As Baby approaches the 18 month mark, you may begin to notice that he is beginning to develop an increased interest in sorting and organizing. This is because he is starting to understand that objects can be classified by characteristics that are alike.
How it begins
Many toys aimed at young children offer the option of organizing, which encourages toddlers to think about where objects go, and why. For example, Baby may begin matching two like objects together when completing a puzzle, making the connection between similar items. Other toys, like shape sorters, spark the idea in his mind that each item of a certain shape must be organized with its counterparts.
The benefits of sorting
While it’s certainly adorable to watch Baby put everything blue in one corner of the room, it’s also a sign that he has reached a developmental milestone. By joining more than two alike objects, he is officially sorting, and acknowledging that he understands the objects’ similarities. It may not even always be obvious, why Baby is grouping a certain set of objects together. Understanding how he interprets the similarities will give you a chance to look at how he understands and connects related objects. Another benefit? Sorting can keep a toddler very busy!
For parents who are interested in encouraging sorting, it’s easy to make a game out of sorting around the house. Ask Baby to find some items in the room that are soft, round, orange, or whatever other category comes to mind. Not only will he have fun playing this game with you, but it’s also a great way for him to build his vocabulary and making word associations as he groups items together. You can also encourage creative play by like objects by color, then building a rainbow, to make sorting even more entertaining.
Setting the stage
Sure, Baby is too young to tackle tough algebra problems just yet, but sorting and organizing is actually an early math skill. By grouping objects, he is learning about adding more of one item, and taking away what doesn’t belong. Early organizing will also have its benefits at home as Baby grows. For example, it’ll be helpful when he is giving you a hand with cleanup as you put toys away, and with more advanced household chores as he gets older. Yup, you can sort that one into the “win” category!