Pre-K Math: Matching Skills

Here are some ideas for hands-on matching skills. For storing the matching sets, I use clear video tape boxes. They can be purchased from Demco, if you can’t find them anywhere else. Each item in the boxes have a pair; in other words, there are no more than two objects that exactly match. Ask parents and grandparents to help supply materials for the boxes.


I use this book to introduce matching to my class. The kids enjoy it because it is interactive. The end pages have a matching game, and I have each child come up and point to two socks that match.

Matching Boxes


Collage buttons available from a school supply catalog

Barbie Shoes

Ribbon Scraps

Variety bag of ribbon for $1.00 at WalMart


Collect from families

Postage Stamps

Collect from families


Bought at Dollar Tree


Take candid photos of the children and print two copies of each

Fabric Scraps

These can be glued on paper and saved for portfolios

Scrap Book Paper/ Wallpaper

These have patterns, such as stripes, gingham, dots in different colors. You could also have children glue matching scraps to paper to save for portfolios.

Paint Sample Cards

These are free from the hardware store. More shades and tints can be added to make the activity more challenging. Another way to use these is to have children find a card that matches the same hue as objects in the classroom (such as a pale blue bookcase) or objects from nature (such as a leaf or rock).

More Matching Activities

play dough cutters

Play Dough Cutters

To make these play dough mats, dip a cookie cutter in a stamp pad and stamp it on white construction paper. I traced the outlines with a fine point Sharpie to make the lines darker. These mats can be laminated or inserted in clear page protectors and sealed with clear packing tape on the open end. Children cut out shapes from play dough with the cookie cutters, and match the play dough shapes to the shapes on the mat.

fossil matching

Fossil Matching

Use a self-hardening clay: I personally like Marblex Self-Hardening Clay, which is a natural air-dry clay. I get it at Hobby Lobby or a school supply catalog. Collect a set of objects and press each one into a piece of clay to make an impression. Let the clay dry completely and put the fossils in a container along with the objects. Children match the objects to the fossils. You can make these yourself or have the children make them. Some examples of objects to include: key, shell, lego, coin, button, leaf, marble, stick, rock, wooden cube, toy animals, Barbie shoe.

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