Montessori for Toddlers: Sorting

“Toddlers”…I guess J is a toddler, I am just having a difficult time letting go of the “baby” in him.

Johannes on the other hand is ready and anxious to be independent.  Lately he wants to do everything himself:  feed himself, unbuckle himself, walk alone, take off shoes alone, unzipper…and the list goes on and on.  Sometimes I forget he’s not even 13 months, this past month has been an incredible transition from baby to toddler.

With all of the developmental changes going on, one common interest seems to be coming through….SORTING.  J is obsessed with taking things out of containers and putting them into new ones.  He could spend hours unpacking his clothing drawers and putting them back in.

sorting activity

Sorting has become our favorite Montessori activity, and its one that keeps him interested for longer than 5 minutes.

At this stage he is still too little for complicated sorting activities so usually we set up the activity like this:

(1) get two containers of the same or slightly different sizes.

(2) fill one container with a number of the same item – ie. lemons.

(3) demonstrate to your toddler HOW to move the items from one container to the next.

(4)  Then once all of the lemons are in the second container, move them back into the original…and so on.

**If the child begins to throw the objects away, or out of the container, show them how to do it again.  If the throwing repeats, end the activity and move on to something else…they might not be ready for it, or they might be bored.**

I personally find with J when he is bored, or an activity is too easy, he generally starts to act out.  He will throw the items down, or just smash them into the ground.  That’s how I know this activity isn’t for him anymore.

We can practice the sorting activity with any objects.  For example, initially I tried to introduce Johannes to coloring with crayons, but at 12 months he just couldn`t figure out how to do it.  However he seemed very interested in taking the crayons out of one container and moving them into the next.  So we went with it.

We gave him 2 clear containers, and let him move the crayons back and forth and back and forth until he was tired of the game and left the table.

With crayons is the same idea as sorting the lemons except a little more difficult and requiring more coordination as the shape is harder to fit.

And at the end the Easter bunny decided to join in the fun….

….except Johannes had had enough.


***I have created a special Montessori thread in the Forum  in case anyone wants more information, wants to discuss what they are doing for their kiddos, or throw around ideas for Montessori related activities etc…  If you’d like to join all you have to do is register and log in.  The thread is located in the Parenting forum.  And you can access the Forum in the top right hand corner of the menu bar or by clicking here.***

I am also linking this post up on Living Montessori Now, if you want to check in and see more great Montessori inspired activities to do with your kiddos.