Sorting Boxes

Sorting Boxes lesson plan

How many do you have?

  • 1.

    Prior to the opening of this lesson, ask families to collect and donate small, safe items from home that they are willing to recycle, such as ribbons, buttons, out-of-date jewelry, recycled boxes, etc. Provide a lunch bag for each family to send items back to the classroom.

  • 2.

    Organize students into small groups. Provide each group with a bag of about 10 items. Have a member of each group remove all the items from the bag. Ask students to discuss what they see and what the items have in common. See what they come up with!

  • 3.

    Explain to students that they will be creating their own sorting boxes today, beginning with the decoration of the boxes. Ask students to put on their Crayola® Art Smocks and cover their work space with recycled newspaper.

  • 4.

    Using Crayola So Big® Brushes, ask students to paint their boxes inside and out. Let them know that these boxes will hold their recycled treasures from home. Allow to dry overnight.

  • 5.

    Once box paint is dry, inside and out, provide each child with a set of Crayola Markers. Encourage them to decorate their boxes with symbols that represent their personalities. For example, if someone plays soccer, she might draw a soccer ball on her box.

  • 6.

    Once individualization of boxes is complete, have students empty their lunch bag of recycled items from home into their sorting box.

  • 7.

    Provide each student with a muffin tin. Ask them to empty their sorting box items onto their tables. Assign a sorting task, such as to sort by item size, or color, or texture, or shape, etc. How well do they sort? Have students share their work with peers.


  • LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • LA: Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.
  • MATH: Know number names and the count sequence.
  • MATH: Count to tell the number of objects.
  • MATH: Compare numbers.
  • MATH: Classify objects and count the number of objects in categories.
  • VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.


  • This activity can be adjusted to focus on geometric shapes. How many items look like rectangles? Squares? Triangles?