MATCHING AND STACKING - For younger kids, Matching is a great activity to build vocabulary, speech, color recognition, and even fine motor skills as they grasp the discs, and stack up the pairs they make. To explore the concepts in each set of Match Stacks, kids can start with simply identifying the various objects and colors, and then adults can guide the children by asking them to find and match specific objects.
MEMORY - Once a child can easily identify the objects, they’re probably ready to play the memory game. To start the game, flip all of the discs upside down so the object is facing down, mix them up, and arrange them in a grid. Once you’re all set, the first player will flip over two discs. If a match is made, then that player keeps them and gets to go again. If a match is not made, then those two discs are flipped back upside down, and it goes to the next player for a turn. The object of the game is to remember where the various objects are located so that you can make as many matches as possible when your turn rolls around. The game is over when all the matches are found and (if you’re feeling competitive) the player with the most discs in their pile wins!
Depending on the age and development of the children playing, less than a full set can be used, and any of our Match Stacks sets can be combined to increase difficulty.
In addition to the basic uses of matching and memory, there are a number of creative activities that teachers and parents have told us about, and some we discovered ourselves through play with our kids. Here are a couple of the activities that we really like...
One activity we love is a guessing game played with 2 or more kids, where each child chooses a disc and doesn't reveal it to the other kids. They then go around asking each other questions about their disc to try and identify the hidden discs. In a Pre-K classroom situation, or with a larger group, each child gets a disc and they have to ask each other questions to find who has their matching disc. At home, a parent and child can do the activity by simply taking turns choosing discs and and asking each other questions until they guess the right one. It's a simple activity, but it's engaging for young kids who love putting their ever expanding vocabulary to use. Also, it's a great activity for building speech and social skills in young children, especially in groups.
Another activity I really like is Match Stacks story telling. This is very open-ended, but it's a lot of fun for kids and parents (or teachers, caretakers, etc). Basically what we do with my son (3 1/2 year old), is lay out a bunch of pieces, and put together a story using the pieces. I'll just let him talk, and he'll pull pieces and incorporate them into the story. If he needs something to jog his imagination, I'll hand him a random piece and he'll figure out how to tie it into the story, or we'll both talk about it and come up with something together. Obviously this gets pretty silly, but it's fun and can be challenging for kids, and as a parent, it's hilarious hearing what these kids come up with! And again, a great social activity, building vocabulary, creativity, and exploring the concepts of the various themed sets.
AND, of course kids make up their own activities and play with the discs in their own unique way. We've heard of kids using them as coins (currency), cookies, incorporating them into construction toys, and countless other uses. Like most of our products, we consider them simply vehicles for children to explore their boundless imagination.