The Best Ways to Practice Classification, Categorization, and Sorting Skills in Preschoolers

Classification, categorization, and sorting skills are the basics of understanding and mathematical skills that come naturally to most children. Many kids enjoy sorting activities at a very young age – you have probably watched your child naturally sort objects according to their characteristics such as color, size, or shape without being taught or instructed to do so. 


Classification is one of the necessary cognitive skills that involve the systematic item grouping by their attributes or type. Developing the ability to classify things they see or experience helps kids understand the world around them and organize their existing knowledge.

Activities that boost classification skills at a young age prepare children for school, helping them learn classification systems such as mathematics or biology. 


Categorization is another essential skill that requires children to recognize and discriminate objects before categorizing them into different groups by similar attributes. Categorization is a critical cognitive skill that helps kids understand similarities and differences and make connections between things around them.


Sorting involves recognizing patterns and understanding relationships between sets of objects. Kids who develop good sorting skills can identify patterns, understand their functions and relations, and make connections between different groups. 

Identifying various characteristics of an item, comparing and organizing it with other things is at the core of logical thinking. 

Logical thinking is an essential cognitive skill that can be applied not only to math and other school concepts but also to daily life. 

Although most children naturally sort and classify items according to their attributes, some activities can boost these skills. Here are some ideas to improve your child’s classification, categorization, and sorting skills.

  1. Encourage Free Play

Early math skills develop naturally through day-to-day experiences. Kids develop and learn through play and daily stimulation at home and early learning settings. Unstructured play allows children to practice problem-solving, build language, use their senses, and discover how things work. 

Encourage your child to make their classifications – ask them to collect small items that are different and discuss their color, shape, size, texture, function, etc. 

  1. Nurture Hands-On Experiences

Kids naturally learn through exploration and hands-on experiences. Encourage your child to engage with concrete, real-life objects. These activities help children to make connections and practice counting and numeracy. 

To foster classification, categorization, and sorting skills in young children, provide a range of toys such as

  • Sorting toys (shape sorters, etc.)
  • Blocks
  • Stacking rings
  • Construction sets
  • Puzzles
  • Nesting cups  
  • The wooden abacus

Also, encourage art and sensory play, as these activities can improve categorization, sorting, memory, and problem-solving skills.

  1. Introduce Educational Applications and Games

Educational apps and games for kids bring innovation to traditional learning. Research has shown that educational games and applications can boost creative thinking, foster executive skills, and engage children in problem-solving. 

They follow the child’s natural curiosity and spark interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, helping kids develop new skills while having fun.

Check out the following fun and engaging online games to boost your child’s classification, categorization, and sorting skills. Also, these educational apps for kids can promote other skills such as visual perception, conceptualization, fine motor, language, and more.