Preschool Visual Discrimination: Free Printable Worksheets and Activity Ideas

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Visual Discrimination

Visual discrimination is a skill children will perfect in their preschool years. This important skill will help children when they are learning to distinguish letters and numbers, identify differences in pictures, and make observations about their environment. Visual discrimination encourages children to recognize letters at a glance, as well as point out subtle differences in shapes. A child with well developed visual discrimination skills is well on his way to becoming a successful reader.

One way to exercise a preschooler’s visual discrimination is through worksheets. Thankfully, there are many websites that offer free printable worksheets for preschool visual discrimination. Be sure preschoolers understand the directions for these worksheets and allow them to work on them at their own pace. Many of the worksheets will be simple for children, while others will be a challenge. Be sure to assess the level of visual discrimination in your students before allowing them to use the practice worksheets. A child who is not ready for the type of independent work that is needed to complete a worksheet should be allowed to practice her visual discrimination skills through games, activities and one on one work with a teacher.

School Sparks is a website that offers many full color, free printable worksheets that are appropriate for a preschool classroom. In addition to a vast array of choices for visual discrimination worksheets, offers professional information from teachers who have used these activities in their classroom. Also included are tips for including these worksheets in your classroom, such as how to introduce new skills or explain directions to children.

Among the visual discrimination worksheets available here are matching shadows to the animal that created them, matching color words to objects, and comparing sizes. The worksheets are available in full color and are free, but you must have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer before printing.


Kidzone is a unique early childhood website that offers many age-appropriate ideas for visual discrimination. This site not only features free worksheets for preschoolers, but introduces several non-worksheet ways to practice these skills with your preschool class. Many of the free worksheets available to print here will help children spot differences in objects or shapes, as well as match those that are alike. Other worksheets you can download and print include rhyming worksheets. While rhyming is essentially an auditory discrimination skill, it can also work for visual discrimination, as the child will have to match rhyming word pictures. Both of these skills are important for reading success.


PreKinders is a website for pre-kindergarten educators. In addition to free printable worksheets, PreKinders offers a blog and pages upon pages of teacher tips and age and stage appropriate activities for children. For visual discrimination, there are several free printables available on this site. There are color matching worksheets, which are appropriate for even the youngest preschoolers, as well as printable same and different cards, a leaf matching worksheet activity, and a “What Does Not Belong?” activity. These games will help children begin developing their visual discrimination skills, as well as challenge those children who are ready for a slightly more difficult curriculum.

More Excellent Worksheet Choices

Are you looking for more choices for free printables for your visual discrimination curriculum? There are many free ones available on the web that will keep your class busy and challenged. Try many different kinds, as children will respond differently to each. For example, one student may do exceptionally well with matching but have trouble with size discrimination or spotting differences. Give children lots of time to practice all of these visual discrimination skills at their own pace. Be on hand to answer any questions and help a child who appears to be having difficulty with an activity or worksheet.

Uppercase letter matching

Lowercase letter matching

Eye Can Learn: This site has a host of “What is different” pictures that preschoolers will enjoy solving.

Odd One Out: While not a worksheet, this free Internet game will help preschoolers spot the picture that does not belong, and give them valuable early computer skills such as mouse manipulation and pointing and clicking practice.

Other Ways to Practice Visual Discrimination

In addition to worksheets, children should have visual discrimination practice through games, activities and interactions with teachers and other preschoolers. There are several ways to include these activities in your classroom and make them fun and challenging for children.

What’s Missing?: Have children each choose one item in the classroom to bring to circle time with them. This item can be a stuffed animal, a building block, a piece of construction paper or anything the child chooses. Place all of the items in the center of the circle and allow children to study them. Ask children to close their eyes while you remove one of the objects. Have children open their eyes and see if they can spot what is missing.

What’s Different?: You can play this game each morning with your preschool class. Before children arrive for the day, change one thing in your classroom. Be sure it is something the children will be able to spot relatively quickly, such as turning a picture on the wall upside down or removing a beloved stuffed animal or beanbag chair. At your morning circle time, discuss with the children what is different about the classroom.

Sock Match: Fill a plastic laundry basket with several different pairs of socks. Try to include crazy patterned socks, brightly colored socks as well as at least one white pair of socks. Separate the socks and mix them up in the laundry basket. Allow children to “fold the laundry” and match up the sock pairs.

Visual discrimination is a very important skill for preschoolers to learn in order to become successful readers. In addition to using some of these free printable worksheets for visual discrimination for preschoolers, try to play games and engage children in these learning activities daily.