Sort Something

This is a very short prompt/invitation to play today! Short and easy – that’s the best type of prompt, right?

Find something in your house that you have a bunch of. It could be anything. Invite your child to help sort it with you.

This type of activity is going to be best and most interesting with kids from about two to about five years old, depending on what it is that you’re sorting and how novel and interesting it is. As always, take my age estimates for what they are – estimates! You might have something really cool that your six or seven or eight year olds are interested in, and you might have a precocious 18 month old who’s intrigued by the idea or the play materials. Don’t expect kids to be accurate and precise with sorting (especially depending on what attribute you’re sorting by) until they’re 4-5 years old…at three you might see this as an emerging skill.

You could sort things by color, texture, smell, taste, size, whether you like or dislike them…or other attributes you can think of.
You could sort buttons, rocks, scarves, pillows, Fruit Loops, leaves, flowers, the components of Chex Mix, toy cars, pom-poms, silverware, frozen mixed veggies or berries…or anything else you can think of.

You can set this out indoor or outdoor. You can participate in it, or leave them with the loose materials, or a mixture of both (start out playing alongside and then move away).

Don’t tell them they’re doing it wrong if they sort something incorrectly, or just decide to use the loose materials to do something else. After all, kids know what they need from play better than we do!

(Picture is of my son when he was 2y1m. He didn’t know how to sort the buttons, but he loved looking at them with me. I named the colors and shapes of anything he seemed interested in, and he soaked in the language.)

ID: A photo of a young toddler, 2 years old, with a mat in front of him. The mat has assorted buttons of all colors scattered across it. There is one pile of buttons that have the same pink color, sorted together; there is also a line of rainbow-colored buttons to the right. The rest are all mixed together. Across the top of the image is a banner that says “Sorting”.