My girls are at ages in which they really, REALLY love matching games. They own everything from dinosaur matching games to My Little Pony matching games to this crazy phonics matching game that even I have trouble with, but their favorite matching games to play with tend to be the several sets of handmade games that we’ve made together.
And of these handmade games, there are sewn matching games, matching games using photos, matching games made from paint chips, and matching games that utilize my girls’ own artwork.
This is a fun and personalized project that can incorporate even the youngest child’s scribbled art. Here’s how to create it:
You will need:
- blank paper
- pretty scrapbook paper or vintage wallpaper or leftover wrapping paper or other recycled papers, or even an incomplete deck of playing cards, anything that is uniform in color or pattern
- art materials to make a two-dimensional artwork
- scanner and printer or color copier
- scissors for paper
- glue stick
- laminate or clear tape
1. On blank paper, you need to lay out a series of uniform boxes in which your child will create her artwork. You can use a ruler and pencil, or make the layout using a graphic design program. The size of your boxes is also up to you–I’ve made games in every size from 2″ squares to 4″x6″ rectangles–unless you have something specific in mind for the identical backs of the matching game, such as an incomplete deck of playing cards.
2. Have your child create a unique piece of art for each blank box. Younger children can play the matching game more easily if each artwork is very different, but older children might appreciate similar works that require more discernment when figuring out a match.
3. When your child is finished, you have exactly half of the pieces for your matching game. Using a scanner and printer, or a color copier, make an exact copy of all of your child’s game pieces. Depending on the medium my children have used, I sometimes make two copies and use the original art for a different purpose–I find that crayon and tempera paint don’t look identical to the original when color copied, for instance.
4. Cut out all your matching game art. You should have two copies of each piece of art.
5. If you’re using playing cards for backings, you can spray mount the art to the fronts of the cards. If you’re using a paper-weight material for a backing, however, you’ll likely want to laminate your pieces for sturdiness. To do this, first lightly glue your matching game art pieces to the backside of your paper, then cut out. The glue will hold the paper together well enough to be laminated, either in a heat-set laminator or by covering each piece with clear tape or Mod Podge.
You can store your matching game in a decorated envelope, or turn it into a file folder playset.