Image by: Jason Thien

Match Cars To 'Car'ds

Age Range
3-7 yrs
Setup Time
10 minutes!
Setup Location

According to research conducted by child development psychologist and reading development expert Rebecca Treiman and her Washington University colleagues, teaching children to recognize and use these patterns may help them learn to spell and read more easily.

Out of all mental skills, pattern recognition is said to have the highest correlation with general intelligence. Pattern recognition is the ability to recognize order in a chaos. Patterns can be found in ideas, words, symbols, numbers, and images. They can also be found in behavior, routines, and in nature.

The ability to recognize, identify, and create patterns not only supports mathematical learning, it also contributes to broader social development. By understanding patterns, children are able to make predictions about what should come next. This predictive ability begins shortly after birth and continues throughout our lives.


  1.  Make rectangle shapes (using different directions and numbers on various cards)

  2. Gather all your cars and sort according to color

  3. Based on the colors of the cars available, color the rectangles on the cards making some parking patterns

  4. Place a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 paper on the floor in front of the "car"ds. Ask your child to take turns choosing a "car"d, then position the cars on the sheet of paper according to the pattern/colors on the "car"d

  5. After each turn, the player must place their cars back in the "parking lot"

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.