This educational printable matching game for kids features 30 species of sea animals from around the world along with interesting facts about each of them. Download, print and play!
The mysterious anglerfish and the deadly pufferfish, enormous whales and travelling sea turtles – the oceans are full of amazing creatures. Children cannot ignore something this fascinating, so they set about discovering the oceanic wonders with enthusiasm. Books, movies and games never manage to exhaust this fascinating subject.
Our sea animals matching game is based on the popular idea of a memory game where you first put all the cards face-down and then show two at a time right-sides-up, trying to find a matching pair. It has both educational and developmental benefits for children: they work on memory and logical skills while studying marine animals.
Sea Animal Matching Game Features
- 30 cards with species of sea animals from all the oceans of the world, including, anglerfish, bull shark, bottlenose dolphin, clownfish, compass jellyfish, mottled anemone, dugong. southern sand star, green sea turtle, lionfish,sperm whale, stone crab, flying fish, blue-ringed octopus, clown triggerfish, Japanese flying squid, killer whale, porcupinefish, regal blue tang, spotted eagle ray, and swordfish.
- Cards with 30 animal silhouettes.
- Cards with information that includes animal’s common name, its distribution and some quirky facts. Playing this game, children will find out what animals can grow their limbs back, how fish can fly, what animals inspired the ancient tales of sirens and mermaids, and what fish can turn from males into females during the course of their lives.
- Three levels of complexity make it challenging for different ages. Recommended for ages 2-10.
- Beautiful pencil-drawn cards made by the Norwegian illustrator Tetiana Kosovska are both biologically informative and kid-friendly.
Level 1: Match Two Sea Animals
This is the traditional variant which is the most suitable for little kids. It helps with memory development and teaches animal recognition.
Level 2: Match Animals with Silhouettes
There is something very satisfying about matching animals with their silhouettes – even when my son was a toddler, he found it captivating enough to stop bouncing off the walls for a while and sit down with such silhouette cards. Before playing the game competitively, children may want to take their time sorting through the animals and finding matching pairs. If you have toddlers, start with 4-5 pairs at a time, then offer different ones the next day.
Besides memory development, this variant is beneficial for logical skills and pattern recognition as children learn to match the cards.
Level 3: Match Animals with Their Description Cards
A more complicated version of the game, for children who can read. The description cards include common names of animals, their distribution and a few fun facts about them. That funny looking pufferfish is actually one of the deadliest animals on Earth. The yellowback fusillier doesn’t always stay yellow, but changes colour at night. The clownfish goes further: it can change gender!
If your children cannot read yet, parents can use these cards to present amusing facts about each animal during the game!
More Ways to Play
Experiment with the number of cards you use. For my son, who is now four years old, sixteen cards (eight animals and eight silhouettes) seem to be working well. I’m happy to say that I’m losing to him in at least of our half games.
Once, we doubled this convenient number and had a memory game with sixteen animals and thirty two cards. It was interesting, but lasted a while! I wonder how long it would take to play the game with both of all thirty cards. I think it would be a lot of fun with a couple of older kids.
The cards are also good for sorting. Mix them together, then pick all the cards that belong to one animal. Sort them by colour, by groups (vertebrates or invertebrates) and by subgroup (mammals, fishes, reptiles, crustaceans, etc), or by distribution.