Children often naturally begin to categorize and group toys based on similarities. You may find that they even begin to compare things as they build towers out of blocks and try to determine which is taller. Sorting is an early math skill that, believe it or not, is connected to algebra as it includes the understanding of relationships and patterns. When children develop strong sorting skills they often have an easier time with more complex tasks like matching, creating and identifying patterns, and many more. Encouraging your child to sort items based on color and size is a great first step in developing these important skills.
As your child explores the world around them, they naturally will try to describe and name objects that they interact with. They are quickly building their vocabulary in order to talk about all of the amazing discoveries they make on a daily basis. Many early reading books focus on the skill of identifying colors, and for good reason! Penguins Love Colors by S. Aspinall was a favorite in our house: the little penguins each paint a flower of a different color. Encourage your child to try to figure out which flower belongs to each penguin! Planting a Rainbow by L. Ehlert is another classic. This book integrates vegetables in a garden and the concepts of colors into one breathtaking story.
Colors are one of the first ways that your preschooler will use to describe things. You may find that your child sorts their toys based on color. You can encourage this by talking about the different colors that make up their toys. Children will begin to discover that different objects can be the same color, but different hues. Outdoors is a great place to explore this concept. Children are amazed to see that grass and a leaf on a tree are different shades of the color green. Comparing objects that are the same color but different hues is fascinating to a preschool child.
Here are a few simple items that you can use to encourage your child to sort based on color:
This video takes your child into the garden for a real world application of sorting objects based on size and color!
The Three Little Pigs are painting their houses! Your child will love helping them match the paintbrush to the correct paint bucket. As your child completes this activity, encourage them to use color words to explain their thinking.
Your child will take a deep dive into sorting by colors with this fun video!
Size is another way that your child will begin to describe items. To sort based on size your child will need to compare items and determine which is bigger and which is smaller. This requires that children have an understanding of basic measurement concepts. Encourage your child to build block towers and compare which is taller and which is shorter. Go on a rock hunt and compare sizes. Decide what comparison words you will use like big, medium and small and sort the rocks together!
This activity encourages your child to sort adorable foxes based on size. Encourage your child to use the words big, medium and small as they decide which size for each fox.
Sorting objects is an activity that children are naturally drawn to and one that they enjoy. Use our catalog to find even more ways to foster a love of learning in your child!
By: Nora Brown
Elementary School Teacher