This easy-to-make homemade Leaf Matching Activity teaches toddlers and preschoolers to match colours, patterns, shapes and sizes. Great for strengthening critical thinking skills and fine-motor skills. Instructions include free leaf shapes printable.
The toddlers and preschoolers in my daycare love matching activities, so I often make homemade matching games that can be used over and over again in my daycare.
Related: See our Halloween Shape Matching Activity here.
A few years ago, I made this simple mitten matching activity for my toddlers, which they loved, and it was the inspiration for today’s leaf matching activity.
This version is a little more challenging though. This time, I’ve cut out a variety of different shapes and sizes, and some of the papers I’ve chosen are quite similar in colour, with the pattern or texture of the paper being the distinguishing factors. This means the kids will have to consider 4 things before making a match:
- Are they the same shape?
- Are the leaves the same size?
- Is the colour an exact match?
- Does the pattern match exactly?
The Shapes (free printable)
If you want to keep this activity simple for toddlers, you can just use one shape/size of leaf. For a variety of shapes and sizes, you can trace a set of leaf-shaped cookie cutters like this, or you can use the printable I’ve made for you.
Wallpaper samples are great for a matching activity
You can cut your leaves out of construction paper or scrapbook paper, but I love to use wallpaper samples for this kind of activity.
Wallpaper is thick and durable, and the colours, patterns and textures are so interesting for little eyes and hands to explore.
Best of all, wallpaper samples are FREE! Just ask at your local paint shop if they have any expired wallpaper books that you can take off their hands.
Challenge Fine-motor Skills
To strengthen fine-motor skills, I like to provide some wooden clothespins with this activity, so the kids can clip their matching pieces together.
As luck would have it, I just happened to have a wooden leaf-shaped wooden bowl to place them in, which was perfect for the theme of this activity.
How to Make our Fall Leaf Matching Activity
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- leaf shaped cookie cutters OR our leaf shapes printable
- coloured, patterned paper (wallpaper samples, scrapbook paper etc.)
- Gather your cookie cutters, or if using our printable leaf shapes, print it off and cut out leaves.
- Fold a piece of coloured, patterned paper in half, or place two layers of matching paper together, and place your cookie cutter (or leaf cut-out from printable) on top.
- Trace around the leaf.
- Cut through both layers of the paper to get an identical set of matching leaves.
- Repeat for as many sets of leaves as you’d like.
- To play the activity, mix up the leaf cut-outs and spread them out on a table or floor.
- Give your kids the bowl of clothespins and see if they can find all of the matching leaves and clip them together in pairs.
An Extra Challenge: To make this activity even more challenging for older kids, lay the leaves out wrong-side-up so the kids can’t see the colours and patterns. That way, it will be more like a game of “Memory” or “Concentration”.
You May Also Like:
- Fall Leaf Crafts and Activities for 2-10 Year Olds
- Fall Tree Crafts for Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Halloween Matching Game
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.