12 Quick Tools to Teach Sorting in Kindergarten


Let’s teach kindergarteners how to sort with some creative ideas that are easy to implement. Here are sorting activities, a sorting song, and kindergarten videos on sorting objects to help you teach sorting.

Tools to Teach Sorting in Kindergarten

Sorting is a basic skill covered in most kindergarten curriculums.

In fact, the common core standards state students should be able to classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.

The most common categories you’ll find kindergarten teachers using are sorting by:

Now that we know it’s what we need to teach, let’s look at my favorite sorting activities that are easy to use, a sorting song, and some sorting videos – all for kindergarten.

Sorting activities

Here are my favorite sorting activities for kindergarten.

Learn to sort by category using sorting mats

I came up with the idea for sorting mats because I had kinders that needed visuals to go with the different ways we sort.

They needed a picture to go with the words “sort by shape” or “sort by vertices.”

Sorting keys in different ways

So I made icons – and that was a great starting place. I labeled the top of a paper with these icons and they quickly became workmats for my students.

I laminated mine and added a comb to the top so each student in a small group had their own booklet of 4 sorting mats.

Sorting manipulatives in different ways in kindergarten

No matter what kinds of manipulatives you have (keys, buttons, shape pasta, counters) these are great for small group or individual practice.

These sorting mats are a free download. Print as many sets as you need.

Use games to practice labeling how objects are sorted

There is sorting… and then there is looking at how some objects have already been sorted and identify how they’ve been sorted.

This additional skill is included in most sorting standards in kindergarten. And it can be a trickier concept for some kinders.

I have had a group that really struggled with this so I needed new ways to practice the concept. I turned what we did with the sorting mats into a puzzle.

Puzzles to learn how to sort by different ways

These are large two-piece puzzles. These are just tricky enough to get them trying to figure out the sorting rule and look at what the sorted groups had in common.

Once they had this skill down it was time to practice more. That’s where this sorting bingo comes into play.

The bingo game mat practiced recognizing how objects were sorted. Bingo is so classic and in this case, it works!

Bingo game for sorting by category in kindergarten

The teacher is the caller and shows the calling card. Students must look for a set of buttons sorted in the same way to put a bingo chip on their board. First one with three-in-a-row wins!

Make matches

Here are a few free sorting activities I’ve found from other teachers that work on sorting objects in one way.

free sorting by shape activity cards
source: kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com

Give students the opportunity to sort by shape using this printable penguins and igloos activity.

free sorting by color activity cards
source: sweetsoundsofkindergarten.com

Let students sort color cards to practice sorting by color.

free sorting by shape blocks activity
source: whatwedoallday.com

Or have students create their own sorting mat to show how they sort by shape on large bulletin board paper.

You don’t have to use solid shapes to use this idea – just use whatever shape manipulatives you have on hand.

Sorting song

I’m a fan of singing to teach in kindergarten.

When I taught a lesson whole group on sorting and then again in small groups, I’d use the same song to reinforce the language of “sorting” and “sorting by (category).”

Sorting song for kindergarten

This little sorting song – or ditty – is easy to sing or hum while students are working away.

You can get the printable words poster for this song too so you can use it in your classroom.

Sorting videos

Need quick videos to support your lessons on sorting? I’ve got your back. These teacher-recommended videos are perfect for kindergarten.

Sorting into two groups

See how objects can be sorted into two groups by color and healthy and unhealthy foods. This video is good to use for introducing the concept of sorting.

Sorting by color and size

Students learn to sort objects by color and size using picking fruits and vegetables (a real-world example). It’s a quick video that young students may be able to connect to.

Practice sorting into two groups – using kind and shape as categories. If you give your students a whiteboard in their laps, pause this video at 3:40 and let students draw out their solution to sort by shape.

Sorting in different ways

Explore how to sort objects in different ways using a leaf pile as an example. Students see how to sort by kind, size, and color. This is great to model for kids when you need to ask them, “What’s another way you can sort these objects?”

Sort, organize and compare

Now, when your students understand how to sort, it’s time to teach them to organize and compare their work.

In most cases, this means organizing their manipulatives on a graph and counting to see which has the most and which has the least.

To work on this set of skills, try these two things.

Sorting objects then putting onto a graph in kindergarten

Remember those sorting mats from above? I eventually added a simple graph at the end of the workmats so they could take their sorted piles and organize their “data” to analyze or count once they had successfully learned to sort objects in multiple ways.

The simple graph is included in that free download.

Fuzz bugs sorting game online

Then let students sort, organize, and count virtually by playing this fuzzbugs game online.

Let’s wrap it up

There you have it – simple activities, a song and videos make it easier for you to teach sorting and make it easier for your kinders to master.

I hope having this collection of ideas in one place can save you time.

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

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  1. WOW, what a treasure of information. This post has my head spinning with ideas, I want to do them all on Monday (LOL). It also gives me great talking points to explain the importance of sorting to parents. You’re really a blessing to us. Thank you for sharing your gift.

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