This article is part of the Adapting Board Games for Neurodivergent and Disabled Kids series. Find the main page for this series here.
Matching games are standard social games for beginners. They are also known as memory games.
What’s fun about matching games is you can find just about any theme you are working on or related to any character the child favors. They are typically low-cost games or available as PDF downloads on many educational sites for free. You can also create your own version.
Matching Game Challenges for Neurodivergent and Disabled Kids
- Too many pieces make it challenging to keep track
- Manipulating loose pieces
Skill-Building with Matching Games
Matching games build:
- Visual tracking
- Visual memory
- Visual discrimination
- Short-term memory
- Attention to detail
Suggestions for Adapting Matching Games
Create a board. Introduce this game using a master board as a base. Photocopy the cards to create the board. Using a board instead of individual cards makes it more manageable for kids who need support with fine motor activities.
Reduce the number of cards by creating strip boards. Break down the board into strips.
Work up to using the full board. To play the next level of the matching game, work up to using the entire board created in the first step above.
Use the cards beyond matching. Any game with many cards lends itself to multiple uses beyond the game instructions.
Here’s how I extended this particular game:
- Sort game cards by color
- Name the characters
- Identify the first letter of the object or character’s name
- Count the vehicles
- Find the object or character that begins with a specific letter sound
- Sort by emotions