Sorting socks

For ages 5 – 8 years

This is possibly the most ‘multipurpose’ activity you can share with your child. It is scientific – using observation and classification skills. Your child will sort, compare and discuss what they discover. AND your child will be helping with the housework – and it’s good they understand the importance of that!

 What do I need?

  • A basket of clean, matching socks

 How do I do it?

  1. Grab your laundry basket, sit down with your child and take out the socks.
  2. As you do, you can start to ask questions:
    • How many socks are there altogether?
    • How many pairs of socks would that be?
    • What else comes in pairs or twos?
  3. Use these words and phrases: pairs, sorting, the same, different, similar, etc.
  4. Ask your child how else the socks can be sorted –such as:
    • by the wearer (whoever is in the household)
    • by size (smallest to largest)
    • by colour (red, blue, white)
    • by type (sports, school, hiking)
  5. Make two piles – put a sock from each pair in each pile. Take a sock from one pile so the other person can’t see and describe it so they can find the matching pair in their pile.
  6. You can also pose a problem: 6 friends go for a walk on the mountain. How many gloves would they need to have a pair each? Think up other problem-solving questions.
  7. Finally, ask your child to help you pair up the socks! Now that’s a job well done!

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.

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