These free printable fall matching cards are fun for toddlers and preschoolers! Play them face up as a matching game for early learners or as a face down fall themed memory game for your older kids.
This set of autumn matching cards includes “classic” matching cards with exact match images, mirror image matching cards, and shadow matching cards. The mirror image matching cards and shadow matching cards are more challenging. The classic matching cards are a great place to start with your toddler to help them develop important matching and critical thinking skills.
Benefits of matching cards & memory games
I love creating match-up cards for my daughter (as evidenced by the extensive library of printable matching games here on The Artisan Life).
Matching and memory games are incredibly beneficial for children of all ages. Matching and sorting are important pre-math skills that toddlers and preschoolers need to master before learning how to count.
Match-up and memory games can improve:
- Critical thinking skills
- Awareness of patterns and relationships
- Visual discrimination skills
- Fine motor skills
- Sorting and grouping skills
Additionally, matching games give your toddler or preschooler:
- The opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge
- A sense of pride and accomplishment
These benefits aren’t just for toddlers and preschoolers – many readers have emailed or commented to let me know they use my printable games with therapy clients and older adult family members.
Related: Free printable fall bingo
Printable fall matching cards
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- Printable fall themed matching cards (Download links are lower in the post. No email address is required – just keep scrolling until you get to the links!)
- Printer & paper or cardstock
- Scissors or paper cutter. I’ve used this paper trimmer for years and it’s still going strong.
- Laminator & laminating pouches. Optional but highly recommended.
I recommend laminating these matching cards before cutting them out. I am so glad I bought an affordable at-home laminator. It takes a while to laminate pages, but it saves time in the long run because I don’t have to print and cut the same activity multiple times when the printable gets ruined.
How to prepare & play the matching activity
How to print and use your matching or memory game:
First, download your desired printables below. Download one or download them all! You can combine multiple sets for a more difficult matching or memory game.
Print out your printables. As stated above I recommend using presentation paper, cardstock, or bright white printer paper. Non-laminated paper does not hold up well for repeated use, but will have more vibrant images than cardstock.
Laminate your pages before cutting them. If you don’t have a laminator, you can “laminate” them with clear packing tape. It isn’t the same, but it’s better than nothing.
Cut out the cards along the dotted lines.
Get playing! If your child is new to matching activities, start by demonstrating with just a few pairs instead of the whole set. Add in more pairs as they become more confident in their matching skills.
Older children can play a face down memory game.
Older children can play memory with the cards by placing them face down. Have your child flip over two cards. If they match, the cards are matched up and removed from the board. If they don’t match, the cards are flipped face down again. Play continues until all pairs have been made.
Memory can be played as a solitary game or with multiple players taking turns. For a multi-player game (or a more difficult solitaire game), you can combine multiple pages.
You can also remove pairs from the set to make the memory game easier for younger children. My daughter loves playing memory with me if we use 2-3 pairs and I help.
Free printable fall match-up game
Alright, let’s get to the printables!
Like all preschool printables and toddler printables here on The Artisan Life, these are available for personal and single classroom use. You are welcome to print and use them with your own children, students, therapy clients, etc.
You are not licensed to alter, redistribute, sell, or otherwise transfer the files or printouts to other adults for their personal use. Instead, please refer your friends and colleagues to this post so they can download their own copies.
Your time is valuable – save it when you purchase all three matching games in one convenient file for the very low price of $1! (If you have time to spare, keep scrolling a tiny bit more for the individual freebie download links.)
Classic fall theme match up game
First there’s the classic matching game. There are 10 pairs of cards with exact match images. These are perfect for introducing the concept of matching to your little learner.
Fall theme mirror image matching game
Next there’s the mirror image match up game. These pairs are not exact matches – they are mirror images of one another. For some pictures, like the pumpkin and tree, the differences are subtle. For others the differences are more significant.
Fall shadow matching cards
Finally, there are the shadow matching cards. These cards are more challenging for young children and really stretch their skills!
Don’t lose track of this printable matching game – make sure to Pin it to your preschool board now!
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.