Matching games and memory games, such as this nature memory match game, can help kids and adults build and improve their memory, increase focus, and develop better recognition skills. Remember where the natural items are, and match them up to win this homemade nature memory game! (First published March 18, 2016; this post is regularly updated and republished to improve the content.)
This DIY nature memory game is a great way for kids and adults to exercise the brain and boost memory skills. Remember where the natural items are, and pair them up to win this nature memory match game!
Using items and natural treasures found in your backyard or outdoors in nature adds a sensory component to the game of memory that can help improve its brain-building power. Scroll down to learn how to set up and play this natural twist on the game of memory. You might also enjoy this list of board games for kids.
How to Make Memory Matching Games with FREE Natural Materials
Matching games like nature memory match games are fun for children and adults. So, if you want to make the classic game of memory more interesting, use natural items and treasures collected in nature to create your own free memory games. Educational matching games like this nature memory game can be played at home, in the classroom, or in a retirement home. Remember what’s in each box, and match the natural objects to win!
Benefits of Playing Nature Matching Games
Here’s a DIY Nature memory game, a memory match game, and sensory activity in one fun game for kids or adults. Using natural materials, such as items found in nature, adds a sensory component to the game of memory that increases its brain-building power.
Homemade matching games like this memory match game are perfect for homeschool and Waldorf education and are also a fun Montessori-inspired sensorial activity for kids or adults.
Games made to challenge memory skills, like memory matching games, are essential for the proper development and the continued health of the brain into late adulthood. Increased memory capacity can improve social skills and increase self-awareness and self-confidence.
Free memory games like this nature memory match game can be played at home and in schools. Playing memory games can also help children and adults develop focus, memory, and recognition skills. And you can also use this DIY memory match game to teach math and science concepts, depending on how it’s played and what natural items are used.
Memory Match Game Supplies
- 6-12 Paper Mache Boxes (or more if you want to increase the challenge) Or, use muffin tins with cupcake liners on top to hide the items inside from view.)
- Six matching pairs of natural items (See below for more information)
Related: Sorting and Classifying Rocks
DIY Memory Matching Games and Variations
You can use many different pairs of items to play memory games. And there are also several different ways to play nature memory matching games. Below are just a few ideas to get you started!
- Use natural items in general or use different types of flowers, leaves, rocks, etc. (Science/Nature Study)
- Use seasonal items or items found in a specific place such as the beach, forest, desert, etc. (Science/Nature Study)
- Encourage players to touch and explore the items found in each box. (Sensory Activity)
- Invite players to describe the similarities and differences between the items during or after play. (Classification/Science)
- Use the same natural material in amounts from 1-6 in each box and have the child count the number of items to make a match. Example: 1 rock, two rocks, three rocks, etc. (Math)
- Use other small items to play this easy homemade memory match game. Some examples include:
- You can also use paper mache boxes for this scent memory match game.
How to Set Up Nature Matching Games
First, you must collect natural materials in your backyard or go on a nature hunt to find small natural items to put inside each box. You will need two of each item, a pair, to make a match.
You can also use any natural treasures you keep on your nature table or in your collection of natural materials for pretend play. But please do not use small items if your child is still mouthing objects or anything unsafe to taste or touch. When in doubt, leave it out.
Once you have collected a pair of each natural item, place one of each set into the 6-12 paper mache boxes, as shown in the photo below. And finally, place the lids or covers on the boxes and mix them up.
Related: Nature Sensory Bin Scavenger Hunt
How to Play Nature Memory Matching Games
Here’s a memory game (with natural materials) that can be played with one or two players. Following is directions for both memory match game versions.
Game of Memory Directions (with a Natural Twist)
- Place the memory match game boxes on the table into rows of boxes, as shown in the photographs. (Or, use a muffin tin with cupcake liners on top to cover the items in the tin.)
- The first (or only) player picks a box and opens it.
- Another box is selected to match the item found in the first box. Picking the box up to feel its weight or shake it is against the rules. A memory match game box can be picked up to explore the item inside only after opening the lid.
- If the items inside each box match, the player that found the match gets to keep the boxes. Place the boxes with the lids on the bottom to the side so children can explore each match. Allow children to take their time with this before moving on. This is where learning happens!
- If the boxes selected do not match, the lids are placed back onto the boxes and kept in the same place originally found.
- The idea is to try remembering the item in each box and where it is to make a match.
- If you are playing matching games with two players, watch and remember the uncovered item and where it is during the other player’s turn.
- When a match is made during gameplay, the player that makes the match gets to take another turn.
- The memory match game ends when all the nature items are matched or paired.
- The player with the most pairs of matched objects wins!
Related: 15 Open-Ended Toys for Pretend Play
DIY Nature Memory Games for Kids and Adults
This DIY nature memory match game is an educational matching game and sensory activity for kids. Matching games can help children and adults develop focus, memory, and recognition skills.
Like this nature memory match game, playing memory games can also boost brain development and help children develop the sensory system, improve social skills, increase self-awareness and self-confidence, and build memory skills.
You may also like outdoor activities for children or this list of feelings games for kids that can help with social-emotional development. Or, have a look at this list of self-regulation strategies for kids.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
If You Like Memory Games, You May Also Like
- Scented Cotton Ball Matching Game
- DIY Rainbow Peg Dolls for pretend play and matching games
- Nature Scavenger Hunt
- Popular Board Games for Family Game Night