Frida uses her Schleich farm animals a lot – it’s rare that a day goes past without them being pulled out. They are great for imaginative play, small world play, sorting and categorising, and for developing her vocabulary. I love how realistic they are too.
Without really thinking about it I’d realised that we use them a lot for matching work, so I thought I would share some ideas with you.
Matching is a great activity for little ones. How We Montessori have an excellent post on why matching is good for their brain development here.
These are very simple activities, so perfect for older babies and younger toddlers, but also very satisfying. They don’t take long to set up either which is a bonus for busy parents!
Adult to baby animal matching
Although Frida can do this easily she still enjoys a game of “where’s my baby?” matching. She also loves making the babies breastfeed from their “parent” animals.
Animal to photo card matching
This is a lovely simple activity for younger toddlers. I made Frida some matching cards by taking a photo of each animal, printing and laminating it.
Schleich animal to other style of animal
You can match a Schleich animal with its counterpart wooden animal, or a photo of the real-life animal, or a drawing of it in a book… Again this is so simple, but helps foster the understanding that the same thing (eg. a pig) can be depicted in many different ways.
Of course, you don’t need to use Schleich animals to do this sort of matching, you could use almost anything. Matching cards with pictures of household furniture to items in your home, or photo cards of adult and children animals, or matching a teddy to a teddy in a book – the list is endless, and as children get older the categories of things to match can get wider and wider (for example for an older child you could have two insects / two sea creatures / two mammals).
What are your favourite matching activities?