Children will sort naturally. They really don’t need a lot of special equipment, toys, or materials because they separate, combine, recombine, and organize their “stuff” all of the time. When you simply observe them at play, you will often see them moving their toys around, seemingly in senseless ways. But if you watch and listen closely, you might hear them describe what they are thinking about as they manipulate their objects. It may not be readily evident to you, the observer and adult, that the child is sorting the Legos into piles of “Legos I can use to build this thing I am thinking about,” and “Legos that I don’t want to use to build my thing.” To the child, these 2 descriptions are real categories and provide enough definition for his sorting purposes.
So, do they make good sorting materials for toddlers. Yes – in fact, they do. I like the sorting box pictured above because it has multiple ways of instructing and informing the child’s efforts.
1. The boxes themselves are sized so that only the correct number of objects will fit inside each one. That makes them somewhat self-correcting.
2. They are color-coded – the number on the side of the box appears in the same color as the objects that belong inside. This provides another message about what belongs in each box.
3. The boxes themselves are soft, so there are no sharp edges or corners to bump little heads.
4. The sorting materials are the perfect size for toddler-sized hands.
5. The boxes close and can be stacked, much like nesting boxes (almost like 2 toys in one).
All in all – this is a nice choice for toddlers.
2 Replies to “Sorting Boxes”
I liked the examples given of how children naturally manipulate and sort items. It reminds me to always be aware of opportunities to use Math language.
This is a great activity for spatial awareness!