Matching/Sorting Activities



This pack is a collection of 4 matching/sorting activities: Matching halves,animal habitats, young ones and their mothers and semantic groupings. There are a total of 100+ large and brightly illustrated pictures to make matching and sorting fun for your child.

Matching relates to the ability to group 2 items together according to a particular feature.

Sorting refers to the ability to group more than 1 item to a group according to an identifying feature.

Children begin the process of sorting items according to their features from when they are infants. As they explore their environments, they start to classify items according to their similarities and differences.
Children learn that things can be alike and different, and that some things can be related to others based on a number of different attributes.

Matching like items is a simpler skill, which requires a child to ‘match’ items according to a single feature that makes all matched items conform to this single attribute. For example, if a child is expected to sort according to colour, all a child needs to look at is which items (of whichever shape or form) conform to the target colour. Most children gravitate towards matching unprompted, however, there are children who this skill has to be taught

In order to effectively match items according to sameness, a child must first be able to notice common attributes in objects and be able to ‘see’ the likeness and differences in objects. Attributes are discernible qualities such as colour, size, shape, texture, etc. As matching requires cognition, it encourages thinking, logical reasoning and lays the foundation for later problem-solving skills. Matching activities can also help build language skills in children. Helping children express why like items were matched can provide children with the structure for their expressive language skills.

Sorting is a little more sophisticated than simply matching as a child needs to group items with one or more attributes together. This involves making different decisions about which items out of those being sorted share a similar number of attributes, which may not only relate to quality. Some of these attributes may relate to semantic properties. Semantics refer to the meaning of words. For example, in order for a child to sort/ pair a lamb with a sheep and a cub with a lion, the child must be able to recognise that the defining feature here that is more salient (obvious) more than the semantic property ‘animal’ (which all of these 4 items share) is that there is a relationship between each of the like items (lamb + sheep and cub + lion), which is that one is the young one of the other. This requires more reasoning, wider semantic knowledge and an ability to sort out more attributes in items and determining logically, those that suit for the context. Obviously, this involves higher order thinking/ cognitive skills.

The more a child is exposed to matching and sorting activities, the more their thinking (cognitive) and language skills are improved. The amount of time it takes a child to process through various items to match/sort them effectively also positively impacts on their attention skills.

Matching and sorting skills also set a great foundation for other higher level skills such as comparing and contrasting, and subsequent complex language skills.

Importance of Matching/Sorting Activities

  • Matching and sorting activities help children apply logical thinking to objects
  • As such, they improve the way their brain works (cognitive skills)
  • And because of the amount of time they take children to perform the activity, they help increase their attention skills
  • Reinforce fine-motor skills (when physical manipulables are used)

This pack is an excellent resource for any parent wishing to get started with language-building. It is especially handy for children who may be difficult to engage or those who are nonverbal.

Use this pack to improve focus and attention and to target thinking, understanding and expressive language skills!

A necessary tool in a speech therapist’s toolkit!

Find Out More / What We Offer