August 21, 2011

Catch the Match: Fun Pattern-Recognition Game for All Ages

Catch The Match is a deceptively simple card game that develops observation, pattern recognition, memory, and concentration skills. In the  box are 15 sturdy, colorful cards, each with pictures of the same 15 objects. The objects are in different places on each card and the colors (red, yellow, blue, and green) are mixed around. Any two cards has one and only one pair of the same object in the same color. The goal is to be the first to match that pair.

As a parent and educator, here's what I love about Catch The Match:

  • Everyone plays all the time. Unlike other memory games, there is no taking turns. All players have an opportunity to make a match at any moment.
  • Age doesn't matter. In my family, our nine- and eleven-year-olds hold their own against their mom and me. Our four-year-old, is less likely to be the first to make a match than the rest of us, but he still enjoys the game.
  • It's fun for preliterate or ESL players. No reading or vocabulary skills are required. In fact, players who speak different languages, can learn some new vocabulary words.
  • The rules are easy to adapt. Adjust the competition level by playing in teams or deciding whether or not to keep score. Add difficulty by matching items with opposite colors  (a blue airplane with red wings matches a red airplane with blue wings). You can even play Catch the Match alone against the clock.

A game similar to this one but more complex is SET, which I haven't played yet, but would like to.

Question: What is your top pattern-recognition activity for kids?

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