Make a Garden Memory Game

Enjoy hours of educational fun with your own garden-themed memory game.

Garden Memory

Pull out the scissors and the paint and create your own memory game – with a garden theme, of course. Choose your favorite leaves, trees, fruits and flowers and create a customized set of cards. This is a great project for kids to work on, and play with after. The cards are sturdy enough that they can even play it outside when the weather is nice.


You will need sheets of thick paper, like card stock, in green and white. You can use different shades of green for extra fun, or just use one to make it more challenging. You’ll also need scissors and glue and some twigs. To add the images to your memory cards you will either need a printer or your favorite art supplies. You can use pencils, markers, paint or even collage by cutting up old magazines.

Choosing a Shape

To create your trees you’ll need to choose a basic tree shape and cut that shape out to use as the stencil all your other trees will be based on. You can make this shape as simple or as complicated as you like. A simple triangle or even circle can be a simplified tree, or you can get more complex by adding a hint of leaves or branches. If you’re not sure how to draw a tree find an image you like online and use that.

Tracing Your Tree

Once you have created your stencil, trace it on both your green and white papers. You’ll need a white tree and a green tree for each memory card you create. This means that if you want 12 memory cards then you will need to trace it 12 times on the white paper and 12 more times on the green paper.

Cut Out Your Trees

Once you have all your shapes traced, carefully cut them out, following the lines as closely as possible. Small curves and angles can be difficult to cut with large scissors, so if you have a detailed tree you may want to try more delicate scissors or an xacto knife.

Add Images

Now that your tree shapes are all cut out, it’s time to add your images to the white memory cards. You can do this by drawing your images or printing out images and gluing them on. You can also cut images from magazines, catalogs or old books. You can use color images if you like, but if you’re doing this project with kids it’s lots of fun to use black and white images at this stage.

Add Color

If you decided to use black and white images, now is your chance to color them. Paint or color over the black and white base to finish your drawing or make a printed image more unique and personal.

Standard Memory

There are lots of different ways to create memory cards, but the most basic is by creating two cards that match exactly. Create two cards with images that are the same size, color and shape and match them up. You can create a theme for your memory deck, leaves or fruit work well, and base your cards on that theme. If you’re your theme is leaves, and you are creating a 12 card game, you will need 6 different types of leaves with each leaf appearing on 2 different cards.

Matching Plants

If you’re looking to make your game a little more challenging, and want to practice plant identification skills at the same time, you can match different cards that belong to the same plant. For example you can match a pear to its blossom, or a magnolia bloom with its leaf.

Reading Cards

Want to work on reading skills while playing? Create cards that match words to images. Write out the word “Cherries” and match it to an image of cherries, or place the word “daisy” with an image of the flower.

Gluing on the Trunks

Once you have decided on your version of memory and finished creating all your cards, you’ll need to glue the green and white cards together and add your tree trunk. You can use any kind of glue you like; white glue or even a glue stick will work. Place a bit of glue on one end of a stick and lay it on a green card, where you want to trunk to stick out. Cover the rest of the card with a thin layer of glue and press a white card down on top of it, with the image side up.

Completed Cards

Press the cards firmly together around the trunk and let the glue dry. You can use just about any stick for your trunks, but you can give your trees a little extra personality by looking for unique sticks. Try to find a stick with a fork in it to give the illusion of a tree with branches, or a stick with a bit of a bend for a tree with a knotted or twisted trunk.

Time to Play!

Now that your trees are done, it’s time to play. Lay out your cards face down and shuffle them before arranging them into a grid pattern. Flip over two cards. If they match remove the cards from the gaming area and award a point! If they don’t match then flip them back over and leave them in the same spot, but remember what is on them! You might need to know where one of those cards is in a later turn.

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