Playing matching games with preschoolers is a great way for them to have fun whilst learning. There are several matching games that you can enjoy playing with your child, most of which involve identifying and matching two identical items. Playing matching games like matching pairs, snap and matching flash cards have huge educational benefits. Not only can they help to improve your child's memory, but they can also be used as tools to learn numbers, colours and letters.
Bugs Matching Game
Instructions for making a matching pairs game using the free printable games on this page.
- Right click on the matching pairs game that you want to print out and save the image to your computer.
- Print out 2 copies of the game.
- Laminate both copies or stick them on to card. Cut out the 9 pictures on each copy.
Cute Animals Matching Game
Once you have printed out your free matching game, you can use it to play matching pairs, flash card pairs and snap. Here are instructions for playing these games.
Shuffle the cards and place them face down in rows.
- Take turns to flip over two cards. If they're a pair you get keep them. If not, place them face down again in the same position.
- Continue with the game until all of the pairs have been found. The winner is the player with the most pairs.
Tip: Make sure that the cards are set out in rows and with ample space between the cards. This will make it easier for young children to remember where each card is.
Colour / Shapes Matching Game
Flash Card Pairs (age 2-3 years)
- Separate the cards into two sets. Both sets should contain one of each picture.
- Spread one set of cards out with the pictures facing up.
- Shuffle the other set of cards and place in a pile facing down.
- Take turns to flip over the top card from the pile. The player then has to find the matching card as quickly as possible from the ones that are spread out.
Flash Card Pairs ( age 3+ )
- Follow steps 1-3 as above.
- Each player takes a card from the pile. Use a stopwatch - most mobile phones have one - to see who can find their picture in the fastest time. The player with the fastest time gets to keep the card. The other players put their cards aside.
- The winner is the player with the most cards.
Tip: You can also make this game more challenging by assigning more than one card at a time to each player. For instance, each player could have 3 cards that they have to find in the fastest time. You can also use a timer, and ask your child to find the cards before the buzzer goes off.
Alien Matching Game
- Shuffle the cards well and deal them out equally between players. Players keep their stack of cards face down.
- The youngest player starts first by taking the top card from their stack and placing it face up in the middle of the table.
- Moving clockwise, players then take turns to place their top card on the middle pile.
- This continues until a pair of cards is spotted by player. The player should then shout snap and put her hand quickly on the top of the cards. This player then gets to keep all of the cards on the pile.
- The winner is the player that ends up with all of the cards.
Tip: To increase the likelihood of a 'snap' happening, print out more than 2 copies of your preferred matching pairs game to play snap. You can also make the game more challenging by using two or more of the matching games. Older players will enjoy using more cards to play snap as this will make the game last a lot longer.
Use Your Imagination
Use your imagination to think up some of your own games to play with these free printable matching games. Or better still, let your child come up with different variations as there is nothing kids like better than doing things their own way!
Daisy Rowley is K1-5 teacher with 3 years experience and father of 2 kids, writer from domywriting.com. He loves his job because it gives his the opportunity to inspire others and share your thoughts with like-minded people.