Matching Pictures to Shadows

Different colors are telling clues when trying to distinguish between similar objects. The following worksheets will challenge your child’s visual discrimination skills by asking him to match a full-color picture to its all-black shadow.

Importance of matching pictures to shadows

Matching pictures to shadows gives children the opportunity to notice a specific element of a picture – namely the outline. Often children (and adults!) notice the color of objects or drawings and use that to identify details. In these worksheets, your child will be forced to scrutinize the shape of each picture to find it’s match. This skill will be useful when he is learning to identify letters, numbers, and shapes, since formation, and not color, will be the distinguishing feature.

Tips for using these visual discrimination (matching pictures to shadows) worksheets

These visual discrimination worksheets are arranged in the same pattern for all of the skill levels, with the colored picture in the left-hand column and the shadow in the right-hand column. The level of difficulty increases as more (and smaller) pictures are placed on each page.

To help your child focus on the shape of the colorful picture, you may wish to cover the other pictures on the left side of the page. With only one picture exposed, he may have an easier time identifying its shape and finding its match. Direct your child to look at the colored picture and then look at the top picture in the right-hand column. If it matches, he can draw the line connecting the two pictures. If it does not match, remind him to look back at the colored illustration before glancing at the next picture in the shadow column. Looking back at the colored picture each time reinforces its shape.

I recommend making two copies of these worksheets to create a second, fun activity. After printing the second copy, cut out each colored picture on the page. Ask your child to cover each shadow with the appropriate matching picture. If he is correct, he may paste the cut picture over the shadow, covering it completely.

Extra activities to supplement these visual discrimination (matching pictures to shadows) worksheets

  • Ask your child to name 2 friends that have brown hair. Then ask him to name 2 friends with blond hair. This game will encourage him to pay closer attention to others’ identifying characteristics.
  • Flashlights make the “I Spy” game more exciting. Allow your child to use his flashlight to illuminate the room as he looks around for the “spied” item.
  • Instead of offering your child 1 kind of cereal in the morning, mix together 3 or 4 different types into one bowl so each bite has different shapes and colors.
  • Empty egg cartons are great for matching activities. Place one small item in each hole in the top row of the carton and have your child put identical items into the corresponding hole in the bottom row.
  • Use an eye dropper to drop colored water onto white paper towels. It’s a fun way to reinforce color names and discover how two colors mix together to form a third color.
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