75+ Sorting Mats for Kindergarten Centers

What’s your favorite activity in the classroom that you can’t live without? For me, it’s these hands-on sorting mats for kindergarten centers! They are so much fun to use. With many categories for sorting, this activity makes for good and endless fun. This activity can be used throughout the year too-no need to wait for a specific season or period to start sorting.

I like using real objects to practice sorting, but when they’re not available I turn to the ones closest as possible: photographs.

I upgraded our sorting mats by using real photos for an excellent all-around activity that’s great practice for young learners. 

Sure enough, these sorting mats are a hit with kids! I often get requests from individual students to let them have this sorting bundle. The games I play with them using the sorting mats are fast favorites with the kids.

Sorting mats for shapes: circle, rectangle and star with picture cards.

Sometimes, I let the kids choose what activity they like in their spare time, and they immediately make a beeline to where I store the mats.

Are you ready to discover more about our Sorting Mats for Kindergarten Centers? This blog post will guide you.

Must-Have Hands-on Sorting Mats for Kindergarten Centers

Aside from sorting real things, using photos for sorting mats helps kids relate more to their environment. For example, when sorting by color, they will learn the usual colors for certain things (like pumpkins are orange and elephants are gray and so on. ). 

Color sorting mats for brown, black and grey.

One can use sorting mats to enhance literacy skills. Ask a child how they chose to include an object into a particular group, and it becomes a fun way to learn vocabulary words!

It’s also an excellent way to practice logic and reasoning skills as the learner will have to reason out why they are placing that particular object in a certain category. It’s a fun way for them to have a discussion about different characteristics and traits of objects and items.

Fruit sorting mats-cantaloupe, kiwi and avocado.

This bundle includes 5 sets of sorting mats. 

They all have real pictures so kids can see things the way they are in real life. This allows them to relate to it much better especially in an environmental setting. 

Sorting prepares kids for more complex skills like classifying, making inferences, and using previous knowledge in new situations. Sorting should be a must in math centers, and it is excellent for boosting literacy skills in a variety of ways. 

Let’s have a sneak peek of what’s inside this bundle and the different ways you and your class could enjoy it!

Sorting Mats for Kindergarten Centers-A Look Inside

Sorting Activity #1: Community Helpers Sorting Mats

Are you looking for a great way to introduce community helpers into your lessons? These Community Helpers Sorting Mats are a fun activity kids will love doing. With 26 different community helpers inside and photos of their tools, kids would have a great time picking the picture cards matching each helper.

Community helpers sorting mats-florist, farmer and librarian and pictures related to what they do.

For a start, provide your learners with 2 mats that contrast, for instance, a farmer to a doctor and provide them with the sorting cards. 

Learners will pick up each card and identify the object on it. They will then reason out using their logic and critical thinking skills as to where the item should be placed and which community helper it belongs to.

They can then match it to the correct mat. An extra step would be to ask them to explain their reasoning for the sorting. 

More community helpers sorting mats-doctor, firefighter and police officer.

To differentiate this activity and make it more challenging, present learners with more mats at a time, I have done up to 9 mats with Trucker. This definitely can take them a while, but it is a great way to keep them engaged.

Learning about community helpers is a great way to do it through these sorting mats as these pair both the community helper along with the tools that they commonly use.

Sorting Activity #2: Fruits Sorting Mats – Non-Identical Sorting 

Another colorful activity for early learners! You’ll get 26 fruits sorting mats and 6 picture cards for each fruit. It helps recognize different colors and encourages retention. Since the photos are non-identical, kids can see fruits in different situations (like being on the tree, sliced, eaten, etc.).

Fruit sorting mats with high resolution, colorful images.

I used this sorting mat with my learners last year as a relay game. I divided them into equal groups, let them line up, and they raced to complete the mats the fastest! 

After the relay, I asked them how they knew the sorting rule. I got several answers, ranging from “they look the same” to “it’s not hard to tell”!

These mats are great for students with autism, early intervention, speech and occupational therapy, and ESL vocabulary acquisition.  Sorting and naming non-identical items is perfect for learners who have mastered basic matching and need a more complex activity. 

More fruit sorting mats-watermelon, banana and orange.

This resource was created to give students exposure to fruits so they are aware of what the fruits look like in an environmental setting. So if they were to enter a supermarket, regardless of how the fruits are displayed – cut or whole they will be able to recognize and identify the fruit. This printable includes a huge number of fruits in different circumstances to increase diversity.

Sorting Activity #3: 2D Shapes Sorting Mats

I have included 12 2D shape cards in this sorting mat kit, with 6 pictures of real-life objects for each target shape. Special education teachers will find this fantastic in helping their learners identify shapes.

Shape sorting mats-rectangle, pentagon, square and triangle.

I made it into a “hide and seek” activity for this mat. With the sorting mats stuck to the walls with tape, students searched across the room for the pictures. I got them moving for a purpose!

