Bead Classification


Target Age Range: PK-2

Skills Covered: sorting, classification, attributes

Classification is both a math and science skill.  The ability to classify objects also develops organizational skills which are helpful for writing and general “life” organization.

This activity is super simple to pull together.  Simply gather a variety of beads (or buttons, cereal, rocks, beans…) in a baggie.  For my kindergartener, I wouldn’t add more than 50 objects to the bag.  Supply your child with small containers in which to sort the objects.  You will likely need to help him understand how to define attributes in order to begin sorting.

For example, in the top right photo: I said, “Eli, some of your beads are round and some are not.  Do you think you could separate the beads into groups to show which ones are round and which are not?”  Because Eli has done classification activities before, he chose to sort the beads into four groups.

  1. round like a ball
  2. rounded, but flat
  3. pointed
  4. not pointed and not round

In the bottom left photo:  I poured all the beads back into the bag and said, “Can you think of another way to sort the beads?”  He decided on:

  1. dark colors
  2. light colors
  3. medium colors

(Not that I necessarily agreed with his perception of dark, light and medium.  Everything’s a process, you know.)

In the bottom right photo:  I poured all the beads back into the bag and asked him if he could think of one more way to sort the beads.  He was stumped.  I said, “Hmmm…I can see through some of these beads, can you?”  From that, he sorted the beads into three groups.

  1. beads you can see through
  2. beads you can see through with glitter on them
  3. beads you cannot see through

An activity that is quick, easy and develops an important skill – joy!  I have done a bazillion sorting/classifying activities with my little ones.  Sometimes I’ve even been able to tie literature into the lesson – always a plus!  Oh, and attribute blocks are great for learning to sort, too!

Classification for Older Students

Bean Classification

Candy Classification

Need a living math “how-to” guide? You might like Loving Living Math!

Be sure to skip your way through all the other bloggers taking part in the Hopscotch, too!


  1. I’m loving all your posts, Cindy. I’m even printing them and putting them in a 3-ring binder for future use. Keep the ideas coming. 🙂

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