Whether you call it Concentration or Memory, Matching Pairs or something else completely, playing a memory based matching game is one of the best first games to teach a young child, and this collection of 15 free, printable matching games for kids offers a great place to get started (see the complete list and download instructions at the bottom of this post).
What are the benefits of playing matching games with kids?
With a deck of matching pairs cards and just a few simple game rules you are set to help your child develop observational skills, visual discrimination, memory and concentration – to name just a few of the benefits of this great, first game.
A memory matching game is a also a wonderful way to teach children important game playing skills such turn taking, and through regular game play with older role models young children will also learn how to be a gracious winner…and loser!
Depending upon your choice of cards, memory matching games can also reinforce learning about a range of concepts such as colour recognition, letter names or sounds, counting, number recognition, alongside improved vocabulary and even reading skills. We have included details of all of our free, printable matching game sets below, many of which help to develop these important learning concepts.
We suggest starting play with children from the age of 3 years.
RELATED: 10 Kids Memory Games to help improve memory, concentration and thinking skills.
How to Play Concentration or Memory
Shuffle the cards well and spread them face down across the table.
Players take turns to turn over two cards, searching for a matching pair. If the cards selected are a match, the player keeps the matching pair and takes another turn. If they are not the same, the cards are turned back over in the same location and play moves to the next player.
Once all cards have been matched, the player with the most pairs wins the game.
15+ Free Printable Memory Matching Games for Kids
1. Cupcake Memory Matching Game: A fabulous challenge for developing visual discrimination skills, great for kindergarten age children.
2. Monster Shadows Matching Game: Another great challenge for visual discrimination skill development, match each of these cute monsters with their very individual shadow!
3. Opposites Memory Game: A fun way to revise learning about antonyms with preschool, kindergarten and first grade children.
4. Fruit Memory Matching Game: A fun tutti fruity fruit memory matching game with both pictures and words. Free to print and easy to play.
5. Garden Matching Memory Game Cards: Play with pictures or pictures and words – great for Earth Day, Spring, growth or gardening learning themes.
6. Alphabet Memory Matching Game: Choose from 5 fun game suggestions to get your preschooler or kindergartener playing with beginning letter sounds.
Just for fun: Try this Alphabet Matching Snack for a tasty treat!
7. Printable Feelings & Emotions Cards: Concentration/Memory is just one of eight game suggestions included with these printable emotions cards.
8. Emoji Emotions Matching Cards: Inspired by the super popular emoji craze, these emotions cards are great for inviting discussion about big emotions with young children.
9. Winter Animals Matching Pairs Game: These cute Winter animals make game time super sweet.
10. Yoga Poses Matching Game: For Concentration with a physical challenge, print two copies of our yoga poses cards for your game. Every time a player matches a pair they can perform the body shape challenge shown on the cards they have matched.
11. Star Wars Memory Game: May the Force be with you as you attempt to outplay your opponent with these cool Star Wars character game cards.
12. Halloween Matching Game: A not-so-spooky Halloween card deck!
13. Easter Matching Game: Explore all the colours of the rainbow while playing this fun Easter Matching Game with your toddler or preschooler.
14. Easter Egg Matching Cards: Learn to match patterns with these great Easter egg cards. Includes 4 game ideas.
RELATED: These Logical Thinking Games for Preschoolers are sure to get them thinking!
Printing Instructions for Matching Games
Click on the link for the game you wish to download and print. This will open a prompt for you to save the PDF to your computer. For best results, download directly to a computer, not a phone or tablet. Open the PDF and print the pages you require. When printing, select “Fit to printable area” (or similar) to ensure the page fits with your printer type and local paper size (these have been created at A4 size). I suggest printing onto card stock or matte photo paper. Most of the card sets include a backing sheet. Flip and then re-insert your printed pages into your printer to print onto the reverse side. Cut apart the printed cards and then laminate for durability.
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Please note: All Childhood 101 printables are for personal use only, you may not use any part of this content for commercial purposes-that includes selling the document, giving it away to promote your business or website, or printing the file to sell. You may not share, loan or redistribute these documents. Teachers may use multiple copies for students in their own classroom.