Matching games fosters mathematical thinking. When whānau play matching games with tamariki, important maths skills are explored such as sorting, grouping and classifying. Reading skills and science concepts are also supported and vocabulary increases.

Why do it?

  • Matching things that are the same is a thinking skill which helps a child learn skills they will use later on in maths, reading and science.
  • Your child is likely to be noticing a lot more details by now and this will help them learn to see the differences and similarities between things.
  • Matching more than two things with a common characteristic is called ‘sorting’. Two examples are sorting cutlery into knives, forks and spoons or sorting blocks into red, green, and blue blocks.
  • Grouping things that are alike in some way is called ‘classifying’. Two examples of classifying are shopping that belongs in the kitchen and shopping that belongs in the bathroom.

How to do it

  • Collect pairs of things on walks (pebbles, leaves, sticks, shells and so on) and bring them back for matching. You choose one of a pair and ask ‘Where’s another one like this one?’
  • Sometimes children have their own ideas about matching. Accept what they offer and ask ‘what’s the same about this one?’ Remember it’s not a test but an exploration activity.
  • Use words like ‘same’ and ‘different’ to talk about colour, shape, size or texture.
  • Play sorting with cutlery (shape), pegs (colour) and shopping (size, or where it is stored in the house).
  • Classify laundry, for example ‘That’s mine, baby’s, mum’s or dad’s’.