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Muffin tin sorting

What you need

  • A muffin tin (if you don’t have one, provide a series of small boxes/containers on a tray)
  • An assortment of small toys or other household items your child can safely explore


  • Problem-solving: your child will explore the objects and where they will fit. 
  • This is a great example of early mathematical thinking and will extend your child’s mathematical vocabulary as you discuss their findings.

The experience

Set out the muffin tin and series of objects. Encourage your child to place (or attempt to place) the objects into the holes of the tin, to see if they fit. You may need to model this to encourage them to have a go. 

Ensure a good range of sizes of objects and watch as your child attempts to fit them in. 

Use mathematical vocabulary to describe and discuss what they are doing – ‘Oh no, it’s too big’, ‘Does it fit?’ ‘It’s very small…I wonder if it will fit into this hole?’ 

This is great exposure for your child, who will be hearing and absorbing the language you use related to shape, size and measure.