According to the child development experts at PBS Parents, preschoolers are beginning to build basic math abilities such as recognizing patterns and sorting objects based on classifications. Homemade matching games for children 3 to 5 years old can help them develop these skills and make progress in other areas such as critical thinking and problem solving.
Involving Your Child
Creating homemade matching games doesn't mean that you sit down and do all of the work by yourself while your child waits to play the new game. Involve your little one in the process with you. For example, if you are making a number matching flash card game, have your preschooler help you to cut out cards, draw pictures or trace numbers. Involving him in the process of hand-making the games will help to get him excited and interested in playing the game later on and give him a sense of pride in creation.
Different homemade matching games will require different materials. That said, the primary consideration to keep in mind when making games for your 3 to 5 year old is her safety. Only use non-toxic materials that feature the Art and Creative Materials Institute safety seal of approval and are age-graded for your child. Additionally, keep a watchful eye for possible choking hazards. For example, it may seem like a creative idea to have your child match different colors of marbles, but these small objects pose a safety risk for your preschooler.
Literacy Matching Games
The national early childhood development organization Zero to Three notes that children start building language and literacy skills early on. This occurs through a variety of means, including interactive processes. Create a literacy matching game with your preschooler to help with concepts such as early phonological -- or sound -- and alphabet awareness. Make a sound matching game that helps your child to connect sounds, letters and words. For example, make a deck of animal cards that feature pictures of different creatures, such as an ant, bird and cat, for A, B and C. Have your child draw the pictures or cut them from magazines and glue them to index cards. Hold up the cards one at a time and ask your child to name the animal. Then ask her to name the beginning sound and letter. Another option is to choose three or four letters and make half a dozen cards for each letter. Have your child sort and match them by first letter sound.
Chances are, according to the experts at PBS Parents, your preschooler can count up to 10. Help her to hone her counting skills with few number matching games that you make at home. An easy option is to make two decks of cards -- one with numerals on the front and the other with corresponding numbers of objects. For example, one triangle goes with the numeral 1, two circles goes with 2 and so on. For an alternative matching game, keep the numeral cards out and pair them with real objects. For example, place three toy cars on the numeral 3 card.