-in-the-dark paint so that all have the same shapes visible from their backs, but on the front each card’s info is easy for players to read.

Perfect for camping, backpacking, or other outdoor trips, the Glow-in-the-Dark Playing Cards provide 2 hours of lightless entertainment when fully charged. To charge, simply place near a light source. The cards are 100% plastic and waterproof, and come in a waterproof transparent case. The Glow-in-the-Dark Playing Cards are also fun to have around the home, or even the office.

I found the plastic cards to be very easy to shuffle, but like a new deck, they were a little slicker than what I’m used to. The way the deck is designed, with numbers or letters showing on the top left and bottom right (as well as in the center) when looking at the cards, makes it easy to sort out any that may have been placed in the deck facing the wrong way. The first time I charged the cards, I did it by spreading them out on a table in a well-lit room. After 10 minutes or so, the cards were “fully charged”, resulting in a deck of brightly glowing cards.

The cards’ faces were easy to read in full-darkness, and they maintained their glow for well over an hour.

Of course, the best results would be seen under a black light; if your kids have one of those, expect them to love the effect of these brightly glowing cards.

It’s not always practical to lay the cards out to charge, so I did try placing the cards in a well lighted area while they were inside their closed box; as expected that didn’t work very well. The good thing is that the cards can charge enough to glow for some time in as little as five minutes, so if you can spread them out in a brightly lit room (a clandestine trip to the bathroom after lights-out, perhaps?) and then smuggle them back, you can still get an in-dark game going. The cards will also sufficiently glow if you shine a flashlight on each for a couple of seconds.

The only real downside that I can see, is that like so many things the cards were made in China. As tempting as it might be to allow really young kids to play with these, mainly because they are plastic and therefore almost indestructible, I think it would be unwise because of the unknown and potentially unsafe ingredients used in the glow-in-the-dark paint. As long as your kids are past the age where they put everything into their mouths, I think that the Glow-in-the-Dark Playing Cards will be a huge hit!

The Glow-in-the-Dark Playing Cards are available from Useful Things.

MSRP: $9.95

What I Like: Full deck of playing cards including jokers; waterproof and glow-in-the-dark; after charging the cards will glow for at least an hour; great item for camping or summer camp; inexpensive and fun!

What Needs Improvement: It is unclear what is used in the glow-in-the-dark paint, so it would be best not to let really young kids play with these (as it might be tempting to put the cards in their mouth); for best results, the cards should be spread out while charging

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