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The Importance of Sorting Activities in Kindergarten

Most people think of sorting activities as something that is done at the very beginning of kindergarten and in preschool. This is true for sorting by color, shape, size, etc. but can extend far beyond that!

The Importance of Sorting


Sorting skills are some of the most foundational work we do in kindergarten, but I doubt you realize how often you sort things in your adult life.

Laundry, dishes, trash and recycling are all sorting activities that we’ve put on auto-pilot. Prioritizing and sorting bills and work projects is an essential part of daily life.

Learning the basics of sorting builds the following skills:

  • Identifying that a single item has more than one attribute that it can be sorted by.
  • Foundational learning for higher order problem solving skills.
  • Strengthens memory skills as students hold rule(s) in their mind while sorting.
  • Grows essential executive functioning skills that become automated later in life (as mentioned above).

What sorting activities are right for kindergarten?

While most of us start the year with color or shape sorting, we can expand this activity into more complex concepts.

Sorts should be used in whole group instruction, guided reading, small group math, centers, assessment, and RTI.

When sorting concepts make sure to use high-quality images that are easy for the students to understand (especially if you are having them work independently at a center).

Sorting Ideas:

  • Uppercase vs lowercase letters
  • Beginning, medial, ending sounds
  • Beginning/ending blends and digraphs
  • Vowel teams and r-controlled vowels
  • Length of objects
  • Even or odd
  • 2D/3D Shapes
  • Coins
  • Science concepts – living vs non-living, magnets, recycling, etc.
  • Social Studies – emotions, behavior choices, rules, etc.

The great thing about sorting activities is there are many ways to differentiate. You can have a sorting center where one group works on beginning sounds, while another one works on vowel teams.

Sorting Activities and Resources

Here are a few sorting activities that might work in your classroom. I have a TON of sorting resources in my store because I truly believe it’s an essential kindergarten skill!

Looking to test drive my phonics sorting resources? Grab a free preview of my beginning sounds worksheets by filling out the info below:

Sorting activities in kindergarten give students an opportunity to explore a concept and master a skill. What are your favorite sorting activities for your classroom? Comment below!

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