Learning to Sort Can Be Fun!

So many tasks in life depend on one’s ability to sort or classify objects into groups. When you sort or classify an object, you determine what characteristics certain items share or don’t share. In other words, you identify how the objects are alike and how they are different. This might not feel much like math, but sorting and classifying are important skills that form the basis of patterning, geometry, and other math components. Here are a few ideas you can use to practice sorting.

Age-appropriate Adaptations:

  • Two-year-olds—Young children find sorting by color easiest. Encourage your child to sort Fruit Loops or M&Ms by color. Then count the groups together to see which color has the most pieces. Another activity could be to ask your child to build something using only one color of LEGOs or blocks. Then see if she can build something else using a second color.
  • Three-year-olds—As your child ages, he can begin to sort by shape or size. Ask your child to sort wooden blocks by shape, naming each shape as he goes. Another fun activity is to sort marshmallows by size (small and large, or for more challenge include the extra-large marshmallows as a third size to sort).
  • Four-/Five-year-olds—We have been naming animals in Spanish this month. Consider setting out plastic toy animals or pictures of animals and see if your child can classify them into groups of farm animals and zoo animals. Then you can practice naming the animals in Spanish.

Skills Supported: colors, shapes, sizes, sorting, classifying, fine motor skills (pincer grasp, LEGO building), Spanish