Once your child has learnt match colors, we move on to sorting which is essentially an extension of matching. When similar objects are grouped into categories it’s called sorting.
Sorting helps children to see patterns and differences, which helps in overall cognitive development, especially math. Sorting is not only an essential math skill but also helps us make sense of the world. We receive so much information everyday and are constantly sorting in our head without even realizing. Hence sorting is an essential skill and we can start teaching this to our toddlers with colors, shapes and numbers. Color is usually the easiest category to teach sorting.
How to teach color sorting to my toddler?
We think sorting activities are more successful when matching is involved. So rather than using two empty bins usings coloured water that corresponds to the color of the ball makes it easier for the child. Initially try keeping objects identical so that the only characteristic that is changing is color. Sensory table from Curious Cub comes very handy when setting up DIYs.
Once they are comfortable with 2-3 color sorting we can also move on to a sorting tray. Sorting tray has divided spaces. If you don’t have it, a cupcake tray works just fine too. In the sorting tray there are no hints provided with color matching bowls so it’s harder for the child.
Once your child has mastered basic sorting, you can introduce sorting where there are more variants (eg all different objects but can be grouped by color). Keep in mind not to keep color options limited to 2 or 3, and number of objects to under 3 in each color.
This is harder than a typical color sorting activity as they now need to think which slot to drop the coin. So it uses advanced problem solving skills. Don’t be surprised if your child knows color sorting and does this activity all jumbled up. So we recommend starting with only 1 color initially to avoid frustration. The Color Sorter is from Level 11 Montessori Box of Curious Cub
When they are doing an activity avoid correcting in the middle. This just tells us they are not ready yet and need us to model again. Keep in mind we want learning to be fun for the child. So if it’s causing frustration put away the activity for a few weeks before reintroducing it again.