• English
    • English Pre-K
      • Unit 1: Early Literacy Skills
        • ABCs
          • Pre-writing Activities
          • Letter A
          • Letter B
          • Letter C
          • Letter D
          • Letter E
          • Letter F
          • Letter G
          • Letter H
          • Letter I
          • Letter J
          • Letter K
          • Letter L
          • Letter M
          • Letter N
          • Letter O
          • Letter P
          • Letter Q
          • Letter R
          • Letter S
          • Letter T
          • Letter U
          • Letter V
          • Letter W
          • Letter X
          • Letter Y
          • Letter Z
        • Phonological Awareness
          • Rhyming Words
          • Letter Sounds B, C, D, and F
          • Letter Sounds G, H, J, and K
          • Letter Sounds L, M, N, and P
          • Letter Sounds Q, R, S, and T
          • Letter Sounds V, W, X, Y, and Z
          • Letter Sounds A, E, and I
          • Letter Sounds O and U
          • Beginning Sounds
          • Matching Letters to Sounds
      • Unit 2: Vocabulary
        • Common Words
          • Sorting Words into Categories
          • Color Words
          • Verbs and Adjectives
        • Sight Words
          • Sight Words 'I' and 'Can'
          • Sight Words 'You' and 'Like'
      • Unit 3: Print Awareness
        • Parts of a Book
          • Working with a Book
          • Spaces Between Words
          • Text and Illustrations
        • Picture Books and Poems
          • Picture Book Text Features
          • Poem Text Features
        • Signs and Labels in the Community
      • Unit 4: Reading Literature
        • Questions About Stories
        • Discussing Stories
      • Unit 5: Reading Informational Texts
        • Retelling Details in a Text
        • Questions About a Text
        • Connections Between Events
        • Text Features
        • Describing Illustrations
  • Math
    • Math for Pre-Kindergarten
      • Logic and Geometry
        • Matching and Sorting
          • Same and Different
          • Which One Is a Little Different?
          • Objects That Go Together
          • Sorting by Color and Size
          • Sorting The Same Group in Different Ways
          • Patterns
        • Shapes
          • Shapes in Our Environment
          • Naming Shapes Regardless of Size
          • Making Shapes in Preschool
          • Comparing Shapes
          • Relative Positions
          • Sorting Shapes
      • Early Number Sense
        • Numbers 1–5
          • Counting to 3
          • Counting to 5
          • Arranging Objects up to 3 Objects
          • Arranging up to 5 Objects
          • Writing Numbers 1–5
      • Numbers up to 10
        • Counting to 10
        • Arranging up to 10 Objects
        • Number 0
        • Writing Numbers 6–10
        • Breaking Down Numbers 6-10

Fruits in the Basket, Veggies in the Bin: Sorting Activities to Develop Your Toddler’s Logical Thinking Skills

shutterstock 1112120495

Old McDonald had a farm, EIEIO, and on the farm, he had a cow, EIEIO. The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town. The melodies flowing in preschools routinely feature common vocabulary. The first song, Old McDonald, identifies animals found on farms. The Wheels on the Bus spotlights materials and patrons on public buses. Your toddler is making connections and noting patterns in the real world.

The logical thinking used to establish categories and sort items and people is paramount in the cognitive growth of your preschooler. Stores, libraries, zoos, and office buildings are structured into departments or groups. Proficiency in sorting and finding structure requires practice and refinement from the earliest stages of development.

Provide real-world opportunities to practice classifying objects to bring order. Fill a basket with articles of clothing for cold, hot, and rainy weather.  Give your little one time and space to grapple with the assortment and attend to common themes. Can your toddler group shirts, pants, and underwear? If so, increase the rigor by encouraging your child to sort by pattern, color, or season. Follow up with this interactive online worksheet from Kids Academy to reinforce new learning. 

s2 Bring on the Fun with Real Life Experiences

It’s okay to get messy sometimes, especially when learning. It’s proven that youngsters learn best with tactile, hands-on experiences. To make time for dramatic play, head outdoors and fill a bin with water and toy dishes. While enjoying the splash zone, encourage your young scholar to wash and sort the cups, plates, spoons, and forks. Enrich the task by adding an outlier to the group. Your toddler should be able to recognize that a toy horse does not fit in with a collection of dishes.

Books, books, and more books are key components to building your preschooler’s repertoire of knowledge. The visual imagery found in bright and detailed illustrations in books and learning flashcards is essential to building knowledge. Your child relies heavily on vivid images to make meaning. If you don’t have flashcards, consider printing and cutting out the images from Kids Academy. Here are some resources that can be used to develop flashcards.


s3 s4 s5 s6

Craft a theme for the week and immerse your toddler with books, songs, and toys to support the theme. One classic favorite is a farm animal theme. Don’t forget to allow your child to develop fine motor skills with these sorting activities from Kids Academy.

s7 s8

Be sure to follow up with our wide range of online videos about sorting common vocabulary, like animals, foods, and more.

Remember, learning should be fun and engaging. Use these activity ideas as quality time with your toddler. Involve friends and family whenever possible. The goal is to build this cognitive skill to the point where your toddler begins to see these patterns on their own.

By: Monica Edwards

English Language Arts Teacher, Curriculum Writer


  1. https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/books/excerpt-from-exploring-math-and-science
  2. https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/sites/default/files/file/adult-social-care-providers/matchingandsorting.pdf