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Object-to-Object Matching for Montessori Toddlers

Toddlers are in sort of unique situation. They are starting to have the tools to classify the world around them through their language, exploration, and a strong need to for order. This creates the perfect opportunity to introduce matching work. 

Not all matching work is the same. For toddlers, it's best to start as concrete as possible -- with objects. Then, over time move to more abstract concepts. Typically, many Montessori toddlers move from object-to-object matching, to object-to-picture matching and eventually picture-to-picture matching. I'm hoping to dedicate a post to each in the next few days!


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Matching skills are important for a variety of reasons. They help to develop the visual discrimination skills necessary for reading. They also help instill order, concentration, moving from left to right and many other valuable skills. While toddlers don't need to be working on formal academics, working on these pre-reading skills is an awesome place to start. For us, object-to-object matching was introduced right around 15-months. 


Preparing object-to-object matching is pretty straightforward. It's simply gathering a set of similar objects to match up. Nora loves animals so we often use little animals in her work. However, it could be any two identical objects. 

Some examples: 
  • Matchbox cars 
  • Fruit {preferably real but play could work too}
  • Construction vehicles 
  • Household objects like kitchen tools
  • Seashells 

This basically works with anything that is a real tangible object that has a identical (or very similar) match. 



To start object-to-object matching, I start by lining up the first set of objects from left to right and naming them. Then, I move forward with the second set matching and naming as I pull them from the basket or tray where there are stored. However, Nora might not do the presentation exactly how I modeled (and that's completely alright!) Now, at 21-months-old, Nora is starting to line them up to match, but before she may not have. 


In fact, she may not have matched them at all. Sometimes its about exploring the animals, sometimes just making them all stand up, sometimes just emptying and refilling the tray/basket where they are kept. All of these forms of exploration are fine with me and there is no pressure on Nora to complete this in a specific way. 


Right now, Nora is looking for a little more of a challenge with object-to-object matching. So, I've started to introduce Mama/Baby {with the cows} matching. The objects are very similar and clearly go together. But, are no longer identical. She absolutely loves this right now! 

Stay tuned for more information on toddler matching! Next up is object-to-picture matching!


Have you introduced object-to-object matching to your toddler? What kinds of things do you match? 

Comments

Unknown said…
Thank you Nicole for sharing this. We are still exploring things without matching.My kids are still 19 months old.

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