The human brain is an incredible pattern-matching machine.
- Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com
Matching objects or shapes is a skill that can help children in so many areas of their lives. The process of matching images and symbols is a precursor to matching combinations of letters to words, and this, of course, is a pre-reading skill. Matching is also useful for developing math skills, as understanding one-to-one correspondence teaches spatial reasoning and pattern recognition.
Fun for travel
If you have any big trips planned, make a stack of these ahead of time and bring them along for a surprise game that might keep your child entertained through a flight’s take-off or during a long road trip.
- Stickers: at least two of each kind
- Plain paper
- Maker, crayon, or pencil
Place the stickers in columns on two sides of the paper. Mix them up. Offer your child a pen or crayon and invite him to make lines that connect the matching images.
We always pick up stickers at Trader Joe’s — they’re perfect for this project!
If you don’t have any stickers, not to worry! This project can be done with some simple sketches. I’ve done this with simple shapes (circle, square, triangle, etc.) and a variety of expressions (happy, sad, surprised).
- For emergent readers: Make one column of stickers and then in the other column, write words that match the stickers.
- Rather than use columns, draw pairs of shapes or attach stickers in random spots around the piece of paper.
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