Teaching preschool children how to “sort” things is incredibly beneficial, as it helps them to learn how to better understand the world around them, and how they can categorize things.
This can help them with their memory retention, as it teaches them to recognize the connections between certain things so that they can more easily process the often over-stimulating world around them.
But easily the best way to teach sorting is to tie it to some kind of activity or game, to keep the children engaged while teaching important skills.
Read on below to discover some of the best sorting activities that you can try out with your preschoolers now!
Grab a bunch of colorful plastic rings and allow the children to interact with them. Allow them to explore the various colors that adorn them, and the shape of the rings.
Then, ask that the children sort the rings into groups based on their colors.
This will encourage the children to take note of the colors and memorize where those colors are to be sent as part of the game.
This game is great because it helps to teach children how to observe different characteristics but also teaches them some basic hand-eye coordination.
You can help to further improve fine motor skills by asking the children to stack the rings on specific surfaces!
Make Some Cereal Bracelets
In order to enjoy this activity, you will need to buy a box of fruit loops and lay them out on the table.
Give each child a length of string that fits around their wrists, and then encourage them to add the froot loops to the string like beads.
This will encourage the children to be creative, as they will have to make choices based on what color combinations they like.
As they seek out specific colors, they will naturally begin to sort the froot loops out.
You can make this even more effective by asking them to make a consistent pattern.
Numbers are incredibly versatile when it comes to teaching sorting.
One activity you can try out involves laying out some large cards with numbers on them on the floor and then asking the children to put them in numerical order.
It may take them some time at first, but make sure to encourage them as they slowly begin to get the correct order.
This will slowly reinforce the correct numerical order.
Numbers And Colors
To make things a little more challenging, you can also grab number cards with five unique colors on two of the cards. For example, 3 and 6 may be colored green, while 2 and 4 are colored red.
Then, in between asking the children to organize by number, you can also ask them to organize the cards into five pairs based on color.
This encourages the children to listen carefully to your instructions so that they can sort the cards correctly.
This particular activity may require that you purchase some extra elements to maximize the fun and effectiveness.
Learning how to categorize things in the world around them is a great way for children to learn how to process their lives and the things that happen in them.
This can include categorizing zoo and farm animals or categorizing fruit and vegetables.
Grab some animal toys, and ask the children to move them into their distinct ‘farm’ or ‘zoo’ categories!
A further extension of the activities based on categorization can include categorizing things based on how they are organized in the alphabet.
Lay out a bunch of items in front of the children, and then encourage them to organize them based on their first letters.
It may prove even more effective if you provide them with an alphabet chart so that they can organize, say, all things beginning with ‘C’ in front of the letter ‘C’ on the chart.
This will help them to internalize the alphabet, and help with their spelling.
If you find that any children need a little bit of help memorizing the alphabet, then a simple activity you can try out is to lay out cards each with a different letter on it.
Then, simply ask that the children order the letters by alphabetical order! Make sure to encourage them as they do this activity, to promote growth.
You can make it a little more challenging by taking away certain letter cards so that the children have to rely on their memories a little more in order to sort the letters.
If your preschool has access to a dollhouse, then this is a great activity that can be used to help children better understand what each room in a home is used for, and how each of the items in those rooms fit in.
Take all of the furniture out of the dollhouse, and then ask the children to categorize the furniture and appliances based on the rooms they belong in together.
This allows the children to memorize where each item goes, to better understand that certain things belong in certain places.
It also allows the children to be a little bit creative, as they can choose how to organize each room!
Kids love playing with blocks. Though they are simple, blocks are incredibly versatile because you can do so many things with them, such as stack them or use them to build structures.
You can also use blocks to teach sorting, by asking the children to sort the blocks based on different defining characteristics.
For example, you could tell the children to sort all of the blocks that belong to the same color group or ask them to sort them based on their unique shapes.
This allows you to find many different ways to ask them to sort, while still using the same objects.
You can also implement the values of sorting into end-of-day tasks such as tidying up.
When you ask the children to tidy up toys, materials, and other objects, you could ask them to correctly organize each thing into their own distinct storage areas.
For example, you could label one box in the room “Toys”, and another box “Paints”. This will teach the children to identify the shared characteristics of objects and then sort accordingly.
This also helps to make the often laborious chore of tidying a little more engaging for the children.
A great way that kids can learn to sort things is to play “Shop”. Have one child play a shopkeeper who must fulfill the orders of customers at the shop.
Have the other children request certain groups of items, such as vegetables, and then the shopkeeper must hand over all items that meet that description.
Make sure to change who is the shopkeeper every few times.
Odd One Out
To further develop the ability to sort, it can also be useful to teach the children to recognize when certain things have not been sorted correctly.
Take the categorizing game from earlier, but set out the things in categories for the children. Then, ask the children to identify anything you have put into the wrong category.
For example, you could place a lion into the “Farm Animals” category.
Print out a bunch of patterns onto cards, and then ask the children to group the cards up by the matching patterns. For example, the children could match up cards that have zig-zag patterns.
This teaches children how to observe the visual differences between things.
Another activity to help with number memorization is to have the children sort things based on amounts.
Grab some small beads and place groups of certain amounts into clear plastic cups. For example, one cup could have two beads, whereas another has six.
Then, ask the children to organize the cups from the fewest beads to the most.
This helps the children to visualize the differences between certain numbers in a logical way.
This one may be a little more challenging, but you could also have the children sort things based on weight.
For example, you could ask them to hold an item and determine whether it is “heavy” or “light”, and then put it into the correct category.
This helps to teach the kids how to distinguish differences in slightly more abstract ways that are not immediately visible.
Make sure to try out some of these activities with your class, as they each offer a very different experience, but each help the children to learn how to sort and categorize things in the world around them.
Make sure to be patient with the children, so that they can learn at their own unique paces.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Skills Does Sorting Develop?
The act of sorting teaches numerous skills, such as basic literacy and numeracy, but also teaches children to develop schemas that can be used to help them understand the world around them.
How Do You Make A Sorting Activity Fun?
A simple way to make any sorting activity fun is to include elements that the children enjoy.
For example, try incorporating animal toys into categorization activities so that there is an element of play and creativity involved with the activity.
Why Is Sorting Important In Daily Life?
Sorting is very important in daily life because it helps us to make sense of an often chaotic world to help promote a sense of calm. It also makes it easier to carry out tasks.