Transform photo cards into game for toddlers


By Donna Erickson

Signal Contributing Writer

Turn holiday photo cards into a matching game for toddlers and preschoolers. They’ll enjoy playtime trying to pair up the faces and settings in your colorful pictures that you cut in half and mount on boxes.

This mix-and-match game is a creative way to help kids become familiar with important people in their lives and where they live.

Plus, since they are matching the two parts of a photo card, they’ll be developing the important cognitive skill of observing details as they try to figure out how the two parts relate.

Exploring why they go together is important in developing basic skills for future reading when they’ll be matching alphabet letters to sounds. 

Before you begin making the game, go through your holiday photo greetings and choose cards you can cut in half with an individual or several people on each side.

Note f you prefer not to cut the original card, make a photocopy to use for the game.

You’ll also want to start collecting empty single-portion cereal boxes or other cardboard boxes of a similar size before they hit the recycle bin.

Here’s what you’ll need for six sets of pairs:

12 small, empty rectangular single-portion cereal boxes or similar size boxes

6 holiday photo cards 

paint or adhesive-backed paper


household glue or spray craft glue

empty grapefruit or orange net bag for storage (optional)

Here’s the fun:

Paint all of the boxes or cover with adhesive-backed paper.

For each photo, trim off holiday greetings, then cut in two parts to fit the top of two boxes. Glue in place.

To play, mix up the boxes and start matching pairs. You might say the names of the people or locations to your child as you go, as well as how they are related. Share a story or two about them.

When done, keep box pieces in an empty net bag. If you weave a string through the tops, you can hang them on a hook for easy storage between play. 

Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit and link to the Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.” 

© 2020 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Synd.

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS