Erine playing with different colored and shaped blocks.

Sorting and Counting With Blocks

Think flexibly and use working memory to develop early math skills with this fun block sorting activity.


  • Blocks of different colors, sizes and shapes


  1. Find an area in your home where you can spread out the blocks.
  2. Observe the blocks together and talk about their different properties, such as size, shape, and color.
  3. Help your child find one of each shaped block and place them far apart from one another. As you find each shape, name it and count its sides and angles.
  4. Together, think of a strategy to help you remember what you’re sorting by, such as making up a song or rhyme, or repeating the sorting rule out loud over and over.
  5. Sort the rest of the blocks by shape until they are each in a shape pile.
  6. Count the number of blocks in each pile. Which one has the most? Which one has the least?
  7. Have your child reshuffle all of the blocks and ask them to think of a new way to sort. Guide them to think about the different properties of the blocks—size or color. Remember to use your memory strategy!
  8. Continue sorting by different rules. How many ways can you sort the blocks? There are many ways to sort objects. Talk together about how the blocks might fit into one group and also another. For example, a yellow triangular block can be grouped with other triangles and with other yellow blocks. Practice sorting by different rules to encourage your child to think flexibly. Use one of the strategies to help them remember the new rule.

This activity comes to you from the creators of Sesame Street.

Iowa PBS STEAM Activities and Crafts provided by PBS KIDS Parents.