We have this book at home, titled “Big Things”. My two older kids went through a stage where they absolutely loved it. They couldn’t get enough of this book. The funny thing is that it only has 3 pages. Three pages with an image of a big thing. There are no words, just a whale, a truck and an elephant. Still, it’s the most popular book ever. I almost forgot about this book until it popped into my line of vision one day and I decided to make a little sorting activity to go with it. Here’s how it goes.
Setting up a simple BIG / small sorting activity for toddlers or preschoolers
Setting up this sorting activity is pretty simple. Walk around your house with a basket and go looking for things, small or big, to go in there. I went through the play kitchen, animal box, construction set, puzzles and finger puppet basket. I even raided the sensory tray and grabbed a couple of random bits and pieces from around the home.
All the items I found went in a basket together. Then I put two bowls on each side labeled “BIG” and “small” and invited my kids to sort all the items in the bigger basket according to what they thought was big or small.
And here’s where it got interesting … my two kids (aged 6 and 3) had two very different ideas of what was big and what was small! It makes sense developmentally speaking and all, still I was taken by surprise to see it in action.
playing the BIG / small sorting game
First, there was this idea that for example the carrot in the basket is a huge carrot compared to the chicken lying next to it, therefor it belongs in the “big” bowl. But it’s very small compared to a car in real life, so it could also go in the “small” bowl. They’re both right.
Second, they sorted actual small items and actual big items in their respective bowls. Like the little soccer ball and the little hen went with the little car in the “small” bowl. The bigger train and carrot went in the “big” bowl. They’re both right again.
Thirdly, we talked about real life sizes conceptualizing how big a real dinosaur would look next to a real rat even though right in front of us, the toy versions have the same size. Hmm, food for thought for a three year old!
I put this sorting activity together on a whim but the kids taught me there’s more to it than meets the eye. As it usually is when teaching little ones. Their minds stretch all kinds of weird and wonderful ways given the chance, and how I love that!
So you might want to think carefully when picking objects depending on your educational goal, if you have one to begin with that is. Doing sorting activities just for fun and taking things as they come is perfectly fine too in my humble opinion.
But anyway, there you have it: a sweet and simple toy sorting activity that will be fun and challenge the little ones. Enjoy!
Learning through Play and Fun with Books
can be is fun and they are A TON of fun loving creative parents in the world documenting their journeys and sharing golden nuggets of tips and ideas. Should you be looking for more fun learning activities for preschoolers? My Pinterest board would be a good place to scroll to infinity and beyond grabbing a bunch of great fun learning ideas in one go. Or if you don’t have days to spare, visit my friend Clarissa who will be your one stop expert and of course Pre-K Pages should it not already be on your radar!
While educational activities are not “our thing” (except this one!), we do love books and we have quite a few little gems of creative book activities lined up for the toddler and preschool crowd. Our favorites are Goodnight Gorilla story basket and the Old MacDonald story basket, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt sensory small world, the Little Yellow Digger sensory bin and the Three Billy Goats Gruff play dough invitation!
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