Sorting my collection

For ages 3 – 8 years

Sorting is an important math skill for our kids to develop. It is a lot of fun for your child and can keep them entertained for ages.

This activity allows your child to learn that things can be ‘the same’ or ‘different’. This is the very beginning of understanding number concepts. It also strengthens the small muscles in their fingers and hands by placing objects into small spaces

Describing the object also allows kids to use and build their language skills..

 What do I need?

  • A ‘sorting’ container such as a muffin tin or egg carton, or a few small bowls or cups
  • Collections of small items to sort – such as (differently-coloured and/or differently-sized) pegs, buttons, blocks, coins or paperclips.

 How do I do it?

  1. Tip the collection of small items onto the floor, table, tray, or into a wide bowl.
  2. Talk to your child about the colours, sizes, shapes – or anything else that makes items either the ‘same as’, or ‘different from’, the others.

Ask them how they would like to group the items.

  • Support your child to put items that are the same in some way, together in sections of the muffin tin or egg carton.
  • Talk about their groupings, naming the colours or sizes, and using words like similar, same or different.
  • Count the items in each group to see which has the most items. Ask your child if they could sort the items in a different way – and if so, start the new sorting process.

No-one knows your child better than you.  So, choose and/or adapt ideas here to best suit you and your child. Remember it’s the talking and time spent together that matters most.

More activities to try