Sunday, 6 April 2014

Using matching cards to enhance your child's interests

Finn has loved matching cards ever since he was a very young toddler. Quickly moving on from a set of four pairs to more than ten pairs, he couldn't seem to get enough!

His concentration really improved through working with the matching cards and our collection grew steadily as I made more sets to match his interests.

I only ever display two sets of cards at once and rotate them on a regular basis.
He has always loved animals, so I made sets of different species. Insects, birds, pets, farm animals... Even different types inside a species, such as dog breeds when he had a strong interest in dogs. I always named each animal or breed as he matched the cards and he now enjoys recognising dog breeds in the street.
I make the cards using images found on Google, which I then get print online. I am very strict in my image selection and have spent many hours looking for images with particular characteristics: The object I want must be alone, clearly visible in its entirety, set against a plain-ish background, and the picture must be of excellent quality. Believe it or not, I enjoy the challenge and I am always rewarded with matching cards of exceptional quality and appeal. 

Finn's most recent interest being music instruments, I made two sets of matching cards for him which he can use together or independently: Instruments on a white background and instruments being played by people. He has learnt the correct way of holding each instrument by looking at the pictures and the names of a lot of them. The next step for me is to make a game to match the sounds to the instruments!

As my matching cards shoe box was getting a bit too full recently, I had the idea of storing some of them in my continent boxes. This works great in our Africa box as our "People from Africa" and "Animals from Africa" contribute to giving Finn an idea of life on that continent. It also gives him something to "do" while exploring the boxes. He has really enjoyed matching his Schleich African animals to the pictures.

Yet another way in which we have used matching cards is for Finn to be exposed to a large vocabulary in his three languages. I always say the words in French, his dad in English, and his au pair/babysitters in German. This has been an efficient and playful approach to languages for us so far.

Finn enjoying a game of matching model frogs to their corresponding pictures.

Does your child enjoy matching cards? Do you make yours or buy them? 


  1. Elsa! These are all gorgeous! I can't believe you've made them all - you must have a nice printer. I really like the instrument set, and the African animals and people sets. Elise hasn't started matching cards yet, although I think she's ready. I have a few sets that I made from postcards back when I was teaching. I also like the way you've made cards to support Finn's interests - I'm sure he soaks it all up!

    1. I didn't print them on my home printer, I ordered prints online on photo paper! I usually wait for promotions and do a big order to get a discount. But the quality of the cards really does come from the quality of the original photographs. The more pixels the better!


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