Preschool Sorting Activity Using Recycled Denim Pockets

A homemade pocket organizer provides counting and matching games to support early math skills. This fun sorting activity is easy to make with recycled denim pockets.

preschool math homemade sorting game

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Do you have a well-worn pair of 'denims' you're about to send to the landfill?

This project is a great way to recycle an item of clothing, while creating a fun activity for your preschooler.

Simply remove the pockets from denim jeans to use in a homemade sorting game.

The fabric panel for the game is easy to make with or without a sewing machine.


Related: Jar Lids Sorting Activity


Preschool math activity with denim pockets


This DIY project is a fun way to start a conversation around recycling with your kids.

This might include repurposing or recycling clothing in the following ways:

  • sending to donation boxes or nearly-new retail
  • sharing with friends and relatives
  • reusing as cleaning rags or drop cloths
  • keeping on hand as kids paint shirts

Teachers and parents appreciate finding ways to recycle materials to provide opportunities for learning through play.

A pocket chart is such a fun way to recycle denim!

Before sending your worn out 'denims' to the landfill, create this denim pockets game.


 Math Activities  Pinterest board


Supplies for pocket panel

  • denim pockets
  • fabric panel
  • dowel 


We used a sewing machine for this project but you can also sew the pockets on by hand.


Recycle denim pockets for math games with preschoolers


1. Remove denim pockets from clothing.

2. Lay the pockets onto a fabric panel. Pin in place.

3. Stitch three sides, leaving the top open. 

4. Fold over the top of the panel to make a rod pocket. Stitch in place

5. Insert a dowel for hanging the panel.

How to play math games


Math for kids using denim pockets


Sort colors:

Stitch felt squares of different colors to the pockets or apply with a glue gun.

  • Insert the foam shape into the pocket with the matching color.


Preschool sorting and counting math games


Sort numbers:

Stitch or glue numerals on each pocket.

  • In this example we used paper numerals.

Collect items that will fit in the pockets for counting and sorting.


prek math homemade activity with recyclables


Decorate pockets to reinforce counting skills.

  • In this example we used self-adhesive stars and foam numerals.
  • We used a deck of cards with images and numerals along with the items such as craft sticks and feathers.

Hang the panel on a wall or door where it is accessible. Kids can choose from a variety of materials you provide, or simply find objects that will fit in the pockets. 

This is a great activity for engaging fine motor, counting and reasoning skills.

 recycle denim for a preschool math activity


Everybody in the early learning community loves a simple DIY, especially when it can be done with supplies on hand. This is one project that does just that.

A denim pocket 'chart' is fun math play for early learners, and a great way to recycle your favorite pair of worn jeans.  


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