Image by: Martin Howard

Pebble Sorting

Age Range
3-4 yrs
Setup Time
2 minutes!
Setup Location

It is commonplace to think counting and recognizing numbers are the nuts and bolts of preschool math. While these are important skills for young mathematicians to master, building a foundation for complex mathematical thinking begins in the early childhood years. Sorting and classifying objects helps children begin to notice how items are alike and different, and creates an awareness that is vital for math learning.

Kids who are used to comparing and contrasting do better in mathematics.

Sorting pebbles is a great way to engage your child in sensorial play while strengthening their ability to make comparisons and relational assessments.


  1. Collect pebbles of various sizes

  2. Your child can sort the pebbles into two baskets marked ‘BIG’ and ‘small’

  3. Alternatively, you can use colored pebbles to sort by color

  4. For older children, help them sort into various baskets marked 'tiny', 'small', 'big', huge - helping them assess and gauge the sizes. You can also introduce the weight concept as you compare different pebbles

  5. For older children, you can make this a more complex exercise by sorting the pebbles by size AND color!

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.