Have you tried any sorting and classifying activities with your child? Some of these activities could work from around 2.5 years however we've used these with our child at three years. Before doing each activity we need to make sure the child has a good understanding of the topic.
Here Otto (3yrs) is sorting animals by how many legs they have. I have written the numbers on the sorting mat and he is only sorting animals with two, four and eight legs.
For a younger child, we could sort animals with 2 legs and 4 legs.
For an older child, we could sort animals as Unipedal (1 leg), Bipedal (2 legs), Quadrupedal (4 legs), Hexapedal (6 legs), Octapedal (8 legs) and Decapedal (10 legs)!
We are using models and replicas for our sorting like Toobs objects. I find my child is more engaged with sorting when we use models. However, they are lots of Montessori style printables on sites like Etsy or Teachers Pay Teachers that are suitable for printing and sorting. In these examples, I have provided a lot of models. I find my child is really enjoying these sorting activities and more models mean he spends more time on it.
For our sorting activities, we are using Transparent Sorting Mats c/o Modern Teaching Aids. The mats make it easy for me to put together the activity, I simply write the labels at the top of each section.
While it may appear like a simple activity, sorting by number of legs raised a few questions. Do kangaroos have two or four legs? I allowed Otto to decide, I asked him what he thought and he decided that Kangaroos have two legs. But this could lead to further research.
Sorting: plant / animal
We can also sort plants and animals. If we had more models we could also sort plants, animals and fungi. This seems simple but it is laying the foundation for later classification activities. My child is a pre-reader, for all of these activities I've put one animal in each section to get started and for the first time it's presented we do the work together.
Sorting: feathers / fur / scales / skin
This is a fun sorting activity for children who like animals. Here we are sorting feathers, fur, scales and skin.
This is a fantastic classifying activity of living and non-living.
As Otto has been responding really well to these sorting activities I'll be presenting and sharing more soon.