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boy playing with matching mat and block set

Lesson Plan Joey’s Matching Mat & Block Set


“Play is the essential ingredient, the vehicle by which children communicate, socialize, and learn about the world around them, understand themselves and others, deal with their problems, and practice some of the skills they will use in the future” (Hartley, 1971)

Environmental Set-up:
The bright colors and large, soft blocks provide for multiple activities for young children.
Place mat on the floor away from furniture or hard objects
Place blocks near the mat
When setting up for the first time, be sure to allow time for children to freely explore the mat and blocks with minimal guidance

Investigate relationship between block colors and colors of squares on the mat
Sort and match colors
Use large muscles

Activity Overview:
Ask the children to look over the blocks and the mat.
If they pick up a block, where would they want to put it on the mat? Why?
How many red blocks do you see?
How many red squares can you find on the mat?
Look at this big block. Where should we put it on the mat?

Guiding Questions:
Are all the blue squares on the mat touching each other?” “Where are they?”
Implications for Brain Development:
Linking language with physical color, size and shape, via Joey’s Matching Mat and Block Set, supports the brain’s ability to develop a sense of “constancy” or sameness in perception of the world.
As the child physically manipulates and moves the various colored blocks to different places on the mat, the brain learns that the size, color, and shape of the object remain the same.

Developmental Learning Outcomes:
Sensory-Motor/Physical Development:
Improved balance/equilibrium through squatting, standing, shifting while holding large block
Strengthening of upper extremities and trunk while lifting and placing
Enhanced visual-perceptual skills
Cognitive Development:
Sorting blocks by color
Spatial relationship of blocks to squares on mat
Problem solving of where to place blocks and why
Language Development:
Communicating reasoning to others
Listening to questions
Social/Emotional Development:
Associate play with other children
Borrowing/loaning blocks (sharing)

Activity Variation:
Place blocks on colored squares that are different from the block color
Count the blocks and count the mat squares of each color

Play Bac Publishing. (2007). Eye Like Colors. NYC, NY: Play Bac Publishing. (children’s book)

Children enjoy seeing
immediate results of their thinking and of their actions.

Placing the blocks on the mat enables the child to see if the colors “go together” (match) or not.

The sorting and classifying involved in 1 to 1 matching supports cognitive growth.