To continue our Homes and Houses themed play, I made Rosalie a little at home matching game*. We turned this into an I spy matching game using dyed rice – Rosalie really enjoys playing with rice, and her dyed rice is still going strong after two years of play!
How to play
Download and print the picture matching game.
Laminate the sheet to make it durable and reusable (optional).
Cut along the red lines to split the game page into pictures and words with pictures.
Hide the pictures in plain or dyed rice.
Line up the word cards beside the tray of rice.
Let your toddler hunt for the pictures in the rice, then match with the word cards.
Because Rosalie is only three, she was essentially matching just the pictures, but if your child is older you could cut off or blank out the pictures on the word cards so that they are matching the pictures with the words.
Observation – having to hunt for the cards is a fun observation game in itself, but the matching element requires observation of similarities and differences too.
Literacy – even if your child, like Rosalie, is too small to match the pictures with the words, there are still plenty of opportunities for playful literacy learning. At a basic level, simply seeing the words next to the pictures is a good way for toddlers to begin to recognise letters, sounds and words. We talked about the letter and sound that the word begins with, and I asked Rosalie if she recognised any of the letters in the words.
Understanding the world – having a theme allows you to talk about the pictures in context whilst playing the game, providing your toddler with a better understanding of the relationships between things. For example if Rosalie found the picture of a table, I could say “which room might we find a table in?” or “what things do we do at the table?” and that would lead me to suggest she find something else that we find in the kitchen, or something related to mealtimes.
Sensory exploration – dyed rice is a wonderful sensory experience for toddlers, from the different colours to the wonderful feeling of having rice running through your fingers.
Fine motor – scooping and tipping rice uses those small hand and finger muscles and helps with hand-eye coordination.
Download the free at home word/picture match printable* to play the game with your preschooler! Simply print the resource, laminate the page and cut along the lines. Have fun!
Rosalie – 37 months