Since these are real photographs of the 2D shapes objects, identifying some of the shapes might be slightly tougher for your learners, so this works great as a pair activity. Students can discuss the different cards together and decide what shape it is and which sorting mat it belongs to.

Shape sorting mats for circle, pentagon, square and star.

Sorting Activity #4: Color Sorting Mats

Perfect for morning tubs, these color mats will keep your class focused as they sort 66 real photos into 11 colors. It also has black and white sorting mats for a more printer-friendly activity; simply print onto the respective colored paper and laminate!

Color sorting mats for yellow, green, brown and purple.

We did this as an enunciation activity. I made my students clearly say the object’s name before putting it in the correct color sorting mat.

This activity is a great way for learners to identify colors in everyday objects. It’s a great way to allow learners to connect the colors to the world around them.

sorting mats for pink-both colored mat and black and white mat (with colored picture cards)

With high quality and colorful photographs of the different objects, learners are sure to enjoy these sorting mats and have a ton of fun exploring the different objects of color!

Sorting Activity #5: Vehicle Sorting Mats

This set of sorting mats will make any vehicle loving kiddo squeal with joy! Best of all this is a FREEBIE! So head over and grab your free copy today and have fun sorting with your learners!

This activity is slightly different, since it doesn’t include any sorting mats. Instead learners will sort the cards according to a title card, of which there are 3 for Land, Water and Air. 

Transportation sorting mats for air, sea and land vehicles.

There are 8 cards for each category and all the picture cards are labeled. This makes for a great vocabulary and literacy activity as well.

As I did with the color sorting mats, I made them say the names out loud!

Why Choose this Sorting Mats for Kindergarten Bundle?

This great-for-value bundle will last you for years and years to come! Here are other reasons why I dig this bundle a lot:

Sorting mats for fruits-strawberry and grape with many picture cards.
The perfect resource for hands-on practice 

Let younger children practice their fine motor skills by picking up the pictures and stacking them like cards. These Sorting Mats for Kindergarten Centers can also be integrated into pocket chart centers. Simply write the titles of the sorting category onto small flashcards, place them in the pocket chart and learners can sort the cards underneath them.

Works for younger and older children

Get young children to sort efficiently by asking them to group similar pictures. For older kids, probe their knowledge further by letting them make their own sorting rules and have them explain their reasoning

Versatile enough to use for the whole year!

Our Sorting Mats for Kindergarten Centers encompass several subject areas. For example, community helpers are under social studies, colors and shapes are under math and arts, and fruit and vehicles can be used in science lessons. These mats can teach literacy and are a perfect addition to math stations.

Community helpers sorting mats-Pilot and Mail Carrier.
Great for quick checks, independent work, and small groups

Want an activity that will indeed engage the whole group? This activity is a no-brainer. These sorting mat centers have unique sorting activities for the first day of school, for morning work and keeping early finishers busy.

It is an excellent way to keep learners focused individually and also let them socialize with their peers. 

Low-prep activity center for kindergarten teachers

All you have to do is print, cut, and laminate the cards. If you’re still looking for a first-day-of-school activity that won’t stress you out, this is it!

Prepping the Sorting Mats for Use:

1. Print the mats and cards.

2. Laminate.

3. Cut apart the cards.

4. If desired, attach clear Velcro dots to the mats and cards.  Attach the cards to each mat for storage.

5. To play, take out two or more mats.  Remove the cards and mix them up. Have your child name the pictures and determine where the pictures belong.

More sorting mats for community helpers-beekeeper, pilot and firefighter.

Differentiating the activity:

In any activity, differentiating the resource to suit your learner’s different needs is extremely important. A super simple way to do that with these sorting mats is simply to vary the number of mats that are being used at any one time. 

If your learners are new to the concept of sorting mats, then start off with just 2 mats, which ideally are contrasting, so they pick on the concept of sorting and how it works. 

rectangle and square  sorting mats printed on yellow and pink paper.

As they get more comfortable and familiar with sorting, you can increase the number of sorting mats that are used. Increasing the number of cards that they have to sort would increase the difficulty so  make sure that you are not overwhelming your learners when increasing the difficulty. Happy sorting!

How To Store the Mats

Being a versatile teaching tool makes these sorting mats a staple in my classroom. I also love that they only take up a little space and can be stored in a variety of ways. A transparent envelope can hold the cards, or put them in a file folder with the little picture cards inserted in ziplock bags so they won’t get all mixed up.

Wall organizers are great for storing these, too! So are stackable clear plastic bins-just label them up for easy access.

Color sorting mats for green- both colored and ink-saving versions

I laminate my mats with laminating film and then give them a good wipe with a microfiber cloth with disinfectant every use. I make sure they are completely dry before storage.

Choosing the proper storage for your mats and keeping them in tip-top condition will ensure you can use them for years.

Must-Have Sorting Mats for Kindergarten Centers-Grab the Bundle

Make sorting five times more fun with the Sorting Mats for Kindergarten Centers. Click here for a bundle filled with fun skill-building and acceptable motor practice. Enjoy teaching!

Sorting mats bundle cover photo.

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