With these sorting lesson plans for preschoolers, teaching children to compare and sort will be a breeze! You’ll have your preschoolers comparing, ordering, and sorting before you know it. With easy to prep materials and a scope and sequence for the whole unit, this is one math skill that will be effortless to plan for.
Preschool Sorting Activities
The challenging part about teaching young children is there is such a large range of abilities among preschool children. While they all learn and grow at different times, this can certainly make my job as a teacher a little more complicated.
So, when I sit down and do my lesson planning, I am challenged to develop appropriate activities that will the needs of all of my learners. That’s why I created a preschool math curriculum so that I can ensure that the lessons, activities, and centers are designed to develop the math skills of every. single. learner.
I poured my heart into designing my preschool math curriculum. I knew it needed to spiral and review key concepts multiple times throughout the year, gradually increasing in difficulty. This approach is ideal because it covers math topics throughout the entire year. This allows children more time for mastery and an opportunity to increase the rigor of each lesson.
With that being said, teaching sorting to preschoolers is much more than just grouping colors or sizes. It invites children to observe, and classify. Preschool classification activities that promote critical thinking encourage children to think of their own sorting rules and find ways to re-sort in a new way.
FAQ About Sorting with Preschoolers
Once children understand what differences and similarities are, they are able to comprehend how to put things into like groups. Sorting may begin with sorting items that are big/small, sorting by color, or by shape.
Sorting and grouping things together is an important skill. It requires logical thinking and problem-solving, especially as the sorting attributes get more complicated (such as sorting with two or more attributes). Sorting also teaches your toddler to notice similarities and differences, learn to classify and categorize and develop early academic skills in literacy and mathematics.
Preschoolers learn to sort by just one attribute at a time. A great way to encourage children to learn to sort is by sorting first by color. Use color sorting mats and encourage your students to group by color. Provide children with rainbow buttons, pom poms, or geometric shapes. Encourage children to find their own sorting rules… Ask questions like, “How did you sort your items? What attribute is in this group? Why are the red and blue animals together? Oh, they all have tails?” Sorting is lots of fun when the options are endless!
Comparing and Sorting Hands-On Supplies
This curriculum is designed to be low-prep and utilize the same supplies during each math unit. Buy it once, and use them over and over again for different learning purposes! Take a look at some of the resources we use for each unit. These items are staples for any early childhood math curriculum.
All About Sorting Lesson Plans
The sorting lessons for preschoolers are designed for up to a five-day-week program, but activities within a week can be removed and skipped for two or three-day-week programs. There are lots of sorting and classifying activities that encourage fine motor skill development and of course, learning to sort objects of all shapes, colors, sizes, and attributes!
Discovery Activities/Math Photo Cards
The discovery activities are so much fun! Each week contains a real photograph or illustration for the children to interact with. The photo relates to the concept and encourages oral language and math vocabulary development. Plus, the vibrant photos expose children to different places, animals, and cultures. It’s easy to see that math really is everywhere in our daily lives!
The math photo card example below shows glass jars filled with different items and a variation of the color blue. This colorful photo offers a chance for young learners to see how we sort and compare even with our own classroom items. Each photo card includes mathematical points, teaching tips, and engaging questions to encourage your children to think about each photo through a mathematical lens.
The daily dip is a review activity to reinforce previously taught skills. You will notice valuable teaching tips throughout the review lessons. These tips offer insight to help execute specific strategies in
the lessons. This section is optional depending on time and student needs but is certainly a valuable component of each day.
The photo below examples of the first week of the comparing and sorting unit.
Teach and Engage
The teach and engage section is a brand new daily lesson for your students packed with new learning. This component of the curriculum includes lots of modeling and student interaction. Each lesson includes a bonus section that offers tips on how to make the lesson more challenging and provides extensions for children who are ready for more difficulty.
Sorting Centers for Preschoolers
Sorting centers are invaluable in preschool. We have included lots of fun sorting activities that allow for children to independently practice with engaging manipulatives. Remember independent centers should always be supervised in preschool and kindergarten.
Attribute Sorting Mats
These attribute mats are a great way to help your preschoolers practice sorting by size, color, and shape. Using attribute blocks, this hands-on center will challenge your preschoolers to describe and compare.
This game has two levels of difficulty – perfect for differentiating for your students. Children can match shapes regardless of color OR match both shape and color. Lay the cards out face down and invite students to take turns choosing a card and use their memory to remember where the match is. Or children can match real attribute buttons to each card.
Everyday Shapes Clip Cards
This center is print and play! Invite children to identify the solid shape first then clip the shapes the everyday shapes that match the large shape. To make it self-correcting, place a dot on the back of the card for each correct answer.
Roll and Cover Color Sorting
This fun color sorting activity invites children to roll a color die and find a matching colored item. Taking turns, play continues until all the objects are covered up with a colored game marker. This is a cooperative game and encourages children to share and build social skills at the same time.
This game is designed to help children sort in a more challenging way. Sorting by animals that have a tail, have two or four legs, even animals that live on land and those that do not. To begin, start with just a few animals and talk through what we notice about each animal. Then, help students to sort. This center is a great way to practice sorting in new ways and help children think of sorting beyond the standard size, shape, and color.
Shapes and Colors
In this sorting center, children are encouraged to sort in three ways, one being how to combine the two attributes (red and circles) to make a new sorting category. This center helps children come up with their own sorting rules and encourages them to classify the objects in different ways.
Sorting Shapes Board Game
This sorting board game is an enaging and cooperative way to practice sorting! Students will roll a die and use game markers to move along the game board, collecting the shape they land on as they go. Once they reach the finish line, they count all the collected shapes. Great for building shape and counting skills!
Sorting Size Jars
This sorting activity for preschoolers is great for helping children learn and compare sizes and the terms, small, medium, and large. If you have real jars, students can also practice filling those up and sorting the shapes by size ad labeling the jar to match.
Math to Literacy Connections
We have also included eight optional literacy activities that infuse math picture books. Children learn through colorful illustrations and storytelling. These eight picture books bring sorting to life and build upon other math skills (counting, colors, patterns) as well.
Grab these fantastic books about sorting here!
The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid
A House for Birdie by Stuart J. Murphy
Five Creatures by Emily Jenkin
The Crayola Sorting Book by Jodie Shepherd
Sort it Out by Barbara Mariconda
A Pair of Socks by Great Source
Sorting at the Market by Tracey Steffora
Three Little Firefighters by Stuart J. Murphy
Get Your Sorting Lesson Plans for Preschoolers Here
The daily lessons in comparing and sorting are completed and ready to use! Filled with daily lesson plans, centers, activities, and even literacy connections, this sorting unit is all you’ll need for your preschool lessons.
Looking for a Preschool Math Curriculum for the Whole Year?
We’ve got you covered! From sorting to graphing, counting to shapes, this preschool math curriculum is loaded with engaging activities, literacy connections, and daily photo cards to spark the joy in math.
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I am an educator, book enthusiast, and a stay at home momma to two precious and long-awaited littles. My degree is in Early Childhood Education and Curriculum and Instruction and I have spent the last 15 years working with young children. I feel very fortunate to have this time to watch my babies grow and I can’t wait to share my passion for learning and reading with you!