By Sydney Garrett
To bolster their county’s kindergarten reading initiative while promoting agricultural awareness, DeKalb County (Ill.) Farm Bureau created a farm memory game similar to the card game “Concentration.” Their spin on the game is known as the “Farm Matching Game.”
Like the game “Concentration,” all cards are placed facedown, and the first player begins by flipping over two cards at a time in hopes of finding a pair. If a matching pair is found, the player will claim that set of cards. If the two cards are not a pair, they will be returned to the facedown position, and the game will advance to the next player. This continues until all cards are claimed and the player with the most pairs wins.
DeKalb County partnered with farmers and early childhood experts to create the game, which has 30 pairs of cards. The cards have photos and text portraying farm crops, animals, machinery and buildings. Topics that may be unknown to youth, such as grain bins or ag aircraft, are included in the game.
photo credit: DeKalb County Farm Bureau
Each game included 30 pairs of cards with photos and text portraying farm crops, animals, machinery and buildings.
Each spring, the game is included in toolkits given to 1,000-1,500 families during kindergarten registration. DeKalb County Farm Bureau reports that the game is not only impactful on kindergarten-age players, but also to players of any age engaging in the game. It promotes conversations and invites repetition, thereby solidifying and expanding agricultural learning.
The project started in November 2018 and was first distributed to families in spring 2020. In spring 2022, 1,200 families received a farm matching game, bringing the total number of families in the county that have received the game to 3,860. As of spring 2023, nearly 5,000 families have received the game.
The project is expected to continue as enthusiasm from the county Community Foundation, recipient families, and educators remains high. DeKalb County Farm Bureau staff and volunteers work hard to secure donations and grants to maintain the project and extend a sincere thank you to their donors.
County Activities of Excellence
The Farm Matching Game earned DeKalb County Farm Bureau an American Farm Bureau Federation 2023 County Activities of Excellence Award.
Applications are now open for the 2024 County Activities of Excellence. Up to 24 counties will display their winning activities at the 2024 American Farm Bureau Convention in Salt Lake City in January. County award winners receive up to four free registrations to the Annual Convention (cost of travel and housing not included) and a $2,250 stipend to apply toward the cost of travel and exhibition.