Dinosaur Shadow Matching Game (Printable)

FREE DINOSAUR shadow matching game for preschool

Here’s another dinosaur themed printable for you and your little ones. This one is a fun dinosaur shadow matching game.

Although it may seem like just a fun matching game to pass some time, shadow matching is actually a great way for children to improve their visual discrimination skills. This is the ability to be able to tell the difference between different shapes, objects or symbols.

And this skill is an extremely important one when it comes to being able to read. When you think about it, the basis of letter recognition is being able to tell different letters apart from each other and remembering what their shapes look like.

A brilliant thing about shadow matching is that it takes away any color or pattern clues so children have to focus on the outline of the shape – just like they have to when reading letters.

I’ve also included the names of the dinosaurs on the color cards so they can even learn a bit about these giants that used to walk the earth.

I’ve made 12 dinosaurs so far and they’re all included in this game – from the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex to the heavily armored Ankylosaurus.

Other dinosaur printables that you may want to check out:

What Skills Can Your Little Ones Learn?

preschool dinosaur shadow matching game (free printable)

For a simple matching game, there’s actually quite a lot of skills that can be learnt and practiced!

With this dinosaur shadow matching game your little ones can develop:

  • Visual Discrimination skills– the ability to notice differences between objects and symbols. Your kids will have to look closely at the shapes to make the correct pairings!
  • Fine motor skills – as they’ll need to be able to pick up the cards, and hand-eye coordination and hand control as they ensure they are placing them with the right dinosaur.
  • Speech and language skills – If you make sure you are getting them to talk about what they can see when they are matching. It’s a good chance to get them to describe what they can see. What shapes can you see? Do you know anything else that’s that shape?
  • Shape and pattern – shape and pattern recognition are important early math skills.
  • Patience and persistence – They’ll have to carry on even if they find it tricky at first.

Who’d have thought such a simple game can help your children develop so many skills – that’s the power of play!

How To Prepare This Dinosaur Shadow Matching Game

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Firstly, download the dinosaur shadow cards by clicking on the image below:


Then, print them out on to paper or card.

Next, cut the cards out carefully.

There’s 12 colorful dinosaur cards and 12 dinosaur shadow cards.

I’d advise laminating them after as it will keep them nice if you want to use them again.

Here’s an affordable and reliable laminator if you don’t have one (a laminator is a great investment if you plan on downloading more printables!)

An affordable and reliable laminator

Now you’re all set and ready to play!

How To Use This Dinosaur Shadow Matching Game

Dinosaur Shadow Matching

To play the game I’d lay a selection of shadow cards on the floor or table. The more you lay out the harder the game will be so you may want to start with a few and add more as they get better at matching.

Then give your child a colorful dinosaur card and see if they can pick out the correct match. Get them to look closely at the shapes and outline and focus on any distinguishing features.

Once they’ve matched it to the correct card, put that pairing to one side and give them another card to try again.

If they seem really confident, you could just place them all on the floor and let them go for it.

It might be fun to time them and see if they can beat their previous record!

Dinosaur Flash Cards

You could also use the colorful cards with the names on as flash cards to help your little ones learn the names of some of the dinosaurs as well as what they look like.

There’s 12 different dinosaurs on these cards. You just need to say the name of the dinosaur while showing your little ones the card.

Ask your children to think about features that might help them remember which dinosaur is which. The stegosaurus for example, has diamond shape plates on his back and the brachiosaurus has a very long neck. Be sure to repeat the name a few times while they are focused on thinking about the dinosaur to really help embed it into their memory.

Who knows, you may be inspiring the next great paleontologist!

Some Tips to get Some Extra Language Development In

I mentioned above that these kinds of matching games can be great for language development as well as improving visual discrimination skills.

Talking about what they can see while they’re playing is always great.

Ask them to think about the colors. What colors can you see? What else in the room is that color? Do you know any animals that have that color on them somewhere?

Ask them about the shapes. What shapes are the dinosaurs made up of? What shapes can you see in the shadows? What else do you know that is that shape?

Talking about shapes can be great to enhance their early math skills as well!

Which dinosaur is the tallest? Which one do you think would be the strongest? – There’s loads you can ask them…

This kind of questioning will keep them engaged and make them think more about what they are doing. It’s also awesome for language development as you ask them to describe the dinosaurs.

Don’t let them get away with ‘big’ or ‘happy’; teach them some words they might not know like ‘massive’, ‘gigantic’ and ‘armored’.

Later, you could ask them to describe pictures of dinosaurs in a book. You’ll be surprised how often they use these new words!

I hope you and your little ones enjoy this dinosaur shadow matching game!

If you do, feel free to let me know in the comments below. And let me know if there’s any other printables you’d like me to have a go at creating or anything you need a hand with.

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Until next time,

Let’s nurtured those neurons!

Dinosaur Shadow matching free printable game

Some more free toddler and preschooler activities you may want to check out:


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Evie R
Evie R
1 year ago

I recently found your website and it has some wonderful resources!! This printable is great and my little guy is super excited to play it. However, there are only 6 shadow cards, there are 2 identical pages. Oops!

Glyniss McDaniel
Glyniss McDaniel
1 year ago

I have signed up and have the password. I have tried to download two or three of the dinosaur printables but it takes you back to the page to sign up. I guess the link is broken.