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2 Easy classification games

Early childhood classification games not only increase children's logical thinking skills but also reinforce math vocabulary.

Children can gain experience sorting and classifying as they play with rocks, leaves, buttons or other household items.

Also, educational supply companies produce learning materials for children to sort, including sorting trays, and classification cards.

As children become familiar with the concept of sorting and classifying objects, play the following games to increase math vocabulary. Keep the games simple and do not add too many terms in each classification activity.

kindergarten math activities

1. Let's Sort

Classification Game Materials:

Sorting mat for each child (card or plastic mat with a line down the middle will do)
Pattern blocks for each child

How to Play:

Ask children to choose a few handfuls of pattern blocks. Show them the edges of the orange square block.

"This is the side of the block. We called an edge. How many edges are there? Count them together. Repeat this with a few other pattern blocks.

Put all your blocks with 4 edges or sides on one side of your mat. The orange squares, red trapezoids, and the blue and beige rhombus will fit into this category. Put the blocks that don't have 4 edges on the other side."

Keep playing the sorting game, but change the characteristic - Put all the blocks with 3 edges on one side. Put all the blocks that do not have 3 edges on the other. Use the correct shape names as you demonstrate.

Integrate math games with science

When children collect leaves, rocks, shells or other objects, use them to reinforce sorting skills and vocabulary. "Susan has sorted the rocks into 2 sets, dull and shiny. How many other ways can we classify our rock collection?"

This kindergarten sorting game gives everyone a chance to discuss their sorting rule.

2. Time to Change

Classification Game Materials:

Items to sort
Sorting mats

How to Play:

  • As always, demonstrate the game first.
  • Give students rocks (or something else) to sort.
  • Have the children's names on cards that are turned over in the center of the carpet.

  • After a few minutes of sorting, remove three name cards from the carpet and get those children to tell you their sorting rule.
  • Then say, "Time to change!"
  • All children sort their rocks in a different way than their first sort.
  • Many will copy others and this is fine.
  • Repeat the process until all the children have had a chance to tell how they sorted their rocks.

Helping Young Children Sort

Tip for classification and sorting When teaching sorting or classification skills in kindergarten, some children will put round buttons on one side and yellow round buttons on the other and tell you these ones are round and these ones are yellow.

Have them finish your sentences. "These buttons are ____. These buttons are not ______." Do this a number of times and they soon get the idea of sorting by one criteria at a time. Have fun teaching sorting and classifying to your students.

Go from "Kindergarten classification games back to kindergarten sorting activities.


Detailed math table of contents:

How to teach math successfully:

Teaching kindergarten and preschool math -  how kids learn math
Kindergarten and preschool math - What skills do I teach?

Teaching math with manipulatives:

Teaching with math manipulatives- helping students get it...
Ten steps to teaching with math manipulatives - an example...
Best math manipulatives - choose products that teach more than one math concept

Teaching math vocabulary:

Vocabulary - how to teach math vocabulary

Specific areas of the math curriculum:


GEOMETRY - What geometry and spatial skills should I teach? Geometry activities
ATTRIBUTE BLOCKS -Teach logical thinking, geometry and spatial sense
SORTING - Develop classification skills with kindergarten sorting games
CLASSIFICATION - teach classification vocabulary an skills with games
SYMMETRY -Teach early learners about symmetry
GEOMETRY GAMES - simple games that reinforce geometry concepts


Pattern 1- what pattern skills do students need to learn? Teaching tips
Pattern 2- ideas and games to recognize, create, copy and extend patterns
Pattern page three - help children know what you mean when you say"pattern"


Number Activities - how to provide experiences that build number sense
Learning Numbers - more activities to help children learn numbers
Number Games - how to improve children's number sense with easy games
Number Skills - what number skills do children need to know?


Graphing 1 - what do I teach? how do kids collect data and organize it?
Graphing 2 - what do we graph? sample graphing lesson
Check out the SCIENCE section for more graphing and data collection ideas


Teaching measurement - how to teach tips, volume, area
Teaching measurement - time, temperature, recording, vocabulary, skills to teach


Teach about money skills & activities
Teach about money with games
Teach about money with fundraising projects


Math & literature connections - books increase mathematical thinking
Ten Apples Up On Top! - open-ended math activity with a Dr. Suess book...
10 Little Rubber Ducks - ideas to promote math with this wonderful Eric Carle story
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo - practice counting, making number sets, ordinal numbers and more
One Hundred Hungry Ants - practice counting larger numbers and comparing single file to sets of 10s

Where's Spot - children make their own simple frame sentence Spot books
10 Black Dots - students create their own 10 black dot arrangements
Share your favorite book that connects math to literature

  Math index- just math pages

Get your free copy of Making Friends One Day at a Time student pages!
Go to Kindergarten-Lessons News to get your FREE printable student book, "Making Friends One Day at a Time".

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