Sorting Fun!


Activity Description

Children will sort objects based on the five senses.


25-30 min.

Key Outcome(s)

Sort common objects into categories. Name the category for groups of objects.

Materials and Preparation

Prep Time

15-20 min. 


  • We provide: Senses sorting mat’; ‘Modelling senses sorting mats’; ‘Object picture cards’; ‘Modelling object picture cards'. Click HERE to download.
  • You find: Containers or envelopes; Real objects (optional)


  1. Print the ‘senses sorting mat’.
  2. Print the ‘modelling senses sorting mats’.
  3. Print and cut out the ‘object picture cards’.
  4. Gather real objects or print and cut out the ‘modelling object picture cards’.
  5. Gather a container or envelope and place the set of ‘object picture cards’ in it. Place a set of ‘modelling object picture cards’ (or real objects) in a container or envelope (for you).

The Activity

What will we learn?

“Today we’re going to work together to decide how to sort objects!”

What do we know?

  1. "What are the five senses? What can you tell us about them?”
  2. “What does it mean to group or sort objects?”
  3. “How does sorting help us?” (It shows what is the same and what is different. It helps to find things quickly.)
  4. “How can we sort objects based on the senses?”

Watch me first!

  1. Take a ‘modelling object picture card’ (or real object) out of your container (or envelope) and ask the children to name it.
  2. ”What do we usually do with this? Do we see it? Hear it? Smell it? Taste it? Touch it?”
  3. Show children the ‘modelling senses sorting mats’ and discuss the different ways the object can be sorted by sense. Decide on one sense and place the object on the corresponding sorting mat.
  4. With the children’s help, continue to sort a few more objects (or ‘modelling object picture cards’) by deciding which senses we use for the objects. Choose one sense for each object and place objects on their respective sorting mats.”

Let's try it!

  1. Give the child a ‘senses sorting mat’ and a container (or envelope) containing a set of ‘object picture cards’.
  2. “Can you sort the objects based on their senses? Which ones can you see? Feel? Hear? Taste? Smell?” Remind children that there can be more than one way to sort an object.

What did we learn?

  • “Is there another sense group into which you could sort this object? Why would it work in this group too?”
  • ”What did you learn about sorting today?” (There can be many ways to sort the same objects. It helps to show us what is the same and what is different. Sorting helps us to find things quickly.)


To make this activity MORE challenging:

  • Using the provided ‘blank sorting mat’, ask the children to sort the ‘object picture cards’ using two (or more) sense attributes (e.g., a flower can be sorted into a ‘see and smell’ group). Ask them to explain their reasoning.
  • Do not tell the children how to sort and see if they can think of different ways to sort on their own. Use the provided ‘blank sorting mat’ if you wish.
  • Ask the children to sort the ‘object picture cards’ in various ways such as using any two attributes (colour and function: e.g., a brown cow and a brown hen are both animals). Sort using the provided ‘blank sorting mat’ or provided ‘store floorplan’.

To make this activity LESS challenging:

  • Reduce the number of ‘object picture cards’ the children need to sort.
  • Limit the different sense groupings to two (e.g., only sort into the ‘see’ group and the ‘hear’ group on the provided ‘senses sorting mat’).
  • Using the provided ‘blank sorting mat’, ask the children to sort the ‘object picture cards’ in different ways (e.g., by colour only).