Teach Through Games: Digger’s Garden Match

Teach Through Games: Digger’s Garden Match

Age level: Preschool, Early Elementary

Description: In this colorful game, players take turns matching tiles by color and shape, and then add their points based on how many objects are on their matching tiles. One of my favorite things about this game is that it is visually interesting throughout play. 

Skills & Modifications: This simple game helps practice a variety of early learning skills without modifications. It’s easy to play, quick to set up, and entertaining. 

Color & Shape Recognition – I encourage learners to talk about what they’re matching as they play. For example, a player can say “I’m matching blue to blue” or “I can put the triangles by these triangles.”

The Starter Tile is placed at the beginning of the game, then players match by color or shape.

The Starter Tile is placed at the beginning of the game, then players match by color or shape.

Matching – The game requires each player to match items by color or by shape. For some learners, I’ll modify the game to have them play only by matching the number of objects pictured. For this modification, I do not use the Score Board.

Counting/Basic Addition – After each turn, the player count the items he/she has matched up, then moves their Doggie Bone the appropriate number number of spaces on the Score Board. For some learners, I remove the Score Board and we just play it as a matching game without defining a winner.

Strategy – Players who have mastered the skills described above can focus on trying to earn the most points possible with each move by either matching tiles in a spot where the highest number of items is shown or by matching tiles on multiple sides. With some learners, I provide a challenge, such as “Match a tile to 2 tiles that have already been placed.”

Pros: One of my favorite things about SimplyFun is that they have extensive resources for using their games with learner with special needs and specifically with autism. You can see that information for Digger’s Garden Match here.  I also love that this game is very simple to get started with and can be enjoyed by children who are just beginning to learn these skills as well as by children who are strong in these skill areas. 


As mentioned previously, one of my favorite things about this game is just how pretty it is. Many of my students find it visually interesting, which helps maintain motivation to play.

Cons: None.

Ideas for extending the lesson: Yet another thing I love about SimplyFun is that they include many options for extended play with the materials for each game. Click here, then click the “Extended play” tab to read instructions for FIVE other games you can play with the materials working on a variety of skills such as listening comprehension and patterns. It’s like getting six games for the price of one!

digger5Cost: $26.00 You should invest in this game if: you work with young learners, you are seeking games to play with siblings or peers who are at varying levels with the skills described above, or you have a learner who is highly motivated by visual skills and/or dogs.

ABLLS: B5, C38, C55, G13, K15, R8

VB-MAPP: VP-MTS 6, VP-MTS 8, Tact 11, Tact 14, Math 13

**Digger’s Garden Match was provided to me for free by the company SimplyFun to write about here. This did not influence my opinions on the game. The thoughts and ideas above are all my own.

Share Button