What is a child actually doing when matching colors, shapes or sizes? Building visual discrimination skills of course!
Being able to visually discriminate differences and similarities between objects is a key skill, and one that children will use later in math and reading and well…practically everything.
Think for example, the slight differences in a cursive ‘g’ and a cursive ‘q’. For a child who is just beginning to learn letters, this subtle difference can be very difficult.
But if a child has practiced keenly observing small variations in an image or color or shape, they will be better prepared to detect differences in letter shapes!
There are plenty of activities you can do at home to help your child develop visual discrimination skills. Yes, including matching games!
Start at a skill level that is challenging, but not too challenging, for your child:
- Sorting Cutlery: Set up a sorting activity with forks and spoons. As your child improves, try only spoons, but two different sizes or patterns. Next, if you have them, try different materials like metal and plastic! Other great sorting materials are different
- Sorting Dry Macaroni or Beans: Pick three different types of macaroni shapes or dry beans. Next combine two of each of the three types, so you’re left with 6 items to be sorted. Provide three small dishes or a separated tray for your child to sort!
- Find the differences: Grab the Sunday paper or a special book like this one with “Find the differences” drawings or photos. Sit side by side with your child, circling the small differences between one picture and the next.
- Matching Games! Start with simple matching games, there are plenty of card sets for sale at children’s stores, or make your own! Next, test your child’s ability to match by putting distance between two sets of cards, one set is across the room or in a different room. Finally, look for matching sets that are color inverted or where the images are at different angles for a matching challenge!
These are just a few examples of the many visual discrimination activities a child engages with everyday. Let us know your favorite activities @guidepostparent!
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