15 Best Matching Games And Activities For Toddlers

Image: iStock


Introducing engaging matching games for toddlers to your tiny tots is crucial for improving their matching skills, which is further useful for developing your child’s ability to read and understand various subjects.

Stacking identical blocks, comparing similar toys, arranging books of the same color or size, and performing other similar tasks reflect your toddler’s ability to match things. Moreover, knowing how one object matches another object is practical knowledge they can acquire by observing their surroundings. Thus, make your toddler more curious and help them learn by playing some matching games given in this post.

Why Are Matching Games Important For Toddlers?

Matching games help improve a range of concepts and various cognitive and motor skills in toddlers.

  • With the help of matching games, children can learn to differentiate one object from another, which is an important skill for preschoolers.
  • Matching games also help improve language skills, concentration, social skills, hand-eye coordination, and memory skills.
  • These activities involve the usage of basic math skills, such as matching shapes, patterns while helping children learn how to recognize words and letters.

How To Teach Matching To A Preschooler?

  • Start by using practical examples from your day-to-day life. For example, you can show the child two identical socks, puzzles, or matching cards used for activities.
  • Show the child just one of each animal or food card. Help them identify the names of the different objects they see.
  • Take out 2 – 4 matching pairs of cards. Ask the child to match these cards that look alike. It is better to start with fewer cards and then increase the number gradually.
  • Practice this skill until they can correctly match cards.

15 Toddler Matching Games And Activities

1. Leaf matching game

You will need a few colorful leaves in sets of two for this color matching activity. Paste the individual leaves onto different sheets of paper and place them in front of your little one, flipped down. You can also join in this activity and take turns flipping the cards over one by one to find a match. The one who can find the most number of matches wins this memory game.

2. Matching sticks game

This simple yet perfect game keeps little ones occupied. In this matching activity, colored popsicle sticks may be used to form identical patterns. You can also use a printable template as a reference for stick’s shape and color.

3. Shape puzzles

Trace some basic shapes onto a piece of cardboard and again on a separate colored piece of paper. Cut out these pieces and mix them. Allow your child to pick one piece from the puzzle and find its corresponding piece from the lot. As they perform this activity, it can help them improve their observational skills and attention span.

4. Pom pom matching game

To play this memory game, open a bag of pom-poms and sit across your little one. Then take turns to find matches of pom-poms of the same size and shape. You can also make a line with masking tape to place the pom poms in a row.

5. Halloween matching game

To prepare for this interesting card game, cut out a few Halloween pictures and shapes in duplicates. Glue one set of duplicates onto white cardboard and keep the other set for the children. Let them match the loose set using the ones stuck to the cardboard as a reference.

6. Mitten matching activity

For this adorable game, you will need a few sheets of colored and patterned paper, small plastic clothespins, and a mitten template. Select bright and eye-catching colors and patterns of sheets and cut out a few paper mittens from them in sets of two. Now mix all the pieces up and hand them over to your little one to match. They can use the clothespins to hold the matched pair together.

7. Touch and match

For this activity, you will need a few cardboard pieces, different types of textured papers (wallpaper scraps, felt scraps, cotton pads, bubble wraps, etc.), and scissors. First, cut out cardboard pieces of your preferred size and the textured pieces. These pieces must be smaller than the cardboard pieces. Next, make memory cards with each of the textures. Spread the cards on the floor and let your children explore them freely. Later, let them match the cards having the same texture. This activity can help boost memory skills in children.

8. Jar lid letter matching

You would need some foam letter stickers and a few jar lids for this wonderful game. Peel and stick letters into the insides of the jar lids. You can do lower case and uppercase letters where your little one would have to find the corresponding pieces (if given an uppercase letter, they have to find the lower case of that corresponding letter and vice versa). It is better to keep the lids faced down while searching for the match they are looking for. This would also add an element of surprise.

9. Pattern matching

This is a fun game for toddlers, with great cognitive benefits. You will need some foam circles, permanent markers, and a pair of scissors. Draw some patterns on the circles and cut them in half. Place one half of the set out and the other half as a pile beside them from where they can search for the matches.

10. Clothespin color match

This is a cooperative game. Take out your collection of colorful clothespins, get some markers, and find any piece of cardboard or paper. Color some spots with markers corresponding to the color of the clothespins on the edge of the cardboard or the paper. You can customize the cardboard in any way you like. Let your child try and match the clothespin with the matching color mentioned on the board. This is the perfect game for you to discuss the concepts of primary and secondary colors.

11. Matching sensory activity

Bury a few objects in a box filled with rice, sand, or any other base of your choice. You can select objects like toys of various shapes and sizes but in sets of two. Keep one set beside the box as a reference to what they are searching for in the box. Now, let the child start hunting for toys identical to the one outside.

12. Touch and feel the bag

Take an opaque bag and place a few objects inside it (in pairs). Let your little one rustle through the bag and find the pairs by just feeling their shape and using their intuition.

13. Sticky partners

Use a set of stickers available in multiples for this colorful game. Take one of each kind and stick it to a cupboard door or wall. Let your child stick the matching stickers beside the ones you have placed. You can also invite your child’s friends and add 2-4 players for this game. It can be an interesting idea for a little playdate.

14. Matching sound jars

Fill some opaque jars with various items such as rice, cereals, beans, and candies. Mix them well and ask your child to shake them. They can use their memory skills to match the jars that produce identical sounds.

15. Pack away

You can conduct this simple game while sorting out your little one’s toys and belongings. Instead of throwing all the blocks together into the container in a haphazard manner, ask your child to help you sort all the identical blocks according to their colors and shapes to place them together.

Include these activities in your family game nights and play along with your little one. Matching games for toddlers will help you in having family time while teaching your child a few important skills without them even realizing it.

Infographic: How Else Can Toddlers Benefit From Matching Games

Matching games can aid learning in toddlers in a fun and exciting way. You can use your creativity while playing such games and help your little one achieve milestones faster. Check out this infographic to know what added benefits these games can have. Also, find some more game ideas.

more about matching games for toddlers [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Matching games such as shape puzzles and mitten matching activities improve observation, recognition, and mathematical skills.
  • Start small and increase the number of pieces as your child gains expertise.
  • You may use household items such as clothespins, jar lids, pom poms, or leaves for matching games.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.

Deepa Thomas

Deepa Rachel Thomas holds a master’s degree in English from the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. She has done a certification course in Child Development and worked as a mentor for young children at an NGO that focuses on helping children develop their language and soft skills. Deepa has experience editing academic content for research scholars, reviewing the work... more