Object-to-Picture Matching Skills in Toddlers – Top Benefits and How to Start

6 min read

Written by Sindhuja Prabhu

Sindhuja Prabhu

Object-to-Picture Matching Skills in Toddlers

Have you ever noticed your toddler trying to match things? They may point out to some random image or object on the road and claim they have something like that back home, they may find some similarity between someone’s clothing and yours. Their little brains are developing at an exceptional speed and the benefits of object-to-picture matching skills in toddlers go a long way beyond just entertainment.

Toddlers love to play almost anything that challenges them. Their brains are still learning to recognize, process, and identify things. Giving them activities that involve identifying or matching games can benefit them in many ways. It kindles many skills which are instrumental in their overall cognitive development.

In This Article

What Are Matching Activities?

Matching activities are those that require your toddler to find similar-looking images or items. They can be identical or slightly different. These activities can use just images or images and objects as well. If you are using images and objects, your toddler has to match the object in hand to the image of the same.

Why Are Matching Activities Important For Toddlers?

Object-to-picture matching activities teach a toddler many skills

A toddler’s brain is like a sponge. It will keep absorbing anything and everything you expose it to. It is very important to not waste this period and use every opportunity to expose your toddler to new concepts and activities. Object-to-picture matching activities are very important for the following reasons-

  • Teaches them to identify, perceive, and remember
  • Helps them see the similarities beyond the differences
  • Makes their brain function in multiple ways
  • Helps develop multiple skills that aid in overall development
  • Sets the foundation for better and easier learning in school
  • Teaches them that there can be more than one of any item 

Amazing Top 7 Benefits of Picture Matching Activities For Toddlers

Matching games help toddlers in recognition, memorizing, and other such skills

It is important to include picture-matching lessons and activities for toddlers, both at school and home. Picture-matching lessons offer the following advantages for toddlers-

1. Helps Recognize

Toddlers find it difficult to recognize their own parents without facial hair or in a different hairstyle. That is how much their brains can recognize and associate. Through picture-matching activities, you can encourage their brain to search, perceive, recognize images, make an association, and finally match. Repeating matching activities can train their brain to recognize items or images, despite small differences.

2. Improves Memory

Babies and young toddlers have very short memory spans. You can see them perform some activities repeatedly, to commit it to memory. Matching activities and games can improve this memory. A good memory can help them remember lessons taught at school or outside.

3. Cognitive Development

When your toddler sees a picture in their book, it is a single-dimensional image. To identify the object in real life, which in most cases will be slightly different, requires toddlers to think and perceive. This perception, processing of the image, and making the connection despite the differences, is cognitive development. Be it reading, writing, or identifying colors, they need association and recognition skills.

4. Sorting Skills

Sorting skills are very important for a toddler. Learning to match objects to pictures can help develop their sorting skills. They can learn to sort objects into specific categories, which will also facilitate counting – a basic mathematical skill.

5. Develop Reading Skills

When your toddler can match objects, letters, and numbers, they can start reading. Reading requires them to recognize a letter, recollect it, and put it together with other letters, to form a word. Matching activities facilitate such development.

[Read : Reading to Your Baby

6. Learn New Words

When you teach your toddler the names of the pictures or images they are matching, they will learn new words. When they learn words with a visual representation, it is easier to remember and recollect too. According to ResearchGate, Matching games and activities can help in improving their vocabulary.

7. Teaches the Concept of Similarity

If you notice young toddlers, they can be very territorial and possessive of their toys and things. When you show a similar-looking toy or pretend to take it, they will get very upset as they don’t want to part with their belongings. Matching activities teach them there can be more than one of everything. This will help them play with their peers without fighting and help them understand their friends can have similar-looking toys too. This in turn will facilitate socializing skills.

How to Start Object-to-Picture Matching Activities For Toddlers?

Wondering how to start these picture-matching activities for your toddler? The best way is to start slow. Don’t go by the generic games available in the market just because your toddler fits into that age category. Remember, each kid is different and they need their own time to develop these skills. Do not get frustrated if your little one is not able to ace the matching lessons or games specified for their age.

Here is how you can start introducing object-to-picture matching activities to your toddler-

Stage 1 – Matching Identical Images

You can begin by making them match identical images

Start with simple exercises or activities. Find identical-looking images – maybe 3 or 5 pairs. Mix them up and ask your toddler to match them. When the images are identical in terms of size, color, etc., it is easier for a toddler’s brain to perceive them. Let them understand how to do the activity without help before you can proceed to stage 2.

Stage 2 – Matching Objects to Pictures

Let your toddler find the items matching the images you show

You can use images of toys your toddler plays with. It can be images of the animals or vehicle figurines they play with. Let them dig through their toys and find the items matching the images you show. This will encourage them to search and identify. It will also improve their memory.

Stage 3 – Matching Real Objects to Pictures

You can show images of fruits or vegetables and ask your toddler to find the matching item at home. When they get comfortable playing it, you can play the same game at the market or the store, widening the categories or groups.

Stage 4 – Sorting

Sorting activity can help toddlers recognize, match, and sort items into groups

You can show a picture of color or just use some colored paper and ask your toddler to find toys that match the color. This activity can help them learn to recognize, match, and sort items into groups. For advanced learners, you can show an image of a fruit basket and ask them to find items that match the ones in the image.

Stage 5 – Matching Picture to Real Life People or Objects

Show a picture of a parent and ask your toddler to find its match in real life

You can start using words. For example, you can show a picture of a parent and ask your toddler to find its match in real life. Through this activity, your toddler will learn the names of the images and match them in real life despite the differences. They will learn to point to their father, mother, and grandparent, animals, etc., just by looking at the pictures. From here you can progress to matching or naming objects by shape or function.

Matching pictures to images can be a very fun and fruitful activity. With patience and a little creativity, you can convert these lessons into a fun bonding activity. As your toddler shows improvement in these activities, you can increase the difficulty levels and make it more challenging. 

[Read : Top 10 Shape Activities and Games For Toddlers to Teach Shapes]


1. What is the Importance of Color-Matching Activities For Toddlers?

Sorting and matching items colorwise will help develop visual, perception, and memory skills in the toddlers.

2. Till What Age Can Children Benefit From Matching Activities?

You can increase the level of difficulty as the child improves. Matching activities can benefit even grown children and adults as it encourages them to focus and be more alert mentally.

Read Also: Top 10 Color Activities and Games For Toddlers to Teach Colors

Sindhuja Prabhu,M.Sc (Psychology),PGDBM

Sindhuja, a mother of two, is an obsessive mom with a keen interest in psychology, especially child psychology. Her quest for knowledge and way with words led her to become a passionate content writer. She transformed her love for writing into a full-fledged career which incidentally also turned up being the perfect stress buster for the last 5 years.Read more.

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