Sunday, September 21, 2014

DIY Gift Idea: Family Memory Game

I managed to knock a couple big crafty to-dos off my list this past weekend, one of which was a gift for Claire's upcoming third birthday. I made the same thing for our nephew, who turned three a few months ago, and wanted to share a little tutorial for this super-cute, personal gift that will be treasured for years to come.

Family Memory Game
This is a basic matching game, like the versions you can buy in stores with animals or cartoon characters or whatever on it. Kids from age 2 or 2 1/2 can learn to pick up two face-down cards, see if it's a match, and if not, remember where they are to try to get a match on subsequent turns. This DIY game uses photos of family members, keeping the faces of far-flung relatives fresh for kids and helping them learn to read the names of loved ones.

I made mine with 12 family members, for a 24-piece game. You could do more or less, depending on the number of relatives (and pets, close friends, etc.) you want to include.

Photos of family members (cropped to 3x4, two on a 4x6 photo)
3 1/2 x 4 1/2 cards (wood or chipboard)
scrapbook paper with a small, regular pattern
acrylic paint and brush
Mod Podge and sponge brush
corner rounder (optional)

Step 1: Editing the Photos
Find a good picture of each family member that can be cropped fairly close around his or her face and not have other people in the frame. Crop each to 3 x 4, two on a 4 x 6 photo for easy and cheap printing. Including the person's name is nice, I think, since the names of family members are often among the first words kids learn to spell, read, and write. Once you have the template set up, editing each person's photo goes pretty quickly.

Step 2: Prepping the Cards
I had planned on using cardstock and laminating them, but decided such a thin card would be hard for tiny hands to pick up. Chipboard would have worked well, but I ended up finding these 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 wood cards at Michael's that are the perfect size, with nicely rounded corners. They come in packs of four for $3.99 each, making the project a little more expensive than I intended (around $30 total) but they are nice and substantial.

I painted the sides that would form the background for the photos white, for a nice consistent background.

While that side is drying, cut the scrapbook paper to 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 pieces. I used a corner rounder on them at this point, since the wood cards were rounded.  When the painted side is dry, Mod Podge the scrapbook paper to the other side.
Step 3: Prepping the Photos
While the Mod Podge is drying, separate the two matches of each person. Round the corners, if that suits the shape of your cards.

Adhere photos to the painted side. You could use glue/Mod Podge, but I ran them through the Xyron sticker-maker to add permanent adhesive, then Mod Podged over it for a nice sheen. (I skipped that last bit with Claire's, and they still look lovely :)

Step 4: The Packaging
Find a nice box that will hold all the cards. Scan a couple of the cards so the "cover" of the box can show some real game pieces. Type up the title and directions, and use some of the leftover scrapbook paper from the opposite side of the cards for a coordinating box.  

I know our nephew and his parents are enjoying their game, and I can't wait for Claire to open hers in a month or so, so we can play our own game of "Family Memory" too.


EMU said...

This is too cute! Can I pay you to make some for us? ;)

Rachel Moss said...

What a fabulous idea!


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