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9 Printable and DIY Matching Games for Kids

Michele Meleen
therapist works with a young boy

Matching games for kids are easy to play and create. Children from toddler age through elementary grades can have fun playing matching games when you pair their educational level with the right type of matching game.

Printable Matching Games for Kids

Whether you want a matching game for a specific class like printable kindergarten activities or free printable kids activities you can use at home, there's a matching game for you. Click on the image of the printable PDF matching game you want to play then download and print. Use the troubleshooting guide if you have any problems using the free games.

Find It First Matching Board Game

Kids ages five to eight will have the most fun playing the Find It First matching board game. The game includes two game boards filled with silhouettes of different animals from the zoo to the farm. Players will flip over game cards with instructions to find a certain number of a specific animal on the game boards.

Find It First Matching Board Game

Numbers Triple Match Memory Game

Numbers Triple Match is a simple number matching game for kids of any age. It's played like any standard game of Concentration or Memory with face-down cards in rows. Players have to find three matching cards to win those cards, one with the number on it, one with the number's name on it, and one with the correct number of counters on it. You can make the game easier for toddlers and little kids by taking out the number word cards.

Numbers Triple Match Game

Rhyme Puzzle Matching Game

Teach rhyming words with a fun rhyming puzzle matching game made for kids in kindergarten and first grade. The game includes six rhyming pairs on 12 puzzle pieces. Players will need to find the two images whose names rhyme. If they are correct, the puzzle pieces will fit together perfectly. You can simply spread them out and take turns guessing at a rhyme or play Go Fish using the puzzle pieces as cards.

Rhyme Puzzle Matching Game

Animal Memory Match Game

Kids as young as three years old can play this fun farm animal matching game. The standard memory matching game features five farm animal mothers and five farm animal babies players will need to match up.

Animal Memory Match Game

Monster Memory Match Game

Celebrate creepy monsters or supplement Halloween activities with a silly Monster Memory Match game. Players ages five and up will have to match up 12 different creepy characters with their twins.

Monster Memory Match Game

Simile Matching Game

Elementary students in grades one and up can use simile matching cards in an education memory matching game. Younger players can use the simple simile cards while older players can use the simile sentence cards to complete the simile phrases.

Simile Matching Game

Easy DIY Matching Games

You can easily create matching games for school or home using found objects or craft supplies. Try to keep your matching game focused by choosing a single topic or category for the matched items. For toddlers and preschoolers topics like shapes, colors, or letters are great. For older kids you can get more creative using money, household tools, and even foods to help illustrate bigger concepts.

Find the Shape Matching Game

Use free printable shapes for toddlers to create an active matching game for kids of all ages. The more complex the shapes, the more difficult the game. You'll need a bowl and a timer. Limit the game space to one room for little kids and open it up to multiple rooms for older kids. You'll need at least two players and can have multiple kids play at the same time.

  1. Print and cut out the shapes you plan to use for the game. You can also use shape blocks or puzzle pieces if you don't want to print paper shapes.
  2. Put all the shapes in a bowl.
  3. Start your timer and have one child reach in the bowl to pull out a shape.
  4. The child has one minute to find something in the room that is the same shape as the one they pulled from the bowl and either bring it to you or point it out.
  5. The goal is to see how fast the child can find something that matches each shape.

Do What the Cup Says Matching Game

Think of this game as a version of the classic shell game from carnivals. Players of any age will need remember a sequence of movements, then match those movements by performing them for the group. You'll need some colored plastic drink cups, tape or glue, and magazine images or clip art to create the game.

  1. Find a variety of images showing different actions such as running, dancing, raising a hand, or laughing.
  2. Tape or glue each image to the bottom of the inside of a cup.
  3. Place all the cups upside down on a flat surface in a grid pattern.
  4. Choose one player to start and go in a clockwise direction.
  5. Player One flips over a specific number of cups, then stands up and acts out (without looking in the cups again) the correct actions in the correct sequence.
    • For younger kids, designate their number of cups as two or three.
    • For older kids, designate their number of cups as four, five, or six.
  6. If the player does the correct actions in the correct sequence, she gets a point.
  7. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Match My Collection Game

Older kids who have sharper memories can play the Match My Collection game. You'll need a timer, a plate, and a dish towel along with found items that come in multiples. Examples of found items that come in multiples include spoons, tissues, socks, or shoes. You can play this game with two or more players and choose themes like Christmas or "morning routine."

  1. One player, The Collector, fills their plate with a collection of found items from around the play area. The other players sit in a waiting area separate from the play area.
    • All found items placed on the plate must have matching items left available in the play area.
  2. The Collector uncovers their plate and sets the timer for one minute. All other players have this time to memorize what's on the plate.
  3. When time is up, everyone except The Collector has to fill their plate with the same items The Collector found.
  4. Players each get one point per correct item and lose one point for incorrect items in their collection.
  5. Each player takes a turn as The Collector.
  6. Add up all the points once everyone has been The Collector. The player with the most points wins.
Christmas Dinner Fun Table Setting

Matching Game Hacks for Parents and Teachers

If you already own matching games, a standard deck of cards, or flashcards, you can easily adapt them into matching games for any child.

Deal Half a Match

For toddlers and kids who have trouble with standard memory matching games, you can modify game play by only placing one half of each match in your upside-down grid. Put the other half of each match in a pile and take turns drawing the cards. On a turn, each player flips over one card from the grid then checks to see if any cards in their hand are a match.

Modify the Number of Matches

While memory matching games for kids often come with a ton of cards, you can modify the number of matches you actually play with. For younger kids, pull out around ten or fewer matches to play with and make the game easier. For older kids you can combine two or more memory matching games to make game play longer and more challenging.

Ditch the Grid

You can make any standard memory matching game more difficult simply by arranging the cards in any shape other than a standard square grid. Try placing the cards in concentric circles or offset rows to change things up a bit. You can even scatter the cards for the highest level of difficulty.

girl and brother lying on floor

Online Matching Games for Kids

You can also find lots of memory matching games online for different age groups. Kids online game sites like PBS Kids, Disney Junior, Nickelodeon, and ABCYa feature matching games with popular characters. Toddler color learning games like Oliver World: Colorful Bubbles or Little People Shapes and Colors ask kids to match a spoken word with an image of that word. Older kids can explore safe online games at school like Up Beat where you have to match the correct keyboard key to the falling color to make music.

Game, Set, Match!

Creative matching games for kids open up a sense of wonder and help kids practice memory, logic, and attention skills. You can use board games, online games, card games, and original games to teach kids about almost any subject.

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9 Printable and DIY Matching Games for Kids