Sorting activities help the child develop reasoning and recognition skills, which will translate to organisational and classification ability later. Such activities can be started once the toddler turns 1 year old.
Sorting can be done in various forms, using different manipulatives. I’m usually looking for ready-made alternatives to complement those that I’ve made myself, and have recently bought a sorting box for G, seeing that it was highly recommended by other mums.
Available online for about $20 – $30
1 year and above
The contents of the sorting box include a wooden box with a removable slotted cover (red). There are a total of 10 slots. In the box, the sections are divided with wooden partitions.
There are a total of 8 panels in different categories: animals, fruits, things we wear, modes of transportation, vegetables, shapes, things found at home and numbers. There are also 80 wooden tiles (4cm x 4cm) with corresponding pictures.
Behind each panel, the english names are indicated.
The back of each tile is similarly labelled.
How to use
It was really easy to setup – simply slot the panel into the groove, and the child is to match and insert the corresponding tiles into the correct slot.
Some of my suggestions
Besides the simple sorting activity, the tiles can be used in multiple ways to maximise the usage. Here are some of my suggestions:
Match words to pictures
Set up the panel so that instead of pictures, the side with words are shown. The child needs to match the pictures to the words.
Or use it without the box!
Use the tiles in linking memory exercises.
Match shapes to colours
Using the shapes and colours tiles, get child to match the colours.
Grouping by category
Use it without the box. Get the child to do classification by category (e.g, sort fruits vs numbers)
Sorting by size/speed/quantity
Using the transportation tiles, get the child to sort the speed from slowest to fastest. Or sort the types of fruit by size. Similarly, can sort the number from smallest to the biggest or vice versa.
Learning how to spell the names of the objects on the tiles
Guess my tile
Place a group of tiles in a bag, and take turns to draw them out. The child needs to guess the animal based on clues given by the parent
Besides working on his sorting skills, the sorting box also tested his fine-motor skills (slotting in) and hand-eye coordination (getting the tiles in the corresponding slots). Initially when G tried it he was only interested in getting the tiles into the slots (any random slots). When I showed him that the purpose was also to match the pictures, he understood, and soon got the hang of sorting into the correct slots. He enjoyed doing it and managed to complete 3 categories (not too bad in my opinion!) before we switched to another activity.
I liked that the box is well-made and sturdy (there is zero risk of breaking it – the risk of damaging the floor is higher). Compartments in the box made it easy to check the answers since the tiles remained in place instead of getting mixed up. The wood finishing was also good, with no splinters or rough edges (which was my initial concern). The tiles are thick enough not to break and will be able to withstand handling by little children.
A worthwhile buy! Good for children from 1 year old onwards, and can even be used till 5 years old (for spelling and linking memory) The range of use depends on your creativity 🙂
Do you have any recommendations for sorting toys?