These free printable Christmas matching cards are a fun way to keep your toddler or preschooler busy and learning over the holidays!
Have your little learner play a classic match up game or challenge child with Christmas mirror image matching cards and shadow matching cards. These cards can even be used as a face down Christmas memory game for the whole family to enjoy. Grab your copy today!
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Matching games are beneficial for children of all ages. Older adults can benefit from them, as well. Readers write every week to share how they use free printable matching games and printable bingo games from The Artisan Life as printable memory games for older adults.
These matching cards for Christmas help busy parents like you. We all need a few low-prep, low-mess, quiet activities in our toolkit!.Store these printable cards in a zippered pouch or pencil case for an easy go bag activity. When they’re laminated, they very easy to clean after falls onto the floor or a trip to the doctor’s office.
Matching and sorting are both pre-math skills that children need to master before learning how to count.
Match-up and memory games can improve:
- Sorting and grouping skills
- Critical thinking abilities
- Awareness of patterns and relationships
- Fine motor control (picking up the cards is hard work for little fingers)
- Visual discrimination
- Emotional regulation and persistence
Save time this holiday season by getting organized with a free printable gift planner and gift checklist:
How to print and use your Christmas matching game
Please note that these are secular Christmas themed match up cards. I am working on a Nativity themed set so please Pin this post and check back again soon if you’d prefer something religious. In the meantime, your older children may enjoy this Advent word search if you’d prefer religious Christmas activities.
- Printable Christmas themed matching cards (Download links for the PDFs are lower in the post.)
- Printer & paper or cardstock
- Scissors or paper cutter. I prefer a paper trimmer with a guide wire because I find it more accurate, and less scary, than the guillotine-style paper cutter.
- Laminator & laminating pouches. This is optional, but highly recommended. If you don’t have a laminator, you can “laminate” the individual cards with 2″ clear packing tape.
How to print and make a Christmas matching game for toddlers & preschoolers
Download your printables further down the page. There are shadow matching cards, mirror image matching cards, and classic matching game cards. Sets can be combined for a greater challenge and longer gameplay.
Print your PDFs. As mentioned above, I recommend using presentation paper, cardstock, or premium printer paper. Cardstock is more durable, but images printed on bright white paper or presentation paper will look brighter and cleaner.
Laminate your pages before cutting the cards out along the dotted lines.
If you don’t have a laminator cut the cards out then “laminate” them with clear packing tape.
Cut out the cards along the dotted lines.
Play! If your child hasn’t played with matching cards before, demonstrate how to use them with just a couple of pairs. I recommend starting with some the are very obviously different, such as Santa boots and Christmas tree.
You may be surprised by your toddler’s matching interest and abilities. After they’ve used the basic set, introduce them to the shadow matching and mirror image matching cards. These are more challenging for young children, but the most learning takes place at the edge of your child’s comfort zone.
Here’s a picture of my daughter enjoying her dino matching game. She’s playing with the shadow matching cards at about 27 months:
Older children can play memory with the cards by placing them face down. Memory can be played as solitaire or with multiple players (though the game will be fairly short with more than one player due to the small number of cards).
How to play memory/concentration:
- Place all of the cards face down.
- Have your child flip over two cards.
- If they match, the cards are paired up and removed from the board.
- If they don’t match, the cards are flipped face down again and replaced in their original location.
- Keep playing until all the cards are paired up.
Related: Free printable Christmas bingo
Free printable Christmas matching game
Like all free printables on The Artisan Life, these matching games are free for personal and single classroom use.
You are welcome to print and use them as many times as you’d like with your own children, students, Scout troop members, Sunday school class, therapy clients, etc. As long as you are personally involved with organizing the activity and not charging to participate, you’re good to go.
You are not licensed to sell, alter, or redistribute the digital files or printouts to other adults for their personal use. For example, printing them for your students is fine. Giving them to another teacher to use with their students is not.
The files are available in PDF format. Individual free download links are located below each preview image and highlighted with a grey box to make them easier to find. Links will open in a new tab and automatically download from DropBox. Please authorize DropBox downloads if a box pops up asking for permission.
You’re busy – save time and clicking around when you buy all three files in one convenient PDF for the very low price of $1!
Keep scrolling a bit more for the individual free download links and a closer look at each page.
Christmas shadow matching game
First we have the Christmas shadow matching game. This set features 10 images and versions where they’re greyed out to make a “shadow.” Even though this seems extremely simple to adults, it’s a big challenge for little ones.
Christmas mirror image matching game
Up next is the mirror image matching game for Christmas. This one is also pretty challenging, especially for toddlers. Starting with images that are more similar, such as the Santa boots and Christmas wreath, is a good way to introduce this version to your child.
Christmas matching cards for toddlers
Last but not least, we have the classic matching game. These cards are a great introduction to matching for your little learner! They also make a fun memory game for preschoolers and older kids.
I hope your family enjoys this matching game as much as mine does. Every time my daughter sees a new matching game printable on my computer screen she says “You are making this new game for me!”
Natasha Núñez is a former classroom teacher with a Masters of the Arts in Teaching. She also is a registered yoga teacher & holds a certificate in natural skincare formulation from the School of Natural Skincare. She shares her passion for education, positive parenting, free printables, and recipes for DIY bath & home products. Learn more about Natasha and where she’s been featured.