Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sorting Activity Using Terracotta Plant Holders

Assalamu aliakum,

Terracotta pots and sorting? Yes. I found these terracotta plant holders (well they aren't really plant holders, they are the dishes that catch the water from the plant but their name escapes me at present) at the local bargain store and picked up a few with gardening in mind. But, they're shallow and small - excellent for sorting!

I decided to do an activity for older toddlers to help them to continue strengthening their sorting skills insha'Allah.
Sorting helps children build important critical thinking skills that will later be used in math and science. It also provides fine motor skill work as well.

This is the game/activity before it is ready to be played. I laminated the pieces that need to be sorted. The pieces are about the size of a quarter and can be easily damaged with frequent handling.

The larger circles have pictures that are identical to the game pieces. Those can be taped into the bottom of the terracotta dishes or if you laminate them, you can simply place them into the bottom of the dish. I think taping them down is good so they don't get lost.

The control of error in the activity is the larger circles that are in the bottom of the dish. They match the game pieces. The child can look into the dish and if one of the pieces/coins does not match the picture in the bottom of the dish, he/she can self-correct insha'Allah. You can read more about control of error in Montessori education here insha'Allah.

The game pieces are placed in front of the child (mixed up) and they are invited to sort the pieces into the correct terracotta dishes.

I intentionally placed pictures in the dishes that are very dissimilar. This will help the child visually discriminate between the two pictures that he/she needs to sort insha'Allah.

Of course, you can use something else other than terracotta pots (smile) for this activity. For toddlers, if the dish is somewhat shallow and allows the toddler to easily see inside while he/she is doing the activity this is great insha'Allah. You can even take two pieces of yarn or string, place them on the floor, place the larger disks inside of the circles and invite the child to do the activity this way insha'Allah.  

You can change the game (and its pieces) to match a theme you are doing: shapes, colours, seasons, food, flowers, toys...the possibilities are many subhana'Allah. You can download the game I used here if you'd like to use it insha'Allah.

Enjoy insha'Allah!


  1. Jazakallahu Khayr (smile)

  2. wonderful idea! I love your creativity and love to Allah and your kids!

  3. I downloaded this but I didn't want to go to the expense of laminating and color printing yet. So I've use materials I had around the home: paper plates, highlighters and a glue stick. I made the small disks out of an incense holder and the large disk out of a CD. We will try this game tomorrow inshallah. Barakallah Feekum


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