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Made in Advance: Sorting Game

This easy activity can be prepared in advance and whipped out when you need something quick. It can be used for small groups of most ages.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:

What you will need:

Small (but not too small to avoid any risk of children choking) multicoloured items of distinct shapes. Ideally, each item should have at least 2, ideally 3, distinguishing features (colour, shape, size), such as:

Photo by NEOSiAM 2021 from Pexels

Doing the activity:

Depending on the age and ability of the children, you can increase or decrease the number of different items in the game. So, for a simpler version it may be useful just to use spoons and beanbags, or for a more advanced version it may be useful to have socks, beanbags, cups, spoons, forks and pine cones in the mix!

For younger children, encourage them to select items by name or colour. For older children, enable them to sort the items into different tubs/buckets using different features. For example, sorting by:

  • Colour
  • Size
  • Texture (rough or smooth)
  • Light or heavy
  • Hard or soft

You could also encourage children to exercise their maths skills by counting how many objects there are in a set, e.g. “How many spoons? How many blue things?”.

Tracking the activity:

16-26 months

Communication and Language: Understanding: “Selects familiar objects by name and will go and find objects when asked, or identify objects from a group.”

Mathematics: Numbers: “Beginning to organise and categorise objects, e.g. putting all the teddy bears together or teddies and cars in separate piles.; Says some counting words randomly.”

Mathematics: Shape, space and measure: “Enjoys filling and emptying containers.”

22-36 months

Communication and Language: Understanding: “Developing understanding of simple concepts (e.g. big/little).”

Mathematics: Numbers: “Selects a small number of objects from a group when asked, for example, ‘please give me one’, ‘please give me two’.”

Mathematics: Shape, space and measure: “Beginning to categorise objects according to properties such as shape or size.; Begins to use the language of size.”

30-50 months

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Self-confidence and self-awareness: “Enjoys responsibility of carrying out small tasks.”

Mathematics: Numbers: “Uses some number names accurately in play.; Recites numbers in order to 10.; Knows that numbers identify how many objects are in a set.”

Mathematics: Shape, space and measure: “Shows awareness of similarities of shapes in the environment.”

40-60+ months

Mathematics: Numbers: “Counts objects to 10, and beginning to count beyond 10.; Counts out up to six objects from a larger group.; Counts an irregular arrangement of up to ten objects.; Estimates how many objects they can see and checks by counting them.; Uses the language of ‘more’ and ‘fewer’ to compare two sets of objects.; Finds the total number of items in two groups by counting all of them.”

Mathematics: Shape, space and measure: “Orders two or three items by length or height.; Orders two items by weight or capacity.”