# Sorting Elephants

Sorting and classifying are basic skills taught to children as part of preschool and kindergarten math programs. These activities require children to organize items into groups based on a common characteristic such as size, color, shape, texture, or flavor and also explain why they grouped the items as they did.

Sorting and classifying are skills that a child will use in all areas of his life at home and in school as he puts away toys, organizes clothes, arranges a locker or empties the dishwasher, for example. Children first learn how to sort items.

For example, a young child can likely separate a group of plastic figurines into two groups (vehicles and animals, perhaps) before he is able to state the distinction that cars have wheels and animals are living things. As children gain comfort sorting, they are encouraged to explain their thought process in sorting by identifying and naming the characteristic that determines the groups.

Recognizing groups of objects requires logical thinking, an ability that will be important as your child makes other decisions. Also, understanding the relationship between the different groups and being able to discuss that relationship hones analytical skills. For this activity, we practiced sorting elephants by size. We placed large elephants at the top of the tray and decreased in size as we went down.

# Feeding the Elephants

Under natural conditions, elephants eat mostly grass, tree leaves, flowers, wild fruits, twigs, shrubs, bamboo, and bananas.

Their main food is grass when it’s available, along with some leaves. But if the weather turns dry and grass dies back, they will eat almost any kind of vegetation they can find.

They will knock down trees to eat their foliage. They will even turn to bark and the woody parts of plants. Also elephants use their tusks to dig for roots.

Much of this coarse food passes through their system without being thoroughly digested. They also use their tusks to dig for water, making it available not only to themselves, but also to other types of animals.

To demonstrate this phenomena, we fed our very own elephants! Using tweezers, students placed leaves into the mouths of their elephants. This accessed both fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination!

# Elephant Sensory Play

From birth through to early childhood, children use their senses to explore and try to make sense of the world around them.

They do this by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, moving and hearing.

Sensory activities also play a key role in the maturation process of young children.

Activities that require manipulation and touch enable children to heighten the adaptive response tthey playedhrough their senses. They are an integral component in early childhood education.

They not only engage the child, but stimulate cognitive development.  To access this, your young one participated in an activity where they played with you elephants on “savannahs” made out of pasta, rice, and beans. Students enjoyed creating stories with their friends, engaging with their senses while doing so!