When Lauren M. S. Arditti, a literacy coach for Anne Arundel County Public Schools, realized that social distancing meant working from home without daycare, she knew she had to get creative to keep her toddler entertained. Using four things she was able to buy on Amazon, she put together a matching game that’s ideal for a few minutes of independent play. Hey, we’ll take any shred of time we can get.
What to buy:
- Velcro (tip: the bigger the velcro pieces, the easier they are for the toddler to handle)
- Post-It Note Easel Pad (easy to stick to walls, with no marks left behind)
- Jumbo Crayons
- Construction Paper or Index Cards
How to make the game:
- Choose six colors, and match your crayons to construction paper.
- Using those same colors, draw or shade in six equally spaced rectangles onto your easel paper. There should be one for each color.
- Above each rectangle, label the color.
- Cut a strip of velcro (at least an inch) and adhere it to the center of each easel-paper rectangle. Save the corresponding pieces of velcro (one side will be coarse, the other will be soft).
- Cut six colors of construction paper into rectangles, to correspond with the rectangles on your easel paper.
- Label the construction-paper rectangles with the name of the color. (Alternative option: Shade an index card if you do not have construction paper.)
- Use a corresponding strip of velcro and adhere it to the center of each construction paper rectangle or index card.
- Post the easel paper on a wall in your child’s play area, and have them match each rectangle to its corresponding color on the easel pad. When your child is done playing, stick the construction paper rectangles onto the easel paper for easy clean up.
Arditti suggests creating a matching game for anything that you would like your child to practice. Shapes, uppercase/lowercase letters, and numbers, for example. For older children, you could match family photos to names, clothing items, or even fill in missing words in sentences.