- 24 1 7/8-inch square wooden tiles
- Coarse-grit sandpaper
- Decorative paper
- Utility knife
- Decoupage glue
- Craft punch
Games help kids develop cognitively and socially. Children learn the rules about a game and how to play with other players. They develop patience while playing games, because they learn to finish what they start, and they pick up skills like counting. When you run out of store-bought games or just want variety, you can easily make homemade games. One method is to create your own memory game from wooden tiles.
Smooth any rough edges of the wooden tiles with sandpaper to prevent splinters. The tiles should be available at hardware stores.
Cut 24 1 7/8-inch square pieces from your decorative paper. Use a ruler and a utility knife. Purchase paper from craft or art stores. This decorative paper will cover the outside of the tiles, so be sure to use only one pattern.
Apply decoupage glue to one side of the wooden tiles with a paintbrush. Only a thin coat is necessary.
Press the cut paper into place on the tiles. Smooth out any air bubbles before the glue sets. Allow it to dry for at least 20 minutes.
Punch out pairs of 12 different designs with your craft punch with different types of decorative paper. Craft punches are similar to hand-held paper hole punchers, but instead of just holes, they punch out different designs. Be sure to punch out matching pairs for all 24 tiles. These will be glued onto the other side of the tiles, and the children will match them as part of the game.
Brush on glue to the other side of the wooden tiles, and carefully set the designs in the middle. Paint over the entire paper design with the glue once it has set. Repeat for all 24 tiles. Let it dry for 20 minutes, and then add another coat of glue. Allow the tiles to dry for 24 hours before playing.
To play the memory game, start with all the tiles upside down, which means the decorative paper is facing up. One to four players take turns turning over only two tiles at a time. Once they see where the pairs of designs are, players need to pair up each design using their memory. The player who gets the most pairs wins.
Board games can also be constructed out of old cardboard boxes. Have your child design the path on the game and use dice and small toys to play.
Adult supervision is needed when using utility knives.