Sorting cutlery, sorting fresh laundry, sorting toys back into their boxes – sorting is done on a daily basis. 


Sorting requires a child to be able to pay attention long enough to recognise objects that are the same, and put them together, and do the same for everything else. It typically requires a longer attention span than simple matching. A child who learns this skill can not only become more independent, but maybe even help with simple, everyday chores.

Teaching Sorting

Before getting to natural, everyday activities, some children need the skill of Sorting broken down in a structured manner first. Similar to the Matching lesson, Sorting has a set of recommended levels from easiest to hardest: 


  • Identical 3D Objects
  • Identical 2D Pictures
  • Colours
  • Shapes
  • Non-identical 3D objects
  • Non-identical 2D pictures
  • Natural sorting at home

The difference would be that a child will be given an increasing number of repeated items that they will then ‘Sort’ into different piles. 

Materials You Will Need

To teach any of these levels, we will need at least 5 categories of objects, each with at least 3 items in them for sorting. For example, if we are doing the ‘Identical 3D Objects’ level, we need 5 categories of objects, like cups, spoons, forks, bowls and plates. Then, for each object, we will need at least three identical versions. 

Teaching Procedure (1 field matching)

Teach Matching by using 1 field (sorting one object only), then increasing to 2 and 3 fields (sorting 2 or 3 categories of objects).


  1. Put one object down on the table for the child to refer to.
  2. Then, give them the rest of the objects, saying, “Sort.”
  3. The child should sort all the objects into the correct place. 
  4. When they do, praise them by saying, “Good sorting!”
  5. Repeat this procedure 2 to 3 times, and reinforce the child for a job well done.

Teaching Procedure (3 field matching)

  1. Put three objects down to sort to instead of one, and repeat the same procedure above. 


The above teaching procedure can be used for teaching all levels of Sorting. Sometimes, it helps to include a base or tupperware for the child to more easily sort items into as there are clear boundaries.


Once a child reaches ‘Natural sorting at home’, it is ideal to use items in one’s own home and even Sort at the relevant locations.

Your Turn

  1. Test if your child is able to Sort, and if they can, how many different levels. Remember, some children already have this skill, while some children need to learn it.
  2. If your child needs to learn Sorting, teach them sorting according to the demonstration you saw in this lesson.
  3. Think of at least 3 ways to generalise Sorting in everyday life.