Thursday, February 26, 2015

TBT: Large Group Toy Matching Game

For today's Throw Back Thursday post, I wanted to show you how I took the Toy Matching Game I shared a while back to the next level, and made it possible to use it for group play. Here's the original set-up:
A single sheet of paper, and a few toys. This is perfect for one child to play with, but not so great when you've got a half a dozen kids at your house for a play date. So, how do you make this work for a larger group? 
 We had children ages 2-10 coming to play, so I wanted this to be fun for as many of them as possible. The night before everyone came, I went through the kids' toy boxes and picked out all the toys I could find that would be fairly simple to trace, while still presenting a challenge. I especially tried to find pairs of things that were of similar shape, but not identical. For example, a toy hammer with a long skinny handle and one with a short fat handle, or a five pointed star and a six pointed star, etc.
Once I gathered the toys, I spread a sheet of paper (I used the back side of some leftover Christmas wrapping paper, but craft paper would work great too) across my coffee table and used painters tape to attach it all the way around. Then I laid out all the toys and traced them onto the paper.
When our friends started arriving this is what they found waiting for them:
I didn't give any instruction, just let them do with it as they pleased. This worked great as a way to keep kids busy while we waited for everyone to get here. It was fun to watch the kids work on figuring out where everything went. There was enough room that 4-6 kids could each work independently in their own little area, but most of them chose to work together in small teams or groups. 
So what if you don't have a large surface that would work for this? Or what if you're going to have more kids than will fit around a single table?
One other idea I toyed with when planning this activity was to make a bunch of individual papers so that each kid had their own to work on (like individual bingo cards). I think this would have worked out okay, but I think it would have kept the kids from joining forces to figure out the puzzle together. If that's the best you can do in your situation I'm sure the kiddos will still have fun. 

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