Tennyson is beginning to demonstrate understanding of word sounds in association with objects. On occasionally, we will ask him to find and bring us a ball, block or other familiar object, and he will. (Not always, though, as he's only 13 months and just beginning to develop this skill). This emerging skill is the beginning of the concept of matching!
This particular matching activity is still a little advance for him currently. However, one of our goals for focused play is exposure. (One of my goals in creating this now is to have it one hand already fully prepared for a future use).
To Make (cards):
The cards are fairly simple to create and very cost effective! I started by taking photos of the three animal toys. I then created a collage template in PicMonkey and inserted each image into the template and changed the text. I had them printed as a 4x6 photo ($0.20 each!). I learned by trial and error that they really need a layer of cardstock on the back to increase durability. I then "laminated" the cards using clear contact paper.
I thought this method for creating flashcards was rather brilliant. I have more ideas for cards and will definitely be using this idea again.
Lay each animal* in front of child. Hold cards and ask child to find the animal picture. I would ask Tennyson, "(point to card) Look, it's an elephant! Can you find the elephant (point to toys)?" I then repeated with the other cards.
Variations: For an older child,
1) Lay each animal and the cards in front of child. Hold up an animal and ask child to point to the corresponding card.
2)Lay each animal and the cards in front of child. Ask child to match the animals to the cards by placing the animals on top of the cards. This can be done without assistance for independent playtime.
Tennyson mostly enjoys playing with the animals. Although he wasn't quite ready for matching, he did gain exposure to the concept and enjoyed playing with the new toys. We'll bring this back out again soon.
*I found the toy animals in the toy department at Wal-Mart or Dollar Tree. They're only $1 each!