Muffin Tin Sorting

So in typical first time Mom fashion, I was a nervous lunatic when Layla was born.  It took me a solid 10 months to feel comfortable regularly attending activities outside the home (poor Olivia on the other hand barely got a week at home before we dragged her out and about).  So here I am feeling all “Wow I’m Super Mom”, then BAM…..winter. Now, I don’t know where you live but if it’s in the northeast like us, you likely experience some form of post traumatic stress disorder when you hear the word snow thanks to the past few winters.  Maybe snow is fun when your kids are capable of going out and playing in it, but mine just wanted to be dragged around in a sled by her pregnant mother.  Not my idea of fun.

There was one occasion where a pretty big snow storm came out of nowhere. I of course had not been anticipating a few days trapped inside, so I had to make do with what I had in the house.  From this desperation came muffin tin sorting.  I love this activity because nearly 10 months later we can still use this same concept, with more advanced sorting skills, and Layla knows exactly what to do.  For younger kids you don’t even need to sort; just use this as a gross motor skills activity!  I’m sure you have a muffin tin around the house (and lets be honest mine gets more use as a toy than a baking accessory) so give it a shot!


  • Muffin Tin
  • Sorting Materials such as:
    • pom pons (I love these things- seriously go buy a pack a giant pack – they’re great for little fingers to manipulate but not a scary choking hazard)
    • cut up pipe cleaners
    • colored paper clips
    • construction paper- ripped or torn into smaller pieces
    • colored cereal such as fruit loops
    • pictures from a magazine (this would be great for older children sorting- ex: sort types of food, animals, clothes etc.)
    • buttons (opt for a larger button from a learning store or watch your child like a hawk with the regular sized ones)

Skills Developed:

  • Fine Motor
  • Sorting
  • Color and/or Shape Recognition


toddler sorting activity

Start with a small group of items and show your child how you can place them in each muffin space according to your sorting rule.  Try a variety of sorting rules.  Once your child has mastered a single rule, make it more difficult by adding to the rule.  Ex: First sort by color (blue, green, yellow, red, etc.) once this is mastered try a double rule (blue squares, blue circles, yellow triangles etc)

How did you get through the winter with your little one? Share your great ideas with us and you could be featured in a blog post! 

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