Preschoolers love to sort, as it comes naturally to them. Creating a sense of order and defining objects give toddlers a way to express and reflect what is going on in their world. To introduce sorting to early learners, begin with simple tasks, such as separating objects into only one category. For example, have them identify all the blue objects. As children become more comfortable and confident with organizing and grouping, additional classifications can be included. Try to have them group all the blue and round objects or separate the blue pieces from the red pieces. To get started, here are seven sorting activities for preschoolers.
7 Sorting Activities for Preschool
1. Rings Color Sorter
Lay out the brightly colored plastic rings on a surface. Allow the rings to be examined by curious eyes and hands. After some time is spent checking them out, begin prompting preschoolers into various sorting activities. Encourage them to identify and group by color and then stack the rings. This activity encourages the basic skills of observation, differentiation and hand-eye coordination.
2. Sorting Stones
Have students familiarize themselves with the stones. Then, mix them all together and begin separating them into matching groups. Stones can be categorized by color or by shape. Use the stones to count or create different patterns. Flip them over and play a matching memory game. This activity reinforces counting, sorting, and pattern recognition skills.
3. Cereal Bracelet
Educational and delicious cereal bracelets will help teach preschoolers about sorting, patterns, and numbers. For this activity, all that is needed is cereal and pipe cleaners. Froot Loops, or a similar colored ring cereal, will work best, as it will be strung on the pipe cleaner. Have children separate the loops by color. Counting them would be fun, too. After they are separated, students can string them on to the pipe cleaner by color, number or pattern. Once finished, twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together to create a bracelet.
4. Number Order
This activity will facilitate learning numbers and number order. Materials needed include a long piece of rope or string, numbers 1-10 written on cardstock or paper, and clothespins. String the rope between two objects. Lay the number cards face down on the floor. Have preschoolers flip them over and sort them into number order (have a reference of the layout for students to use as a guide). Once they feel it is correct, have them attach the number cards to the string with the clothespins. Try incorporating several different colors of the same number to facilitate color sorting, as well. This can also be done with the alphabet, although it may require longer piece of rope.
5. Clothespin Drop
Early learners can practice counting and color identifying with this activity. To play, different colored bins need to be set up with matching colored clothespins. Containers, coffee cans, or any style bin can be painted or dressed with construction paper to represent a particular color. Clothespins can be painted to match. Mix up the colored clothespins. Have students sort the colored clothespins into the matching colored container and then count them.
6. Letter ID
Learning the alphabet is important for every preschooler. Matching and sorting helps toddlers to identify and recognize individual letters. By using a letters and sounds pocket chart sorting kit, early learners will be on their way to discovering the alphabet with this fun sorting activity.
Take the students to the farmers market with this dramatic play and sorting activity. Using realistic looking fruits and vegetables, preschoolers can group them by color, variety, or size. It may even encourage them to eat their vegetables!
Sorting activities introduce the subject of mathematics to early learners. By practicing this important skill, toddlers will be able to recognize colors, shapes, sizes and other attributes that will aid in their future of math, as well as, reading. Sorting teaches children how to identify particular characteristics, compare and contrast them, and then determine which group or classification an object belongs.