Students benefit from having lots of experiences sorting, comparing and classifying objects before participating in patterning activities. In the image on the left, a child sorted stamps with animal pictures on top and stamps without animal pictures on the bottom.
Use everyday items to create simple kindergarten sorting games. Provide opportunities for children to sort or group things by shape, number, color or texture.
As children play sorting games, vocabulary such as classifying, groups, sets, categories, same, different, fewer, longer, heavier, lighter can be introduced.
Sorting Skills: What Do Children Need to Know?
When playing kindergarten sorting games, consideration that the students are working towards:
- knowing what is meant by the terms, “sort” or “categorize”
- sorting the same objects in many different ways – e.g. using buttons again – sort by size, then by color, then by number of holes, then by shiny or dull, etc.
Kindergarten Math Sorting Games
The purpose of this kindergarten sorting game is to help children focus on one sorting characteristic.
- Two pieces of different colored card about 8.5″ by 11″
- Similar items that can be sorted in many ways. e.g. old keys or buttons or plastic toy animals (choose one set)
How to Play:
- Put one piece of card beside the other with a space between them.
- Pick up a gold key from the pile. Say, “This key can go on this paper.”Choose a silver-colored key and say, “This key can’t go on the paper ” and put it on the other paper.
- Sort a few more keys, verbalizing, “this key can.. this key can’t…”, then ask, “What am I thinking?”
- Children try to guess the sorting rule. In this case I am sorting by color, gold keys are on one piece of card, keys that are not gold are placed on the other piece of card.
- When the children get the idea, choose more difficult sorting rules. e.g. keys with round holes go on one paper, keys without round holes do not; keys with words stamped on them go on one paper, keys without words go on the other; small keys go on one side, keys that are not small go on the other side.
- Repeat game with different objects
This kindergarten sorting game can be repeated with numerous objects. Buttons are inexpensive and have many different characteristics that can be sorted.
Buttons that are round go on one card, buttons that are not round go on the other; buttons with four holes go on one card, buttons that do not have four holes go on the other. Wooden blocks work well for sorting activities as well.
When introducing kindergarten sorting games, do not talk about two ideas at a time. e.g. yellow blocks and red blocks. Start by sorting yellow blocks and blocks that are not yellow.
If you are using keys don’t talk about keys with round holes and keys with square holes.
Say keys with round holes go on one piece of card and keys that do not have round holes go on the other piece of card. When children grasp this idea, introduce more complex sorting.