Sorting Activities for Preschooler

Sorting is the beginning of pattern recognition and differentiation. It is the foundation with which your child will build on. When your child is about 19 months he/she will start to be able to sort objects into groups. 

Children can typically sort objects into groups before they can identify or name the object: color, shape, etc. This is VERY normal. 

When sorting with your little one you should start with objects. You can use toys around the house: legos, cars, balls, rocks, leaves, etc. This can be done easily during play.

You can sort by:
– Color
– Size: Big and Small
– Type of object (example sticks and rocks)

Ideas of how to incorporate sorting through play

Clean up is a great time to practice sorting. If you put all the balls in one basket and all the legos in another that is sorting. You can ask your child to pick up all the red toys and put them away, then the green toys and so on.

You can go on a walk and collect sticks, leaves, pinecones, rocks and have them sort it when they get home. You can make a pile of sticks, a pile of rocks, a pile of pine cones and a pile of leaves. You can also sort these objects by color as well.

Around the age of 2 they should have a firm grasp on sorting. This is when you can start to use photos and have them sort pictures by color. This is a great opportunity for you and your child to sit and talk about the pictures you are seeing and help them expand their vocabulary. 

Sorting helps children develop a range of thinking skills and build the foundations for later problem solving.

Montessori Color Sorting

Printable Color sorting 

Play based sorting ideas: 

  • 1. Sorting stickers by colors: great for fine motor skills as well as sorting.

2. Build towers by color : you can build with legos, magnatiles, blocks, etc.

3. Sort objects and toys by size, color or shape.

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Published by Christelle

Former Montessori School Teacher and Child Life Specialist. Specialize in early childhood education.

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