Why is matching and sorting important?
Learning these important key skills as a toddler will begin to develop your child’s cognitive ability and initial number skills. This will stimulate and improve memory, concentration and language skills giving your child, a head start when starting at school.
Matching and sorting is an effective activity to develop fine motor control, coordination and concentration. Developing competent matching skills will enable toddlers to begin to recognise letters and sounds in order to expand their language skills and vocabulary.
Threading cotton reels or chunky bead, sorting shapes and stacking bricks are all valuable activities to enable your toddler to refine cognitive ability and fine motor skills.
Toddlers learn through play and repeating the same activities again and again. So, it is important to provide positive play opportunities to develop these skills.
Your toddler will enjoy sorting items and become increasingly more capable in matching them to comparable items or identifying colour or function. This success will continue to boost your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
Ideas for Matching and Sorting…
Create a collection of distinct types of items to sort and containers to sort them into, in a larger ‘matching and sorting’ toy box for your toddler.
It will be helpful to save containers to use for matching and sorting games with your toddler, tissue boxes, plastic trays and baby wipe tubs are all useful for this purpose.
Please Note: Check to ensure there are no cracks or broken edges that might hurt your child and replace any damaged items in the ‘sorting box’ regularly.
Items can be sorted into several types or categories. Try to include items that utilise all five of your toddler’s senses. This will provide a powerful learning experience in applying different senses together.
Listening to instructions, picking up objects, looking and thinking about what to next. All these are useful skills to develop and refine for decision making and problem solving as your child grows.
Activities using matching and sorting skills…
Lego bricks are always useful for matching and sorting games. These clever little bricks come in varying sizes, shapes and colours. They can be sorted into many types of categories, red bricks into the red beaker etc. Each category can then be built into towers, houses etc of each colour, shape or size.
A challenging game for younger toddlers, is to collect colourful, identical pairs of safe objects and mix them up on a tray or table top and let your child choose an object and then find its pair. Put each matched pair together at the side until the game is finished. Then your toddler can see how clever they were to match all the items.
It is best to start with two or three pairs and increase the number of items as they get more proficient. This game can be played with older children, who will be able to play this game matching three or more of the same item.
Depending on your toddler’s capability, beakers or boxes with numbers 1 – 5 on the side, can either have the correct number of beads or bricks counted into them or counters with the numbers 1 – 5 can be matched to the container with the correct corresponding number.
There are many educational games to be purchased which will support matching, sorting and threading skills to develop your child’s senses and cognitive abilities.
Although many ordinary everyday tasks will also reinforce these skills and it can be beneficial to be aware of the importance of these type of activities for positive development.
After all, it is a fine skill for a seven-year-old to be competent enough to match their socks or shoes!
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