Math Activities: Sorting & Organizing
As a mom, the words sorting and organizing make me cringe just a little. It brings to mind things like sorting that pile of laundry that’s turned into a replica of Mt. Everest, or organizing that room/cupboard/drawer/enter any place in your house that has become a haven for those things you just don’t quite know what to do with. Basically, it reminds me of a whole lot of work. But sorting and organizing are things that everyone does every day in their heads. Yes, sorting laundry and organizing cupboards fall into this, but it’s deeper than that. Sorting and organizing strategies that our minds use make up the very essence of how we view the world and color many of the decisions we make every day. These skills help our children as they dress themselves, clean their rooms, complete math problems, color pictures, and even influence vocabulary.
With the mind’s ability to sort and organize playing such an important role, you would think that training it to do these tasks well would be a hard thing. That’s where you’d be wrong. The number of activities you can do with your little ones and even not so little ones to strengthen these skills is limitless.
Now why would sorting and organizing even matter or be important to a child’s education? I’m glad you asked. Sorting and organizing items in the house or while doing fun activities is directly related to problem solving and math facts. As they sort and organize objects, they have to learn their similarities and their differences, count the objects, sort by color, and classify by shape or size. Children can use sorting and organizing activities to begin learning numerical concepts, grouping numbers and logical thinking, which is directly related to new Common Core Math standards. This is why helping with laundry or sorting the silverware can help with math concepts as they grow older.
To get you started, here are some ideas to begin the sorting and organizing process with your children at home.
Matching games are a great way to help children sort pictures into similar groups and patterns. I’ve mentioned the game Apples to Apples before. It can help develop the ability to sort and categorize similar and dissimilar words. You can also try playing guessing games. A particularly good one for preschool and kindergartners is one called What’s in the Bag. For this game you put household items in a bag and give them a string of clues until they can guess what’s inside. Then they can have a peek inside and match those clues with the real deal.
Most kids love crafts and art projects so any time we can use them to help with other learning functions, we should jump on it. We can add elements of sorting and organizing to a lot of common crafts. Leaf art is a great place to start. After they gather the leaves and before they start using them to color or make imprints with, have your child sort them into similar types or create specific patterns. Making collages and posters is another good place to start. Have them create ones that are topic specific such as Things that I like or About My Family. Any fun topics will get their little minds working on ideas that will have them sorting and organizing in no time.
Stuff around the house
Cleaning is usually the last thing that our kids what to think about. It’s about as dirty of a word to them as it is to us. But if your kids are anything like mine, they love to help out with the special projects. They probably won’t balk too much if you ask for their help in writing up a department specific grocery list especially if you have one of those handy grocery list apps on your phone and you let them take charge. Have them help you sort the laundry. The young ones should be able to pick up which colors go where pretty quickly and the separation of cold and warm will take that organization one step further. They can also learn a lot if they help sort out the recyclables from the regular garbage and you can teach them a valuable lesson about respecting the planet while you’re at it.
As I said before, the activities you can do to boost these skills are endless. With a little thought and creativity on your part, you can turn just about any task or experience into a brain boosting activity.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs