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The Great Laundry Sort

SORTING! It’s a major math skill that we often overlook.

Sorting helps our little ones discern differences and similarities, learn how to create categories, and begin to problem solve. Imagine how helpful sorting is in your everyday life. You sort silverware, clothing, and toys all to create organized systems in your home. At the grocery store, items are sorted by categories for ease and efficiency of shopping. Recess at schools is most often sorted by grade level to keep kids of the same age together. Sorting happens all the time, and kids need to know how to sort in more than one way in order to make sense of new information as they process the world around them.

Ways to Sort:

  • size
  • color
  • shape
  • use of item
  • texture
  • smell
  • taste
  • sound
  • interest
  • so many more ways!

How do you develop this skill?

-Encourage your child to sort the same objects in more than one way.

-Have them to come up with HOW they sort the objects.

Being able to sort the same group of objects in more than one way shows diversity in thinking. It also engages us to problem solve: What is the best way to sort? If we sort clothing in a store by color, how will our customer find shorts? Going the step further and asking your child to describe HOW they want to sort gives us insight into how our child views the world: Is the size of something a bigger factor than its function?

I had a giant pile of clean laundry I ignored for about 3 days. I asked Big Sis how we should sort it. She decided by color, so we did that and problem solved as things had more than one color or pattern. But color wasn’t a practical way to sort laundry. I asked her how we could sort the laundry to make it easier to put away. She said “by house room.” She then made a kitchen pile, a baby pile, mommy and daddy pile and her own. Of course then her sister came and ruined it but that’s life!


  1. Get some clean laundry. I know you are all have laundry that needs to be put away.
  2. Ask your child, "How should we sort this laundry?"
  3. Have your child sort the laundry in the way he/she suggested.
  4. Suggest, "How can we sort this laundry another way?"
  5. See if your child can come up with another way to categorize the same group of objects, and if not, ask your child about solving a specific problem like, "How would we organize this to put it away in the easiest way?"
May 17, 2021

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