What is Ordering?

Have you been perplexed by your little one’s urge to put their toys and objects in the exact same place repeatedly, arrange things in order by size, colour or shape, straighten rows of shoes or stack books? Maybe you’ve noticed they like to arrange their food on their plate (so nothing touches the other!)

If these fascinations sound familiar, it’s likely your child is learning through Ordering patterns in their play. By recognising these patterns in your child’s play, you can help stimulate their growth by supporting their fascinations!

Here are a few constructive ideas to help you support your child’s growth through play:

  • Provide your child with toys that have multiple pieces, such as dominoes (3yo+), or sets of animals. These work well for satisfying their Ordering urges
  • Calendars can appeal to children with Ordering fascinations. Have conversations with your little one about days of the week they have activities, the difference between weekdays and weekends, seasons, and what you and your child do at different times of the day
  • Threading things together allows your little one to order items by either straight lines and/or colour — leaves, cardboard shapes or cotton reels are just some of the things you could thread with your child.
  • Songs with ordering in their language will be appealing as well, such as ‘5 Little Monkeys’.

When talking to your little one, use words that link with their Ordering fascination like sorted, lined up, organised, rows, pairs, in a line, bigger/smaller, longer/shorter, touching, and side-by-side to encourage their language development. The way your child orders may not make sense to you. If you don’t understand their arrangement — ask! Having this conversation encourages your child to explain their thought process.

If you’d like to learn more about different patterns of play (your child may be learning through more than just one), check them out below and discover loads of fun ways to help support your child’s learning.

Have fun playing and learning together!