Thursday, December 12, 2019

Christmas Hunt: Toddler Matching Activity

Need something quick and easy for your toddler to do? Try this Christmas Hunt Matching activity!

Some days with toddlers are just plain long! One of the quickest ways to turn around a bad day (or help a long one move a little faster) is to go on a hunt.

Hunts are perfect for toddlers. They help kids get moving, using their brains, and learning new words too.

How can you make a hunt even more awesome? Make it Christmas themed! Anything with a Christmas theme just takes things up a notch. 

Putting together a Christmas Hunt is super easy. 

You don't need very many materials and hunts can be repeated again and again. 

For this activity we just used five things that I bet you already have:
  • Markers
  • White roll of paper
  • Scissors
  • White notecards (or cut up pieces of paper)
  • Painters tape 

Here's how I set up this simple Christmas Hunt!

1. I rolled out my paper and cut off a big piece. Then I flattened it out and drew eight of our favorite Christmas themed items that aren't too complicated to draw (star, tree, holly, train, snowman, candy cane, ornament, stocking). 

2. Next I drew the same eight pictures on notecards. 

3. After that, I taped up my large paper on the wall and I used the painters tape to stick the notecard pictures around our family room.

4. Now you're ready to hunt! Kids and adults look for the notecards and then take them to the big paper version and match the notecard with the correct picture on the big paper. We just stuck the notecard on top of the big picture.

Pro Tip: The goal of an activity like this is for your toddler or preschooler to feel successful. They will think this is fun if they do a good job pretty quickly into starting it. So when you are hiding the cards, put several in open view. Make sure that the majority of cards are pretty easy to find and then feel free to maybe add one or two hard ones in.

My kids were so excited about how awesome they were at this that we played again and again and again. 

Some kids need a hint or two when they are hunting, so try playing hot or cold.

Anytime they are close to one of the cards, tell them they are "hot." If they move far away from a card, tell them they are "cold." My toddler got a hit out of this! 

Not only are hunts great for practicing matching, but kids also work on visual discrimination and some simple listening skills.

What do matching games like this teach?

So many skills! Matching games help kids improve their concentration and they also help kids learn through repetition.

How We Montessori shares these two ways that matching games are beneficial. You can read the other reasons here

  • It brings about deep concentration which is calming and deeply satisfying for the child.
  • It provides an opportunity to master a skill and through repetition they can demonstrate a mastery of that skill.

You definitely don't have to be an artist to make this game. No one is judging your snowman that you draw (or your train), except you. I guarantee your kids will love this and you might get a moment to sit on the couch and relax while they play.

RELATED: Go here to see some of our other favorite hunts for toddlers.

When will you set up this Christmas hunt?

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