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Sorting and classifying are fundamental parts of life and are used on a daily basis. Forming "classes" is an essential element of mathematical reasoning, as it is the basis for all conceptual development.

Sorting activities should always begin with real objects before moving on to toys and typical educational materials.

Sorting activities should begin with two very different objects before moving on to similar objects, and three or more objects.

ROCKS OR SHELLS

  • big/little
  • smooth/rough
  • white/brown

FRUITS

  • peeled/unpeeled
  • whole/half/sliced, etc.
  • color

BEANS

  • big/little
  • brown/white (pinto/lima)

VEGGIES

  • edible/non-edible
  • color
  • cooked/raw

NUTS

  • pecans/walnuts, etc.
  • whole/half
  • shelled/unshelled

EDIBLES VS. NON-EDIBLES

COINS

  • big/little
  • thick/thin
  • copper/silver

LETTERS

  • 3-D/1-D (magnetic vs. print)
  • A/B, etc.
  • Capital/lower case

PENCILS

  • long/short
  • fat/thin
  • sharpened/unsharpened

NUMBERS

  • 1 item glued on card/2 items
  • ½, etc.

CRAYONS

  • red/blue, etc.
  • big/little
  • thick/thin
  • round/flat

CANS

  • big/little
  • heavy/light
  • full/empty
  • by contents of can

SNACK FOODS

  • cereal/raisins
  • goldfish crackers/M&Ms
  • cookies/crackers
  • weight
  • type
  • shapes
  • numbers

SILVERWARE

  • forks/spoons, etc.
  • big/little
  • metal/plastic

You can also sort by size, shape and color. Following are some examples to use when sorting by shape.

RECTANGLE

  • kleenex box
  • video tapes
  • picture frame
  • cassette tapes
  • books envelope
  • egg cartons
  • new bars of soap
  • hand towels

SIZE

SQUARE

  • cracker
  • computer discs
  • bread slices
  • wash cloth

COLOR

CIRCLE

  • balls
  • life savers
  • banana slices
  • cookies
  • crackers
  • lids
  • donuts

COMPOSITE MATERIAL

  • metal/wood
  • plastic/glass