10 Math Skills Children Can Learn From Laundry Detergent Lids, Part 2 of 4

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Can you sort the blue lids?

Math Skill 4: Classification and Sorting

Have you ever noticed kids sorting their candy, Matchbox™ cars, or Legos®? Sorting and classifying objects are beginning math skills. Classifying is grouping objects by a common attribute, such as lids. (1)

One Characteristic

After toddlers learn colors they can begin to classify objects by one characteristic, usually color. Say, “Let’s sort the lids by color. Can you sort the red lids? . . .  What about the blue lids? . . . Now the yellow lids.”

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More advanced colors: gray, black, white, brown and pink

Several Colors

Gradually preschoolers can sort several colors at one time. Have the child try the secondary colors: orange, purple and green. More advanced colors in my lid collection are black, white, gray, and pink. What color lids did you collect?

Math Skill 5: Order

While children play with objects, they discover ways to order items to meet their needs. For example, a child could stack the lids to create a tower or make stairs. Ask, “What can you make with the lids?”

Adding Items

Tonight my grandchildren used the detergent lids, added glass rocks and served us delicious ice cream. Kids might fit the lids inside one another.

Using the lids, preschoolers can order the lids from smallest to largest. At first, give younger children 3 or 4 lids to sequence. Gradually add more sizes to sequence. Eventually children can sequence the lids on their own.

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Which lid is…?

Math Skill 6: Spatial Relationships

The lids provide a great opportunity for children to learn words and concepts about how objects are related to one another in space. For example: over, under, behind, next to, on, off, beside, in front of, outside, inside, and in the middle. (2)

Dump the lids out and look at the arrangement of the lids. Think of questions you can ask kids about spatial relationships. Based on my photo of lids, I can ask, “Which lid is in front of the red lid? . . . Which lid is behind the brown lid? . . . Which lid is next to the red lid?”



1. When children arrange materials in a graduated …

www.highscope.org/file/PDFs/EYC3rdCh14sampleMathSeriation.pdf, p. 397.

2. Math and Science for Preschoolers ppt. ksuweb.kennesaw.edu/~rjeansig/Math and Science for…

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