Thinking of things to do with your baby can be tough, there are just so many days and so many hours to fill! On top of that knowing that what you are doing with your baby is helping them develop is also a challenge.  Fear not! Oliiki is here! That is what we do brilliantly! We have over 1000+ activities to do with your bump, baby or toddler and this week’s blog takes a close look at one of the activities in the Oliiki app. 

Pan Cupboard Sorting.

What to do:

This is a sorting activity that can keep your baby busy for a long while! Let your baby have access to your pan cupboard or drawer.  Let them take the pans out of the cupboard and give them the lids (assuming that they are not glass) and let them play at putting the lids on the right pans.  You might need to show them how the lids go on the top and can come off again.  Once you have shown them, let them experiment with them.  They will not get the right lids on the right pans all the time, but that is ok.

Why are you doing it?

This activity will allow your baby to explore shape, size and space.  These are mathematical sorting skills. It will encourage concentration which children find calming.  The pans will also make a big noise which is fun!  If you talk to your child about what they are doing as they play, they will be developing their language skills as well.


How to do it?

If your pan cupboard is near the ground, you can just open the door and let your baby explore.  If not, give the pans and lids to your baby for them to explore and see what they can do with them.  This is a great activity for them to do while you are cooking.  It keeps them busy and entertained and you can keep an eye on them, offer a helping hand where needed and also be able to discuss what they are doing as they are doing it. Just make sure there is nothing that is potentially unsafe for your baby in the cupboard or drawer.

What do I need to do this activity?

A cupboard and some pans! (Actually, the cupboard is optional!)

What will your baby be gaining from this activity as additional skills?

This is such a simple activity; you wouldn’t think there was much learning, would you?  But actually, there is quite a lot.  Apart from the matching and sorting,  and the fine motor control of your baby holding the pan lids and putting them on the pans, there is the language development that they will get through the talking you do with them as they play, and if you use the mathematical language of size ‘that is too big for that pan isn’t it?’ ‘That one is too small,’ etc, you will also be developing their mathematical language knowledge and concepts.  Then there is the physical development.  If your pans live in a bottom cupboard and your child is anything like mine, then they will get right inside the cupboard and use it as a little house, which is gross motor development.


 It also is a chance for them to explore the world around them and finally there is the emotional control required by them as they investigate which lids fit on which pan and the tenacity to stick with the problem solving until they have found a solution. 

The science and thinking behind this activity.

Why is sorting and matching for mathematical development important for your baby?  Matching and sorting activities help your baby or toddler develop a range of thinking and problem-solving skills and build the foundations for later concepts. The visual memory and discrimination involved and the identification of patterns and relationships and similarity and difference help children to learn about early representation and critical thinking. Matching and sorting activities can also be good for developing fine motor skills.  Michigan State University[i] explains how matching and sorting are important mathematical concepts that can be developed very early in a child's life.  As a child begins to explore their environment, they naturally notice similarities and differences around them and they begin to sort objects according to their different properties - their colour, shape, size, texture etc.  They will begin to match objects with similar properties.  Once a child begins to match two or more objects, that this is the beginning of sorting.  Both matching and sorting are best learned when they are part of everyday life and play. If a child can relate the concepts of sorting and matching to their own experience, they will be able to really understand.  For example, if a child is putting on their shoes and socks, they are actually matching different objects.  If they are helping with the laundry and finding all the socks, or all the t-shirts, then they are using the principle of sorting.  Parents and carers should, therefore, be encouraged to use both play and daily chores to provide a range of opportunities for learning these important mathematical concepts.

That simple activity wasn’t actually so simple for your baby after all was it?!

If you have enjoyed this activity and if you and your baby have learned from it, well there are 999+ more activities, just like this one waiting for you both inside the Oliiki app!  Why don’t you download it today and start having fun through play while learning in the process?  The Oliiki app is sitting in the app stores waiting right now, just for you and your baby!