sorting activity with tongs

This practical life activity is meant for children aged 1-3 years to guide them on how to recognize and classify objects with the help of a pair of tongs.

Sorting objects is a fun early learning activity. The primary purpose of sorting activities is to teach children how to differentiate objects based on color, size, and type. It also helps in language development and teaches classification and movement. 

One can create many sorting activities using objects easily available at the home such as colored balls, pompoms, marbles, clothespins, etc.

Benefits of Performing a Sorting Activity

The activity ‘Sorting with Tongs’ has many benefits, such as

  • Building the child’s hand strength.
  • Developing fine motor skills in the fingers and hands and gross motor skills in the arms and shoulders. 
  • Promoting concentration and coordination. 
  • Providing an opportunity for the child to develop independence.

This helps in the overall development of a child as the child masters the above skills via repetition of tasks or through experimentation.

Points of Interest

1) Whether a child is holding the pair of tongs properly?

2) Is the child able to transfer colored balls in one go?

3) Can the child discriminate between colors?

4) How many colors can a child recognize?

Materials Required to Complete the Activity “Sorting with Tongs”

  • Two identical bowls 
  • A pair of tongs (you can use tweezers also for the sorting activity)
  • 8-10 Small moving objects (such as marbles, large or small beads, pom pom balls, chopped-up fruits/ veggies, etc.)
  • Working mat and tray

How to Introduce the Sorting with Tongs Activity to the Child?

  1. Invite the child to the table and tell them that today we are going to learn how to classify objects based on their colors using a pair of tongs.
  2. Ask the child to tell how many colors they can see in the bowl and name them.
  3. Ask them whether all the balls are of the same size. Let them answer no.
  4. Tell them that’s why we are going to sort balls based on their colors.
  5. Now ask the child to hold the one colored ball using tongs and place it into the egg container.
  6. Again, ask them to pick another color ball and place it into another container
  7. Repeat this process until we have one ball of each color in the egg container.
  8. Now ask the child to pick all the balls one by one and sort them based on their color.
  9. Once the ball is empty and all the balls are sorted, tell the child that this is how we sort things based on color.
  10. Encourage the child to repeat the activity.

Watch the video to find out how to sort objects with tongs based on color.

Related Practical Life Videos:

To watch more Montessori practical life activities video lessons, click here

Video created by: Kata Lovassy


  • What skills does sorting teach?
    • Identify sets and make matches.
    • Classify items by single attributes such as color, size, and type.
    • Classify items by multiple attributes. For example, pink top, etc. In this example, we are classifying pink colored and the cloth type is top.
    • Recognize and create patterns.
    • Understand relations, and functions.
    • Learn to compare based on attributes.
    • Recognize relationships between sets.
  • What is sorting in Montessori? 

Sorting is an activity toddlers enjoy as they enter their sensitive period to develop a sense of order. It helps them to classify and categorize objects. It can be done by using hands, a pair of tongs, or tweezers.


  • Fine Motor skills
  • Practical Life
  • primary level
  • sorting activity