Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Basket Sort

One of my favorite Show and Tell activities is a "spring basket" sharing.  The week before Easter Sunday, I would send a note home asking that an EMPTY basket be brought to school.  The specified date would be shortly after Easter.  This way the children could bring a basket received from the "Easter Bunny" or choose any other basket from home.  We don't do the "Show and Tell" the first day back from the holiday.  I send a reminder about the activity on that day.  If there is nice weather on the scheduled date and you have a grassy outdoor location, the "Show and Tell" can take place outside.

How many attributes can be used to describe baskets?

If the activity takes place inside the classroom, the children can gather together in a circle at the carpet area.  It begins with everyone seated with their own basket in their laps.  Everyone takes a turn making a brief comment about their own basket.  Then they pass the baskets around the circle until all baskets have been rotated and their own basket is back on their laps.  Finally, the baskets are sorted by using a variety of attributes.

I thought I would show you a few ideas of how the baskets could be sorted!

I start of simple with two groups such as "brown baskets" and "baskets that are not brown".  I gradually increase the complexity of the sorts.  I am the one that is sorting the baskets!  The children's role is to name the sort.  If I have baskets that don't fit into the groups I set them aside and tell the students that the group set aside is not included in the sort.  This helps them with their own future sorts.  They learn that not everything will "fit" in the categories given.  I also use an "everything else" group with some of the sorts.  An example of this is to have a group made of plastic and a group that is made of "everything else".  The "everything else" group could be wood, metal, cloth and everything else.   

If the children get stuck on a sort and can't seem to name it, I give them the name of one of the groups.  Such as, "This group has oval bottoms.  What do the other groups have?"  Then I ask them more about the sort.  Such as, "How did I sort these?"  (Shape.) If I want to work on additional skills, I ask questions like "How many more baskets have handles than baskets without handles?"

There are plenty of opportunities in the classroom to sort objects by color, size, and shape.  The basket sorting activity allows me to create unique categories that the children may not have seen.  The fact that the children are bringing their own item to schools allows them to have a sense of ownership and makes the activity meaningful to them.

Here are some categories that I like to use with basket sorts:

1.  Size - big, medium, small
2.  Color - one color (solid colored), multicolored
3.  Material - wooden, plastic, metal, cloth
4.  Handle Type - rigid (fixed), bendable (moveable or hinged)   
5.  Handle Type - has a handle, does not have a handle
6.  Shape - circular, rectangular, oval, square
7.  Embellishments - ribbon, bow, none

That's all for now!

Molly, Lessons by Molly
© 2013  All rights reserved.


  1. Zoom Zoom- I LOVE this basket idea! Such a great way to do sorting in a seasonal fashion. I'm big on movement during a lesson (even in 2nd grade they have a hard time sitting still for too long) so the fact that they get to sort the baskets themselves by attributes is right up my alley! Thanks for the download!

    The Applicious Teacher

    1. Hi Leigh!

      I'm glad you liked the basket sorting idea Thank you for commenting.


  2. What a great idea for sorting - We have one day of school left before break and I'm going to stop to pick up some M & Ms on my way to school. I'm sure the kids will love this. Your blog got me thinking about having a second attribute. I think I'll buy some regular and some peanut M&Ms so kids can sort by color and also by size/shape. Happy Easter! Thanks for sharing these inspiring ideas! Anne
    Common Core Connection

    1. Hi Anne!

      I hope your M & M sorting activity went well. I'm glad I got you thinking about using more than one attribute! Thank you for commenting.


  3. I love your idea of sorting easter baskets by attributes!

    1. Hi!

      Thank you! Using multiple attributes keeps me on my toes. It also gets the kids to realize that there are many possible ways of sorting the same objects. Thank you for commenting.