Upper- and Lowercase Matching Games With Manipulatives

Here are some ideas for upper- and lowercase matching activities, ranging from cheap and easy to elaborate.

With a little thought, you can create an upper- and lowercase matching game that is partially self-checking. To do it, you'll need two sets of small objects. The two sets should be natural matches for each other - things that normally or potentially go together. Examples:

  • Spoons and forks (plastic)
  • Small wooden circles and squares
  • Clothespins and sections of rope (label the rope pieces with paper strips)
  • Black and red checkers, or counting chips in two colors
  • Pencils and pens
  • Pencils and removable pencil-top erasers
  • Wooden popsicle sticks colored or painted in two different colors, or large and small popsicle sticks

You'll need 26 of each object type. To make the games, simply use a permanent marker to write the uppercase letters on one set of items and the lowercase letters on the other set. For some kinds of items, like black checkers, you'll need to use labels instead.

You may also want to create custom mats or containers for sorting. For instance, if you use spoons and forks, you might have a paper plate for the uppercase letters and another for the lowercase ones.


Write the letters of both cases on counting chips, and provide two plastic piggy banks (or make simple ones from Pringles cans). Mark one bank with uppercase letters and the other with lowercase, or color code them to the chips. Have the children sort the "coins" into the correct banks.

For a slightly more challenging game, 52 of the same item can be sorted into two containers. Just mark 26 with uppercase letters and 26 with lowercase letters. The possible items are endless; any small object that can be written on or labeled could be used. Try some of these:
  • Acorns
  • Pebbles
  • Large beads
  • Buttons
  • Twigs, popsicle sticks, short dowels, straws
  • Can lids, bottle caps, wine corks
  • Old unifix cubes, cuisenaire rods, etc.
  • Old puzzle pieces, Legos
  • Small wooden blocks
  • Marbles (Try the flat ones sold for floral decorating. Write the letters backwards on the flat part; protect with clear sealer, nail polish, or contact paper.)
  • Tile chip samples
  • Paint color samples (Use a large punch to cut out shapes; write on the letters and then laminate.)
  • Mosaic tiles
  • Small plastic toys (Check your local party or dollar store.)
  • Pennies (Disinfect first)
  • Walnut shells, unshelled peanuts
Important: Some of these small objects are not going to be appropriate for children under three!


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