Cognitive: Sorting by Concept

Ages: 18 to 24 months

Materials: work mat, 12 objects (6 of each concept–for example, thread, napkin rings, coins, bottle caps), 2 identical baskets (or other container), container to hold the objects


  1. Prepare the work and get out the mat.
  2. With the work facing the child and the mat between you, remove the baskets from the tray, place them on the mat, and the container with the objects in front.
  3. Demonstrate the activity by taking an object from the container and placing it in basket on the left.
  4. Take an object from the opposite concept, inspect it, compare to the object in the first basket, and then place it in the basket on the right.
  5. Continue to sort the objects, pausing every so often to compare the objects to show the child that they are different.
  6. Invite the child to do the work himself.
  7. When he or she finishes, have them return the work to the shelf.

Extension: As the child continues with this work, you can add up to 6 different concepts (6 items each) to sort. With the more concepts to sort, you may want to forgo the baskets and have the child sort the objects in rows on a work mat.

1 comment… add one

  • Jessie November 17, 2010, 1:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing this lesson. There are so many ways to make this work, I bet you gave some parents some great ideas here!

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