Preschool and kindergarten teachers use hands-on activities to help students learn how to match objects. The exercises help students learn to sort and organize information into similar groups, which prepares them for future math, spelling and science lessons. As a teacher, develop a few matching activities that have simple rules, and then practice those exercises for a week. After your class understands the basic concept of matching, introduce them to more complex sorting and matching games, such as juvenile playing cards, with over-sized pictures or numbers.
Bingo With Shapes and Colors
Create Bingo cards -- one for each student -- with an assortment of simple shapes in different colors. Before playing the game, get three-dimensional examples of each shape to show your class, such as a blue ball for a blue circle. Make the shapes out of cardboard and color them if you don't have 3-D examples to match the figures on the Bingo cards. Give each student a few checkers and ask them to put a checker on the shape you hold up and call out, such as "red square" or "purple triangle." You can instruct them to call out the word "Bingo" if they get four in a row or if they cover their entire playing card.
Adult and Baby Animal Matching Game
Before class, cut out an assortment of animals from old magazines or from animal templates you printed from online sites. Make sure you have a variety of animals, each with an adult version and a baby version of the animal, such as a dog and a puppy; a cow and a calf; or a horse and a colt. Place the animal pairs on several tables around the room and mix them up. Divide your class into groups of three or four students and ask them to match and sort the animals into pairs; for example, a mommy or a daddy animal with its baby. Give each group a few minutes to sort their cut-outs, and then instruct them to rotate to the next table to match a new set of animals.
Buttons and Bolts Sorting Activities
Collect an assortment of large buttons or purchase them from a craft store. Divide your class into pairs and give each group a handful of buttons. Instruct them to match their buttons according to your instructions. For example, you might ask the kids to match two buttons that are exactly alike -- in the same color and size -- or instruct them to sort all the black buttons or all the two-holed buttons. Make sure your students are old enough that they don't put the buttons in their mouths; you don't want anyone to swallow one.
Help your students learn to match by examining a group of items and asking them to determine which item doesn't belong. On your white board, show an image of four objects, such as ice cream cones, birthday presents or cartoon characters and ask your students to identify the item that differs from the group. Reinforce the idea that the other items in the group match. For example, one ice cream cone might be slightly larger than the others, or one of the wrapped birthday presents might be missing a bow. Repeat the exercise with other images or tangible items, such as with stuffed animals or toy cars.
- We Care -- A Preschool Curriculum for Children Ages 2-5; Bertie W. Kingore, Glenda M. Higbee
- Get Ready for Kindergarten; Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers
- Carnegie Mellon University: Children's School -- Using Games to Enrich Preschool and Kindergarten Programs
- SergiyN/iStock/Getty Images