I was obsessed with matching games as a kid. This giant lawn matching game is so fun for the backyard, picnics, even beach trips and it’s made with cork tiles so it’s totally reusable and easily transportable.
I made mine summer themed (duh!) and included printables for all the symbols so you can too. This outdoor game is great for all ages, we’ve played it with everyone from kids to grandparents! I hope your family enjoys this as much as we all did!
Here’s what you’ll need to make this game:
12×12″ Cork Tiles (Mine used 25 tiles and purchased them here, much more cost effective than purchasing at a local store. See note at bottom of post for other tile options.)
Spray Paint (I swear by Montana paint and all their great colors, found at an art supply store.)
Free Printable Stencils (This includes 12 symbols, one bonus turn tile and a shape for stenciling the back of the tiles. Print these on cardstock.)
1 Sheet 12×12″ Cardstock
Paper, Drop Cloth or Other Way To Protect Your Workspace
How To Make A Giant Matching Game
Cover your outdoor, well-ventilated workspace accordingly because this project involves a lot of spray paint. Spray all 25 tiles with white spray paint on one side. Let dry, then do the same to the other side of the tiles. While they’re drying, go ahead and cut out all of your stencils. To do this, cut around the edges of the black silhouettes with an x-acto knife and remove the shapes, leaving you with cardstock stencils. For each tile, align a stencil in the middle of the tile and tape it on, being sure to cover all of the exposed white space with tape. Spray the stencil with your color of choice. You’ll want to make two tiles of each symbol (except for the “One More Time” symbol).
If you want to create a pattern on the backs of the stencil, cut out the lemon-wedge shape on the last page of the printable and trace it several times, randomly, on your 12×12″ sheet of cardstock. Use an x-acto knife to cut out the shapes, giving you a stencil.
Lay the stencil over top each tile (the dimensions will match perfectly so there’s no need to tape here.) and carefully spray each shape a different color to get the look I got. Let dry. And seriously, really let these dry before you stack them up and use them. You want to make sure the stickiness is gone and the paint is completely set.
How To Play
To play, lay out your tiles in a 5 tile by 5 tile square. If someone flips over the “One More Time” tile, they get a bonus turn and then that tile is removed from play.
If you’re playing with younger (read: less patient) kids, you can choose to only make 16 tiles (using 8 symbols) for a smaller and easier game.
Pretty sure the six year old in me just died and went to heaven playing this game. Matching games though, for real, are extra great because people of all ages can play them. We had everyone from three year olds to twenty-somethings playing!
All Photos by Studio DIY
If you were a really awesome friend, this would be such an awesome gift to bring to a backyard BBQ! And if you didn’t want to get all hopped up on spray paint, you could easily have the kiddos hand paint some tiles for their own DIY versions.
Note: I made my game using cork tiles because I knew I wanted this to be a reusable game that would last summer after summer. If you are just looking for this to be a one time thing, or are in search of a less expensive option, you can print the symbols onto cardstock or trace them onto poster board/cardboard squares and paint them, just know that those materials won’t withstand being tossed around on the ground very long!