Sorting Colors and Shapes Preschool Math Play

Beginning math activities for preschoolers can be as simple as sorting colors and shapes. A math activity with household items and small toys is easy to set up, and fun for early learners.

 Easy math activity counting and sorting objects 

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Sorting colors and shapes

Preschoolers love collecting and sorting items. Pine cones and acorns they gather on a nature walk can be separated into different containers. Crayons and markers can be lined up in rows for an art activity.

Sorting helps kids recognize color and size variations, as well as different textures and weights. Counting helps kids learn the relationship between a number and the amount (number of things) it represents.

Related: Simple shape sorting

Activities with easy set ups are ones parents and teachers love most, especially when the activities use recyclables or throwaways. We save time and money when we reuse items already conveniently on hand.

In this activity, setup is minimal, and kids can help with preparing the activity if preferred. 

Activities provide even more value if they support independent play. Supplies for the sorting activity in this post can easily be placed on a shelf or table as an invitation for kids to engage in the materials.

Child-led engagement often leads to creative play, using available items in different ways than originally intended.

Supplies for a sorting activity

The good thing about this activity is that it uses everyday materials found around the house or in the toy box, or even in the classroom. 

  • construction paper, two or more colors
  • objects with interesting shapes

Teachers could use school supplies such as rulers and paint brushes to help kids become familiar with the tools they will use in the classroom. 

You could also create a theme, tracing similar items in a set, such as toy cars, blocks, kitchen utensils.


Instructions for a sorting activity

Count and sort with preschool math activities

Gather objects of the same color, even with variations of the color.

Trace around objects with a marker on a piece of construction paper of the same color.

  • The number of objects you trace on the paper will depend on the availability of the color you choose, as well as the age and skill level of the child.


Fun and easy sorting objects activity


That's it! Your color and shape puzzle is ready for play.

You can glue the construction paper to cardboard and cover with clear contact paper to make it more durable and long-lasting. The activity can then become part of your child's daily independent play.

Math on Pinterest


Beginning color and shape recognition activity


Start with one or two colors so kids aren't overwhelmed. Talk about the shapes as kids match them to the outline on the paper.

Which objects are darker shades of yellow, which are lighter?

How many pink objects can we fit on the paper?

Can you find two triangles?


Preschool sorting activity with color and shape early math


More color and shape fun

> Have a scavenger hunt to find objects of a certain color.

> Play the Takeaway game.

  • Place several objects on a table. Remove one under cover of a cloth. Guess which item is removed.

> Play the Which one doesn't belong? game.

Place several objects with a common theme (color or shape) on a table. Include one object that doesn't match the theme. Guess which item doesn't belong.

Preschool math activities are an important part of everyday play.


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