Sorting Material

Early Years
Age 3-6


Kindergarten: Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviour

  • Describe, sort, classify, build, and compare two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures, and describe the location and movement of objects through investigation (#17).


  • Students and teacher will be sitting on the carpet in a circle. ​
  • Students will be working in pairs​.
Plastic animals in different colours


  • Different sets of materials (counters, small bears, buttons etc.)​
  • One set for each pair


  • Students will be working in pairs, with each pair assigned one type of material. ​
  • Tell students that they are to sort that material by one characteristic in whichever way they choose. ​
  • As children are sorting the materials, go around to each pair and ask how they sorted the material. ​
  • Give students the language by saying you sorted by colour or you sorted by size or you sorted by shape. 
  • Ask students how many groups they made. ​
  • Then ask students to sort the materials using a different characteristic. ​
  • When students have finished sorting ask them to explain to the group what characteristics they sorted by.

Look Fors

  • How do children work together to sort the materials? ​
  • Can they verbalize the characteristic they used? ​
  • Are there any unique ways children divide materials into groups? Are they able to divide materials into a new way using a different characteristic?


  • Take away one group from the sorted material and ask students to re-sort their material using a different characteristic.  ​
  • Challenge students by having them try this activity with two different materials together.

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