5 Quick toddler sorting activities to keep your little one busy
Toddler sorting activities give us so many opportunities. As children grow they start to explore and try to make sense of the world. Part of that is trying to organise and control the things around them. Sorting activities allow children to match and categorise objects to show what they know and understand. Identifying colours, shapes and even textures helps children recognise similarities and differences between objects. These early skills form the basis of organisation and reasoning essential to early Maths, Science and Musical understanding.
So enough about the why, lets dive in with 5 Easy toddler sorting activities that don’t require any special equipment… and only take 30 seconds to set up. We use these when PJ is napping so I’m trying to keep the noise down, or while I’m cooking dinner to keep Freddy busy and once I started looking for sorting activities I realised they are everywhere.
I have a confession. I have a party draw full of all the leftovers from different parties over the years… plates, napkins, disposable cutlery. It’s not environmentally friendly which is why I’m hanging on to them, so I never need to buy again. What it does mean is I have a big mixed bag of different knives, forks, spoons, in a variety of sizes and colours. So, this one was simple to set up… I emptied the bag on to the dining room table so Freddy could see them all and we talked about what we noticed. He could already identify knives, forks and spoons so we started off with sorting to this. Once we had this sorted, we started to divide the spoons into different types etc… All in all this one took about 30 seconds to set up and kept Freddy busy for a long time as he happily chatted about what he saw.
2. Toddler sorting activities: Lego sort
I knew all my Ikea plates would come in handy. All those colours have so much potential. Another 30 second set up with no prep or organisation needed. I handed Freddy his box of lego and surrounded him with the plates. We then looked at what colours the plates came in. I asked him to find one piece of lego to match each plate. Once I saw he could do this I left him to it. When I came back, I noticed when it came to the people he has a little more challenged. Some he sorted by hair colour and others by shirt colour. It came down to what stood out most with each piece, so consistency is now something we are talking about. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this earlier. It’s the perfect toddler sorting activity to get you started.
3. Sorting mixed vegetables – Carrot, corn and peas.
This one came up when I was late to serve dinner. I could tell Freddy was getting restless and hungry so I gave him his Vegies in a bowl and handed him Orange, Yellow and Green cups – again, thank you Ikea… We talked about the lego sorting we had done a few days earlier and he cottoned on how to sort them very quickly and was very keen to eat his handywork at the end.
4. Toddler Sorting Activities: a deck of cards (either by colour or suit)
For this one all you need is a set of cards. It doesn’t even have to be a full deck so the old one with cards missing is perfect. I sat with Freddy and looked at the cards and talked about them first as this was the first time he had seen them. Then we talked about what they had in common. Initially we sorted them in to Red and Black. Then we looked closely and noticed there was two shapes for red : Heart and Diamond. Also Club and Spades in black. Freddy then sorted these out. I also removed the K,Q, J cards from the deck as well because the images all had both black and red. Though, next time I’ll probably leave them in to see what he does with them.
5. Food sort…. fruit loops.
I haven’t tried this one yet with the fruit loops but I’m planning to give it a go this weekend after we do the weekly grocery shop. Instead I was inspired by a post I saw on Pinterest. Not only can you sort by colour but also thread them on to a pipe cleaner. Sorting and motor control skills in one. Winning!! A more simplified version of this could also be done with other foods like mixed dried lentils, coloured dry pasta if you have it, or even just mixed varieties of pasta. Any little leftover dried foods you have sitting in your pantry can be all put into a container to become a sorting activity.
So there you have it, here are 5 easy sorting activities that require no prep or organisation to help you keep your toddler entertained.
Love freebies, VIP specials and all of the parenting tips and tricks? Make sure you’ve signed up to our email list so you don’t miss out on what’s happening. And don’t worry – we only send out emails 2-4 per month when we have stuff on or new blogs coming out.