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Let's Sort it Out!

This week we are going to learn all about classification or sorting. Sorting is an important early math skill because it is the beginning stages of creating patterns and making hypotheses. Read more to see how you can incorporate sorting at home or at school!


Classification is the sorting and grouping of objects based on their similarities and differences of the attributes of those objects. Children will first learn to put objects in their environment in to certain categories or groups with the help of an adult. The concept of creating and naming a set begins at an early age and continues throughout life as a way of connecting information and organizing our world.

Classification begins before children can count. Sorting is an important skill for children to learn because they must learn what to sort before they can decide how many to sort.

Sorting can be tricky! Why? Because you can sort in so many ways! Take a look at this picture:

How would you sort this? Would you...

  • Sort by color?

  • Sort by shape?

  • Sort by texture?

  • Sort by material?

  • Sort by your favorite color?

  • Sort by use?

The possibilities are endless because you decide how to sort. The key to helping children sort is by using O.W.L.: Observing, Watching, Listening. Observe what the child is doing (it might not always be sorting initially). Watch how they sort objects. Listen to their explanation. You can ask children, "Tell me how your sorting" or make a statement such as "It looks like these are all the same. What is the same about them?"

If children are struggling to classify objects, model sorting objects and talking out loud. This allows children to see the thought process. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Remember, sorting can be done in a number of ways!

Looking for extra ways to add in classifying at home or in your classroom? Check out our sorting curriculum box here and watch this video below on sorting with your favorite (or not so favorite) candy!

Happy Mathing,

The ICM Team

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