Sorting Activity for Preschoolers

Sorting activities for preschoolers can help young learners with necessary math skills. More than learning numbers, sorting introduces how to group items.

Whether you use basic colors or shapes to talk about sorting, minimize the activity to one type of sorting. Then, you can move on to more challenging ones.

In that way, your preschoolers understand the essential part of sorting and feel successful. 

Benefits of Sorting Activities

Young preschoolers have an innate behavior of sorting the natural world. They see the surroundings as an exploration of wonders.

So, by nature, they will want to sort or group items. For instance, they might want to group toys by colors like red cars and yellow pencils.

This intrinsic behavior is vital for developing math skills. Later on, your preschooler will use this strategy to group numbers and make sense by adding or subtracting.

By encouraging them to sort now will eventually help them in the future. An excellent way to nourish that intuitive feeling of sorting is to start using math words like ‘more than’, ‘less than’, or ‘equal to’.

In that way, your preschoolers engage in using necessary math vocabulary. 

Preschool Sorting Activity

Sorting activities can be simple or challenging. That is, you can have household materials for your preschooler to learn sorting or other games.

More importantly, choose sorting activities that will motivate your preschooler to develop those fundamental sorting skills.

sorting activities


In creating a foundational sorting activity, you’ll need household items. 

  • Two empty paper towel rolls
  • Empty box
  • Crayons or color paint (red, blue, yellow, green, orange)
  • White notebook paper
  • Markers (red, blue, yellow, green, orange)
  • Five clothespins 
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue 
  • Assortment of small objects (red, blue, yellow, green, orange)


  1. Begin by measuring about 4 cm or 1.5 inches on the paper towel roll.
  2. Make small markings to indicate where to cut.
  3. Use the scissors to cut the roll into small pieces of rolls. Set them aside.
  4. Smooth the edges as much as possible.
  5. Color each roll with red, blue, yellow, green, and orange crayons or paint.
  6. You can either paste the rolls as containers into a box with the top cut off or on a piece of a cereal box.
  7. Next, use glue to stick the bottom of the rolls.
  8. Then, adhere to the box.
  9. Place the identifier for each color container.
  10. Use markers to color each designated container. Paste small pieces of color paper to each clothespin.
  11. Then, attach them to each container.
  12. Let the glue set for about 10 minutes before using the sorting activity. 

Sorting Games for Preschoolers

With your sorting box, you can use various ways to encourage your preschool to sort using color.

  • Gather small objects that represent each of the colors in your sorting box.
  • Next, use a timer to motivate your learner to sort as many as possible before the time is up.
  • After that, you can use stickers or other incentives as rewards.

If you have more than one preschooler, you can use the sorting box as a scavenger game.

  • Place the different color items around the room.
  • Then, ask your preschoolers to seek for the objects and place them in the sorting box.
  • You can carry the box as they find the objects around the room.

Also, after looking for all the items, you can place them onto a table. Then, ask your preschoolers how many of each color are there? Are there more blue objects than red ones?

Do you have equal amounts of green and orange objects? These questions will also encourage discussions and deepen the understanding of sorting objects by color. 

Sorting activities generate many benefits besides a fun way to group items. With essential objects in your home, you can create an educational tool that teaches and engages your preschooler.

Sorting is an invaluable skill that will prepare your preschooler beyond math skills and learning for life. 

This preschool activity is ideal for parents and educators that follow the Core Knowledge Curriculum Series or Head Start program.

The learning objective of this activity is I-MR1.2a and II.MR1.2b of the Goal: Sort and Classify Objects or Pictures of Objects.