Did you try Shoe Match? That activity is a great cognitive development activity for as young as 6 months. Here are extensions of that activity to target cognitive development for toddlers ages one to three.
- Several pairs of matching socks in different textures, patterns, and colors
- Matching toys in similar colors such as two blue blocks, two red cars, two green balls, etc.
- Assortment of toys in a variety of colors
Activity 1: Sock Match
- Remove all other distractions and toys from the area. Mix up the pairs of socks and lay them out all over the ground.
- Pick up one sock to show to your child and ask them to find the match.
- Encourage them to find the sock that matches the exact color, texture, or pattern of the sock you are holding.
- When your child locates the correct sock, offer lots of praise and talk about why they match. Focus on the texture, pattern, or color of the sock pair.
- Repeat until all the socks have found their match.
Activity 2: Toy Match
- Remove all other distractions and toys from the area. Mix up the matching toys and lay them out all over the ground.
- Pick up one toy to show to your child and ask them to find the match. “Where is the other block? Can you find the block? What toy matches this one?”
- Encourage them to find the toy’s match.
- When your child locates the correct toy, offer lots of praise and compare the two toys. Talk with your child about the toys’ features- color, shape, type, etc.
- Repeat until all the toys have found their match.
Activity 3: Color Match
- Lay the toys all over the ground.
- Pick up one toy to show to your child and name the color. Ask your child to find something else that is the same color. “Can you find something else that is red? What else is red? What else looks just like this?”
- Encourage them to find something else that matches the toy’s color. If they bring toys or objects of other colors, simply name the color and show them the color you want them to find.
- When your child finds an object of the same color, offer lots of praise and compare the two objects. Focus on the color.
- Repeat until all the toys have found matching colors.
- Problem solving skills: Your child is developing problem solving skills as they figure out which objects match
- Comparing: Your child is comparing the different objects and being ask to notice the similarities and differences between them.
- Language development: Your child is being exposed to contextual vocabulary as you talk about the different colors, patterns, and textures of the objects they are trying to match.