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Grimm's bowls and grapat loose parts for sorting

Day 8 - Sorting

Alexis Ralphs Sep 22 • 7 min read

Day 8 - Sorting - 30 Days to Learn Through Play

Following on from yesterday's post on spot the difference, today we look at sorting.

Spot the difference, which begins with light/dark and sound/silence, is binary. Sorting is more subtle. It's still about difference, but there are more variables. It's not just either/or. Does this bead go in the red, blue or green pot?

You can often choose to sort by different characteristics. Group marbles by size or colour; blocks by material or shape.

The faster you can sort and identify something, the faster you will be able to understand it. What similarities does it share with things I'm already familiar with? Can I make assumptions about it based on what I already know about similar objects? This kind of pattern-recognition really speeds learning up. If you already speak a foreign language, it's much easier to learn another one. You already know what to look for. You know that there will be vocab to learn, verb tables and pronouns. You won't be starting from scratch. You'll already know so much about how verbs work that learning new ones will be much easier.

Threading with beads is one of the very best sorting activities. First gather the beads and sort them into pots. Will you do so by colour or size? Or even both? And then how will you use them? A pattern of large-small-large or yellow-white-yellow?

You are learning to classify, to decide what's important for the task at hand. It's a necklace for Granny. I know she likes yellow so I will sort by colour.

Soon you'll be a master at 20 questions.

Animal, mineral or vegetable?

Today's challenge:

Offer your child a box of loose parts. This could be pebbles, beads or even loose-part toys like those by @joguines_grapat. And, of course, a set of bowls or boxes into which to sort them. Exactly how your child chooses to classify is irrelevant. They will classify in a way that makes sense to them, and that's what matters.

Here's the rest of the series:


Day 1 - Theories of Development

Day 2 - Stages of Play

Day 3 - Play is Multisensory

Day 4 - Gender-Neutral Toys

Day 5 - The Zone of Proximal Development

Day 6 - Heuristic Play

Day 7 - Spot the Difference

Day 8 - Sorting

Day 9 - Schemas

Day 10 - Ask good questions

Day 11 - Conservation

Day 12 - Seriation

Day 13 - Observation

Day 14 - Set a good example

Day 15 - Fewer toys = more focus

Day 16 - The Hundred Languages of Children

Day 17 - Plan-do-review

Day 18 - Practical life

Day 19 - Free-flow play

Day 20 - Executive functions

Day 21 - Spaced repetition

Day 22 - Independent play

Day 23 - Project-based Learning

Day 24 - The Environment As The Third Teacher

Day 25 - Start With The Child

Day 26 - Symbolic Play

Day 27 - Learning To Write

Day 28 - Blocks: the indispensable toy

Day 29 - Outdoor Learning

Day 30 - Play

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