Sorting by Size and Color

Use a School Readiness Activity to provide early mathematics thinking experiences for preschool children that will prepare them to do well in the early grades.
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Sorting by Size and Color


  • To review and recall sorting and classifying
  • To sort
  • To compare sizes and colors

For each child: outline of a bear on yellow or light brown construction paper
For each group: 4 paper plates with one type of pocket glued to each: small orange, large orange, small green, large green
A variety of loose paper pockets in two sizes and two colors (green and orange).
Prepare ahead of time. For the enrichment activity, add patterns to some of the pockets, such as red stripes and red polka dots.

Literature Suggestion
Read A Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman, or another book that lends itself to a discussion of pockets.

sorting     size
alike different
color orange
green large

Ask children to recall what the little bear, Corduroy, wanted for his overalls (a pocket), or hold up any stuffed animal and tell the children that it wants a pocket.
Ask children to find their pockets. Ask, "How can pockets be different?" (size, color, shape)


  • Give each child a variety of paper pockets. Hold up one from each category and have them identified to make sure all children know orange and green and large and small. Using a think-aloud approach, model sorting the pockets. Example: "Here's a large orange pocket. It goes on the plate for large orange pockets. Here's a small green pocket. Green is different from orange, but this green pocket doesn't belong with the large green pockets. It's different in another way because it's small. It goes on the plate for small green pockets."
  • Invite children to help you by continuing to sort the pockets into subgroups. Help them figure out where the pockets go according to size and color. To promote sorting skills, encourage children to talk about how the objects are alike and different as they place them into the subgroups.
  • After children have sorted the pockets, give them each a bear outline. Children can then choose a pocket of their liking, attach it to the bear (glue, tape, staple, etc.) and draw a face and clothes on the bear.
Prepare some pockets of the same color that are different sizes and have different patterns on them, for example, red stripes and red polka dots. Help children sort the pockets according to size and pattern.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child can sort materials according to size and color.
  • In Process - Child can sort according to color, but confuses sizes.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child does not yet sort according to color or size.
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