Materials: different types of noodles, small bowls for sorting
Important Note: Educators have differing feelings on the use food in the classroom for non-eating activities. If you feel strongly about this, please feel free to sub in rocks, shells, buttons, or another non-edible material.
Sorting is an important early learning activity for a variety of reasons. One of those is visual perception. Visual perception is what allows a child to recognize the same letters in different fonts, the subtle difference between the letter S and the number 5, recognize familiar faces, and eventually read maps.
Sorting objects that are very similar, but with subtle differences is a great way to practice visual perception. This is what makes pasta such a good material for this activity.
Put out a tray or plate 3-5 different types of uncooked pasta noodles. Place one type of pasta in each bowl. Challenge your kids to sort the remaining noodles by type.
- Encourage a child to sort in a new way-- what other features can they sort by?
- If a child is struggling, ask questions to better understand their thinking. Maybe they're sorting it by their own rules!
- Ask them to describe the differences between the types of noodles.
What We're Learning:
- visual discrimination
- pre-math skills like sorting and categorization
- language and vocabulary development
- fine motor development