Sunday, December 5, 2010

Homemade Games for Gifts

We have had so much fun playing our matching games I decided to make some for my nieces, nephews and godfamily. (I know, godfamily isn't really a word, but it should be. We are godparents to three of their children and they are godparents to Second Daughter, so we are a godfamily.) Once I got started, I realized what a great little gift they are - easy, inexpensive, quick, and easily made with what you probably already have at home.

What you need:
  • Something to cut for game pieces. I used card stock, but you could also use poster board or cardboard. You probably want something more durable than regular weight paper.
  • Something to cut your pieces. I used scissors, but a paper cutter would have been much easier.
  • Something with which to write, draw, paint, color, print, etc.
Each family is going to receive an alphabet matching game (matching capital letters to lowercase letters) and a counting game. The template for the alphabet game is here and below you'll find a template for the counting game. I could have just cut without printing squares, but I find my edges are a little straighter with the lines to guide me (not that I managed to be perfect, that's part of the appeal).
COUNTING Matching Game                                                            

Each number has a blank box to go with it. If your family is at all like mine, you have oodles of stickers just lying around. I found 20 stickers, 19 stickers, 18 stickers, etc., until I had cards to match all the numbers from 1 to 20. I did buy a few for my nephews because otherwise they would have been overwhelmed by flowers, hearts and butterflies.

I also printed out some blank pages I used to make a simpler matching game for Second Daughter. I put just one sticker on each card (with two identical ones, of course).

I made the third counting set a little differently. I wasn't sure I had enough stickers, so I decided to color dots for all the numbers. First Daughter and First Son saw me working on them and immediately wanted to help. I thought that would be wonderful! So our godfamily will be receiving a truly lovingly homemade gift from us. (Shhh, Janelle, don't tell!)

Then I started getting other ideas. If you scroll down on the counting template far enough, you'll see numbers matched with the words spelled out (1 and one). This game is for First Son and will be for school-time, not a Christmas present.

I laminated my cards after cutting them out (I love my laminator!) so they'd last a little longer, but it's not necessary.

I also made some bookmarks for First Son and First Daughter (but don't tell them because St. Nicholas left them in their stockings for his feast day).

For Second Daughter's matching game, I had some lovely stickers lying around, but if you're artistically talented, you could draw your own. Just copy them to make duplicates for the matching cards.

Once I got started, I came up with all sorts of other ideas for matching games:
  • Math, chemistry or physics facts - addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, matching constants with their names, elements and their symbols (so many options). I think these are best used as teaching aids, rather than Christmas presents.
  • Sight words - "cat" or "dog" matched with pictures of a cat or a dog.
  • Shapes - triangles, squares, hexagons, etc.
  • Faces - If you have digital pictures of family who live far away, print them out on cards for a matching game. You'll spend the whole time laughing and talking about far-away cousins. (If I have time before Christmas, I'm going to make three sets of these for our family, my brother's family and my sister's family. I think the kids would love them.)
  • Other games like Old Maid or Uno.
I think these could be a nice little gift from an older sibling, too. First Son is definitely able to make a game like this, though he wasn't really interested. A few more years and he would be more than able. You could also include "promise to play" vouchers or something so the younger one would be guaranteed some playtime with an older brother or sister. They may also make a nice addition to a gift for a preschool teacher or daycare provider.


    1. WHEW! My head is spinning. SO much learning wonderfulness. I have thought about doing this for gifts as well as nieces and nephews get older. Very good!

    2. Monica, I had a bit too much fun making these, though it might be nice to spread them out over a few months rather than all in one week. My hand started to ache from all the cutting. Though a paper cutter would have helped that.

    3. I have one very similar to this. LOVE it!!!!

    4. oooops. here's the link

    5. Oh, thank you for the link, Monica! I made a note for myself in case I have some Christmas money to spend in January.


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