Sorting helps young children aged 2-5 years old make sense of the world around them. Children are constantly collecting and sorting objects they see in their surroundings based on their color, size, shape, texture, smell and how we use them. In this hands-on activity, children will practice sorting a group of items in many different ways.
This activity will help your child:
- Practice sorting a group of items in many different ways
- Identify shapes regardless of their size or orientation
- Construction paper, cardboard or an empty cereal box
- Crayons, markers or a pencil
- Index cards
1. Help your child draw four triangles, two circles, two squares and two rectangles of different sizes. Make your triangles different from each other by drawing sides of equal and different lengths. To make an equilateral triangle, make sure all the sides are the same length. A scalene triangle has sides of all different sizes, while an isosceles triangle has two equal sides. You can draw the shapes on a cereal box, construction paper, index cards or any other material you have at home.
2. Have fun coloring your shapes with crayons, markers or a pencil.
3. Cut out the shapes and spread them out on a flat surface for easy sorting.
4. Look at the collection of shapes together and talk about the different attributes you notice. Ask your child, "Are the shapes the same size?" "Are all your shapes round, or do some of them have corners?" and "Are your shapes in different colors?"
5. Sort the shapes by shape type. Use the index cards to make a label for the types of shapes you sorted. Count how many of each shape there are.
6. Sort the shapes by color. Use the index cards to make a label for the colors you sorted. Count how many shapes of each color there are.
7. Sort the shapes by size. Use the index cards to make a label for the sizes you sorted. Count how many big and small shapes there are.
8. Talk with your child about all the ways you sorted the collection of shapes. Can you think of other ways you can sort them?
Keep the Conversation Going
- Watch this video clip of PBS KIDS’ “Peg + Cat.” In the clip, Peg and Cat work together to clean Peg's room by sorting objects.
- Take out two forks, two spoons and two butter knives and mix them all together. Have your child sort them by their type.
- As you are folding laundry, ask your child to sort the items of clothing by color or size. Have them match up the socks with you.
- “Sort it Out!” written by Barbara Mariconda and illustrated by Sherry Rogers
- “A Pair of Socks” written by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
- “Opuestos: Mexican Folk Art Opposites in English and Spanish” by Cynthia Weill, featuring wood sculptures from Oaxaca by Quirino and Martín Santiago
Preschool Learning Foundations
- AF.1.1. Sort and classify objects by one attribute into two or more groups, with increasing accuracy.
- PK.1.1 Identify, describe, and construct a variety of different shapes, including variations of a circle, triangle, rectangle, square, and other shapes.
Common Core State Standards
- CCSS.Math.Content.K.MD.B.3. Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.
- CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.G.A.2. Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.