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Let's Begin the Game


The Categories Game

Young children make sense of the objects in the world by
putting them into categories. Indeed, a baby's earliest
experiences with nursery rhymes, finger play songs and
books often involve concepts of shapes, colors and size.
Educational toys also teach these concepts as forms fit
into boards, shapes into sorters and smaller containers are
nested inside larger ones.

The following game is designed to teach your child how
objects not only fit into a category but that they can fit into
more than one at the same time.

How to Play

This game may be played in two different ways. I recommend
printing out the pages. Read the directions and ask your child
to point to the answers. Each page has one picture that was
seen on the previous page. Ask your child to find this picture.
This will help her to develop visual memory and realize that
although an object such as a ball is on the "round" page, it can
also be on the "green" page.

Your child might also enjoy clicking on the answer after you
read the directions. The correct answer will appear when
clicked. She may also click on the category word in the sentence
below and the two pictures in this category will appear. Ask
your child to name as many objects as she can in these categories.
Point to or gather the objects in the environment that fit into
these categories.

Children are never too young to look at pictures. Point to,
name and describe the objects in this game and other books.
This will help babies as young as 10-12 months of age to develop
the skills to attend to pictures and categorize over the next couple
of years. Younger children can play this game by pointing to a
picture as you name it or describe only one characteristic such
as the shape. Older children can play the game by  finding the
one picture that fits into both categories such as the "round" and
 "green" ball.

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Child Development

Between 12 and 18 months of age children demonstrate an
understanding of color and size as they explore form boards
and place smaller plastic containers inside larger ones. They
also learn how to point to the named objects in the environment
or in pictures. The "Where is Pointer?" song is also popular
for this age group.

Between 15 and 18 months children can typically identify which
objects are not exactly the same as other objects in a group.
During the second half of this year, children learn to match
animals to their sounds and of course, many toys, books and
reinforce these associations.

applesbannanas  matchingobjectstopictures fruitpicturs

Matching skills develop in a sequential order. Children learn
to first match identical (preferably familiar) objects to objects
between 15-19 months. Next they learn to match objects to
pictures between 19 and 27 months. Photographs are easier to
match than drawings. Children typically learn to match similar
pictures of objects between 30 and 36 months. The popular
game Lotto reinforces skills to match drawings of familiar objects.

At around this time children also learn to sort into groups of
identical objects. It is easiest to start teaching this skill using
groups of very different objects such as clothespins, apples
and toy animals. Then try more similar objects such as apples,
bananas and blueberries (which share the category of food).

Between 24 and 30 months children learn to match the circle,
triangle and square shapes and match colors- (first black and
white; primary colors a bit later between 29-33 months). Two-
year-olds also start to identify objects with their use- i.e. the
brush is for getting the tangles out of the hair.

As children reach close to three years of age, they develop
the skills to look at a group of three simple pictures of objects
and identify which two are the same. Between three and three
and a half years of age they learn to sort colors and complete
3-4 piece puzzles. These early discrimination skills will help
children to play the "Categories Game". 

Let's Begin the Game

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Resource:  Hawaii Early Learning Profile (HELP)
VORT corporation, Palo Alto, California 94306

©2008 Barbara Smith