We Make a Great Pair!

Teaching toddlers how to match items is an important part of developing early math skills because it helps children identify and describe relationships between objects.  Matching activities also encourage critical thinking, logic, visual discernment, and short-term memory.  Today’s activity is cost-free, requires very little preparation & clean-up and is easy to differentiate (make less or more challenging based on your baby’s abilities).


Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Clothing

Activity Description: Sock Matching: Get a basket of interesting and easily distinguished socks (all shapes and sizes welcome) – a pile on the floor can work just as well.  Pick a sock and model how to find the matching sock.  Then pick another sock and encourage your baby to find its match.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Cognitive

Specific Skill: Matching two of the same item

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 21 months + 3 weeks

1. For our warm up we sang some songs and we read the book, A Pair of Socks, by Stuart J. Murphy.

a pair of socks


2. I chose a sock and modelled how to find it in the pile by comparing it to other socks.  (We used socks that were easy to distinguish)

3. Next it was their turn to give it a try. I held up a sock and asked them to find the match.



4.  This was way to simple for them so it was necessary to differentiate the task.  To make it more challenging, I decided to do a few  things:

  • I used their socks (smaller and less distinguishable)
  • I used pairs of socks that had similarities (the same pattern but in a different colour or the same colour but in different sizes)
  • I added a couple of socks that didn’t have a pair

 (These changes provided the right amount of challenge for them.  They had to think about it more but were still able to complete the task)



O found it!

O found it!

M makes the match!

M makes the match!











That's close O, but not quite, try again!

That’s close O, try again!

You did it O!!

You did it O!!











M looks hard

M looks carefully

Those aren't the same, try again!

Those aren’t the same, try again!

Good job M!

Good job M!

















5. If the initial task is too difficult for your baby you can differentiate this task in the other direction (by adding more learning support).  Here are some suggestions to make this activity a littler simpler:

  • Use less socks
  • Lay the socks out neatly in a row (instead of having them in a jumbled pile) so they are all clearly visible
  • Take the sock that you want to match up and place it beside each of the socks in the row to show how they are the same or different

 …….while she was waiting for her turn….O decided to practice…..



Want to see other matching activities for toddlers? Click here!

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